Day 41 - Donner Pass - Uphillhike
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Day 41 – Donner Pass

At mile 1157.4. Hiked 16.6 miles today.

More of the same with snow. My thought was to get to Donner Pass where I would eat lunch at the Ski Restaurant. Every time I thought I was out of major snow, I encountered more and had to stop to put on Microspikes. 

The scenery was incredible, but as I am now writing this It seems hard to remember. I guess I see so much that one memory replaces another. At one point I was feeling great. In the zone, laughing hysterically over the beauty and my solitude. 

I reached The backside of Sugar Bowl Ski resort and began a climb with a wicked steep avalanche chute o my right. The trail looked like it went straight up steeply  to the top of Disney mountain where there were ski lifts. When I reached the top, seeing no trail, I checked GPS. The trail had crossed under snow at the avalanche chute near the bottom. I figured out that I could  easily descend the other side of Disney and rejoin the trail past the avalanche chute. Although a calf busting steep unnecessary climb, it was a good thing since I avoided a dangerous spot. Descending, I noticed tracks of the 2 hikers I had been following. They had also chosen to bypass this dangerous spot, but I think their decision was intentional because I knew they had good trail tracking skills.

More snow walking across this ski resort. I was navigating through snow covered woods by GPS and looked up to see a man on a log. As I climbed across snow he told me that I was on the trail. His name was Rich. He had started a hike to Yosemite only 2 miles ago at Donner Pass. I told him what I knew about the conditions in the direction he was traveling. I told him about how it was okay with Microspikes and GPS and described wandering around in the snow trying to find or follow the trail. It turned out that he had neither GPS nor Microspikes. A little while later I saw Rich going my direction back to Donner Pass. He had changed his mind about this 300 plus mile hike after only 2 miles. Feeling bad, I said that I hoped I hadn’t been discouraging. He said, “No, after the snow he had already seen he was having second thoughts.” 

Here is where I was breaking down my campsite on the coldest morning yet. A frozen boot morning.

Here are views from that campsite. I was on an island in a sea of snow in the middle of Squaw Valley Ski resort.

I crossed a creek at my campsite with snow bridge.

Here is a view of snow I crossed on climb to Tinker peak. It turned out that I didn’t need to cross since trail switch backed under snow.

I had some some ridge walks after getting through snow. 

I climbed to Tinker Peak.

I came across these cornices that had large crevasses which looked ready to break off in an avalanche.  

I had to cross a wide steep  slope of snow. Steeper than photo makes it appear.

Here is a distant view of this same snow slope I crossed.

I walked  more ridge withbeautiful rock formations and views.

I reached Donner Pass where I had an early supper at the Ski Ranch. I had the pulled pork sandwich special and took quesadillas to go for a 2nd supper a time my camp about 4 miles further up the trail near the I-80 rest stop.

This is Donner Peak after leaving Ski Ranch.

I had to walk through 2 spillways in order to cross under Interstate 80. The first had 2-3 inches of running water. Wet feet right before camp. 

Here is a photo of the 2nd spillway. I had to wade through thigh deep water in the dark tunnel. Soaked feet and legs.