Every couple steps I stopped to check if I could see a way up, but the route still wasn’t visible and with every stop, the clouds grew denser and the visibility worsened. By the time I should have been able to see the route, visibility was less than 50 feet, so I decided to continue up the slope to my left, hoping that I wouldn’t arrive at a cornice.
There wasn’t the slightest hint of a breeze on the summit and the sun was warm, so I laid out my skins and glove liners to dry while I perused the register and had a luxurious lunch. This is what Sierra summits are all about!
After climbing one particular waterfall, the entire forest suddenly transitioned to zombie cedars and the sunlight filtered through the toothpicks providing a magical light. Rafee and I agreed that it felt as if we’d just stumbled into Rivendell!
I dropped over the saddle and down large talus and granite slabs, jogging along a babbling mountain stream, brimming with scrub and overripe wildflowers, arriving at the Volcanic Lakes basin. A dozen lakes of various sizes sat in yawning bowls of polished granite, their outlets flowing along the sturdy canyons and dropping off out of site to the Middle Fork Kings.