Just a quick reminder - the passes were from the High Sierras, which we finished hiking in mid - summer.
We had just resupplied and camped on the trail past Kearsarge Pass, as our path began to climb to the next pass. We woke, ate and got a move on before 7 am. The ascent to Glen Pass was a moderate hike by High Sierra standards - steady climb, we had kept elevation by camping at higher altitude couple thousand feet and some icy steps and we'd be at the top.
We made the pass by late morning and ate second breakfast - oatmeal and granola (mmm). Happy Pants - whose pants were a bright, colorful print from Senegal - joined us. We watched as he descended ahead of us - he selected a route with a long glissade. It looked fun so we followed.
Happy Pants made the glisade look easy. It was not. I slid down a long stretch and Pedi followed, landing hard and bruising his rump. Quinoas pack spewed water bottles as he descended, not gracefully (we recovered them). Half and Half made it look easy and have us his typical shrug followed by, "No problem." It felt like he was smiling at our difficulty.
The rest of the descent was harder - I split from the group by taking a different route through the melting snow pack. We had all lost the trail as we searched for a simple route down. I had walked on what looked like great snow pack only to fall through into running water (yippee!) - what would become known as the double posthole.
Finally I found the trail and everyone else caught up. It was nearly lunch time and we were at the edge of a majestic mountain lake. Soaked and tired, we ate. These passes were proving to be more difficult than we thought and we learned timing really was crucial to getting down quickly and safely.
The conflict was going to be balancing time with covering miles so we didn't run out of food in the future. Such was the reality of hiking in the High Sierras.