PCT: Day 247: pinchot Pass

Direction: Southbound
Trail location: 1856
Cumulative miles hiked 2019/2021: 2513
Cumulative miles hiked 2021: 496
Miles hiked today: 14.35
Elevation: 9495
High/low temp/humidity: 70/50/25
Spinning on the turntable: Bruce Springsteen:We shall overcome

The climb to Pinchot Pass was much shorter than the climb to Mather Pass yesterday, but I was still a bit gassed going up the hill. I keep waiting for the magic moment when I fly up all the mountains on feet with wings, but I’m starting to think that this particular moment may never arrive. Given the factors that I’m dealing with, body weight, pack weight, age and relative fitness level, I think this is about as good as it’s going to get!

I was chatting with a hiking company host this afternoon while she waited for her group to catch up. Her company takes hikers out for 3/5/6 day trips. The bring in mules to haul the supplies. Each hiker is allowed to have twenty pounds of supplies on a mule. Any supply over 20lbs is carried by the backpacker themselves. All food, water is provided and isn’t park of the 20lbs. Sounds like a seriously sweet deal to me.

I’ve seen several hiking tours like this on the JMT, and I must admit this that group had the heaviest backpacks. One fellow looked like he was carrying a normal, full backpack. The other hikers I’ve seen, in different hiking groups, definitely had on day packs and I’d guess they weighted less than 10lbs. This group seemed much heavier and much slower. I lay that at the feet of the tour company. This group came in at Kearsarge Pass and will exit at Bishop Pass. It was interesting to learn that the mules carry full propane bottles to cook for the guests each day. (Did I say to sign me up?!?)

I do wonder if my friends and family have any comprehension of what it means when I send out a Garmin message at the apex of each pass. “Made it! xxxx feet”. I’m not sure that they could understand unless they’ve done a bit of backpacking. I’m not sure I’m even comprehending it myself! d

It’s interesting to walk near all the bodies of water. Most of the higher elevation/pass lakes are crystal clear. I enjoy watching the fish jump and move around in the water.

I see lots of pine cones that are chewed up like this one. I have no idea who’s eating the pine cones, but I’m assuming it’s for the nuts. It’s just fun to see the cone carcass here and there on the trail.

There are a LOT of notices about bears in this area. I’m getting downright paranoid about my bear canister. I guess that’s the goal with all the notices eh?

I definitely didn’t see any bears at dinner, but I sure did see a bunch of deer! They slowly circled my camping area. I suspect that the doe was trying to move in close to snack on my sweaty shirt that was hanging on a treking pole.

After carefully checking all directions, I opened my bear canister at dinner time and made my meal. I left the bear canister about fifty feet from my tent. Normally I leave it about 25feet from the tent. Today I was shooting for just a little extra space.

Tomorrow I’ll haul up Glen Pass and then perhaps hit Kearsarge Pass to exit the trail to Onion Valley Campground. I have enough food to last for all of tomorrow, but that’s about it. I have one extra meal that I can eat if I end up out here an extra night. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow


  1. Heidi Halverson

    What is your pack weight? I know you went into this 2 years ago, but refresh us.

    • mcgarveysan

      My base weight is around 22lbs. I’m carrying around 1.5lbs of food per day, so this leg my starting food weight was about 12-13lbs added to my base weight.
      Water, of which I try to carry as little as possible, is an additional 2.2lbs per liter. I’m generally carrying about 1.5l when I start in the morning, but I’ve been forced higher on this leg, carrying anywhere from 3-4l for dry stretches. The most water I’ve carried is about 6.5l for a few miles at the end of the day. So roughly, roughly, a max of about 47lbs, but more realistically around 35lbs to start this leg. At around 35lbs I start to see issue with my backpack. It’s really not designed for higher weights. I have buckles breaking and straps disconnecting from the pack.


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