Palisade Lake to Dusy Basin
We wake, have breakfast, and enjoy a little more actual trail. We move above and along the trout filled Palisade Lake, looking for our trail exit and climb up Cirque Pass. We follow a social trail for a bit, then lose it completely. Our scramble up is massive. We keep looking back at the Palisades Lakes, impressed with our progress. We pass one tarn, then finally reach another. Surely we should be near the top, but we are in fact only half way.
From the top of Cirque Pass we stare across to Potluck Pass. Every sentence starts and ends with, “You have got to be kidding.” We read Roper’s notes over and over, yet nothing makes sense. What is he talking about?! We can see how to get down from this pass to the lake, but after that, the up looks like impassable scree with impenetrable cliffs at the top. We press on, totally unsure.
While at the bottom, we see southbound hikers on a cliff. They zig zag down seemingly impossible ledges. We watch to learn and reverse their magic tricks, but then they get stuck. Seemingly cliffed out, they are now stalled. We decide to get higher up the scree on the left than where they are stalled, before moving on to the invisible ledges. The scramble up the slippery and loose sand-rock is frustrating and heart pounding. Unsure what is above, or how far we need to go, we toss our poles up and keep climbing. Between the hand holds and foot holds, we need at least one of them to be working at all times. We finally scramble on the ledges to the right and zig zag to the top. Perhaps because of our route, or inability to comprehend Roper’s instructions, we agree this was far scarier for us than Frozen Lake Pass.
From Potluck Pass we traverse and try to maintain as much elevation as we can to reach and go over what is described as an inconspicuous pass. We then drop way down to the largest Barrett Lake. We are told to go around the east and north sides of the Lake, which we dutifully do, but continue wondering why we should not go around the closer south side. The social trail around the far side of lake more than makes up for the extra distance, but the cliffs guarding the outlet are the real reason for the recommendation.
Kevin’s ankle has been bothering him. We rest at the smaller Bartlett Lake, soaking our feet and enjoying snacks.
Looking up at Knapsack Pass, we can see obvious and relatively easy ramps way off to the left. But to reach them, we would have to descend, and frankly we are not in the mood. Instead we scramble hand and foot over boulders, as though we are climbing a crazy cubists stone ladder. Our trekking poles are completely useless, and frankly in the way. I am not sure anyone else has ever taken this particular route, but we were to the top much faster than expected.
Our drop down to Dusy Basin is relatively easy. At every turn another ramp magically appears, right when we need it. Instructed to stay high to avoid the boulders and willows, we make the long and tedious walk passed the chain of Dusy Lakes. We target the final one, which is closest to the Bishop Pass trail, our resupply exit tomorrow.