Day 57: Woke up freezing cold. Looked outside and there was a fresh layer of snow everywhere. My shoes were legit frozen, I couldn’t move the laces. There was snow on all my stuff, and trekking poles had ice all around the handles. And trying to put your stuff away with gloves in is so hard. But necessary. We all met up at the rocks where some people had camped bright and early. We had heard about Mather Pass. It is one of the “sketchiest and hardest” passes on the PCT. Someone had told Megan to make sure when we hit a specific part we head to the left. The actual trail went to the right, but with the snow the left was easier. Well here we go, luckily Simon encourages us to stay on the right side of the creek, raged than crossing it 2x as the trail does. The thing with all this snow is, as long as we’re going in the right direction and it’s safe that’s the best way to go. There’s no need to make unnecessary crossings or hiking when you can just follow a more direct route on the snow. So no crossing for us! And we get to be “dry” that much longer. Even though dry isn’t really possible in the Sierras. We had to walk along snow fields getting blasted by freezing wind that was blowing the fresh snow straight across the fields. It was miserable, but the sunrise this day created was unreal! the sky looked like it was on fire. Literally one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. We made good time to Mather and we’re ready to head up but there is another group of hikers ahead going really slow. We don’t know who it is, but Twigsy was there waiting at the rocks at the base and said they’re having to make foot holes to step in since the fresh snow came in. So they were doing work that will make our trek up 100x easier. We knew it wouldn’t be smart to just head up because then we’d get stuck behind them on the ridge and just have to wait at higher elevation. So we stay at the rocks. With no exaggeration I can say I don’t think I have ever been so cold in my life. I was uncontrollably shivering and miserable. I couldn’t barely do anything. I took my poncho out to try and have an extra layer. I legit felt nauseous for quite awhile and after extremely fatigued. It was horrible. One by one we started moving up and I was almost last. Scotty stayed behind like usual to look out for us ladies. And Tim was in the front leading us and making good footsteps. The guys in our group are seriously amazing! It is a slow, very slow ascent up. And scary. But funny enough looking down and thinking of falling I was less scared of getting hurt than I was about thinking how I’d have to walk all the way back up here. This side ridge was so steep that we had to shorten our whippets to be able to lean into them on our left side while the right was very exposed to just well sliding right down into a hug snow/ice bowl at the bottom of the mountain. The left side was so close to us as literally had to lean into it and use our axes to stay close. Then we had some really awakened and steep steps before continuing on. One slip could have been a disaster. To make it worse our hands were so frozen we couldn’t even use them. So there was a low chance we could even grip and self arrest if needed. But luckily it never came to that. We finally got near the top where there was a nice wall we had to pull ourselves up and over. Of course nobody waiting for us up here, it’s freezing and we too immediately head down. When we get down we meet Thomas, Javalou, and Crocs(who I met in Big Bear) they ended up joining our group! Thomas is from France and Crocs from Japan. Then we keep hiking and this is the day we lose Simon at lunch. The rest of the day consisted of a lot of shoe skiing. The guys crush it but us ladies, well we fall A LOT! Shoe ski turns into a butt glissade really quickly. Unfortunately we were going down one spot that had a weird little curve in it but we all tried to go on our feet. Meg ended up slipping and hurting her knee pretty bad, it still affects her today. But she’s a bad ass and honestly with no other choice but to continue we moved forward. I always have fun shoe skiing for a bit then I get really sick of it. Probably by the time my quads get tired or that I fall about 5 times. Then I’m fucking over it. But we made it to camp..sort of. As you can imagine with a group of 12 not everyone will always agree. People want breaks and lunch at different times, some want to stop and camp and some want to continue on. Then it’s hard because we can chat for a bit and half the people don’t care then no decision is ever made. So after some time we decide to hike a little further and ended up finding some dry sites near water. And plenty of space for all of us. Hefty was walking so fast he got ahead and missed this campsite and is ending up camping about .5 miles ahead of us. He’s so independent and I really really look up to him for it. But I’m excited to be done with Mather and tomorrow will just be a short 9 mile day.