Well we (myself, Dave, Wander, and Smile Train, with Sandman a day or so behind) made it through the first and hopefully most difficult part of the High Sierras in one piece. However, not in one 12 day push as I had hoped for, we had to go into the town of Independence to get more food since breaking trail was a little more exhausting than I had thought it would be and burnt way more calories (just to give you an idea between the four of us we ate 240 Chicken McNuggets upon arriving in Mammoth). The conditions were about what I expected they would be, everything above 9500-10,000 feet was covered in snow, but there were some sections in the valleys that were clear. The major fords were all very doable, with the exception of the south fork of the kings river which was uncrossable, but an easy walk around. The only surprise was how sketchy some of the smaller fords were. There were some unnamed tributaries that were very fast and if you went down you would instantly be dragged into a bigger river where it would be almost impossible to survive.
On the whole though it is very doable and well worth the hard work. The views of miles and miles of snow capped mountains from atop Mt. Whitney and Forester Pass were some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen, and I’m glad I was able to see it in those conditions. Breaking your own trail, despite being hard work, is also very rewardin, and being able to be the first group through and see tracks behind us and nothing but miles of untouched snow in front was a very cool feeling. We also lucked out with the weather, there was one night where it snowed a little bit but the rest of the time it was sunny and relatively warm. I’m looking forward to the next stretch through Yosemite and the rest of the Sierras and especially the wide range of buffets in South Lake Tahoe.