Top of the Trip

At 10,240 feet, this is our last high spot – the rest of the trip will be downhill from here. Cecile Lake is beautiful and austere. There is very little cover here – we are glad we camped below at Iceberg Lake last night.

We paused at the top for drinks and snacks. A pair of hikers caught up with us. We are entertained by their electronics – one is texting his wife, the other seems to be mapping every thirty steps on his GPS. We’ve gone “old school,” only carrying two USGS topo maps and a compass. (Although, the compass was totally unnecessary since the topography is dominating and obvious.) There is an obvious fitness difference between the pair, and the less fit of the two appears to be using his trekking poles to compensate. From our observations, though, his use of the poles is actually putting him in more precarious positions, causing him to extend his body and loaded backpack into awkward and off-balance positions.

We trail the hikers through the talus along the edge of Cecile Lake and discuss the options for the descent down to Minaret Lake. The crest of the saddle at the outlet of Cecile Lake is littered with lightning-struck snags and dead wood – a testament to the area’s exposure.

The pair drop off towards Minaret Lake while we stop for a snack to discuss our options. This is the other spot with challenges, according to previous trip descriptions. We drop over the top, and then I hear Steve say, “Here we are – the class three spot.”

I hurry to look over his shoulder. “That’s it?!” I exclaim. It’s maybe an eight or nine foot slot, with spots that look like they will serve fine as hand and foot holds. Steve scrambles down, and I then hand my backpack down to him. I also scramble down, with a long stretch for my foot. But, not scary. Not barely doable. Seriously. That’s it?! I didn’t even stop to take a picture because it was so unremarkable. Sheesh!

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