That last post really sent me down memory lane and I found this resource on the internet replacing an obscure book I found in the local library. This has pass information: Sierra Passes I looked for one, Crystal Pass, that will forever be notched in my mind because of the shear drop from a 1 foot wide ledge we had scoot across.

It is described as class 3("This is climbing and should not be attempted without having the proper skills and experience. Your exposure (i.e., distance below) is a risk. You must know how to climb safely. You must know when to turn back. Correct route finding is critical. Hands and arms are used for holding on and to climb. Some stretches may require roping of packs, and individuals may require a belay. Miscues may result in serious falls and injury.")

We spent about an hour at Amphitheater Lake arguing about the route and checking the map. The picture on the right is taken from the point of that argument. We saw two specks (people) going up the route, we watched them and that ended the argument. I marked on this image the route I remember taking. When we got to the top it was a shear drop on the other side. I said at the time, "Well, we don't see the people we watched going up and we don't see their bodies at the bottom. So there must be a way down." We looked closely and we saw a ledge on the other side of a notch in the rock. That was the only way down the other side. We lowered ourselves through the notch onto the ledge. If you can visualize it...we could only scoot across walking sideways leaning CLOSELY against the mountain. There really wasn't any danger as long as we kept our weight leaning against the mountain. I did have a little worry at the point where the ledge transitioned to more open granite. The granite at this point was more quartz and crumbling. I remember thinking it looked like little marbles. We made it down to the lake below that was fed by glacier melt. We soaked our feet, high-fives all around, and talked about the beer and pizza that was just down the road.

Those are great memories!

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John