Here's a little Pacific Crest Trail/ John Muir Trail trivia for you. What is the highest pass along the trail? For most of you this is easy, it's Forrester Pass at 13,180'. Here's one that's a bit tougher. What was the highest pass along the PCT/JMT before the US Park Service carved Forrester Pass into the Sierra Nevada? Answer........ Junction Pass. So how about a run that encompasses both (new and old) high passes of the Pacific Crest plus a few more passes for good measure! This loop run inspired by Jeff Kozak and Dan Meyers has earned the name Five Passes and is everything a mountain runner desires. The run described in this post was ran June 18, 2007. The traditional trail head start in Onion Valley out of Independence California. Because i found myself working at a high mountain lake non-native trout removal project this particular run started at Matlock Lake in Independence Creek (add approx. 45 min to run times to account for a traditional trail head start and finish).
FIVE PASSES is all in the name!
Pass #1 = Kearsarge, Pass#2 = Junction, Pass# = Shepherd, Pass#4 (pictured here)= Forrester, Pass#5 = Kearsarge. Total elevation gain = ~10,000', elevation descent =~10,000. Total mileage is what it is? You figure it out and don't forget to calculate in elevation because that's about 4 vertical miles. Total run time 9hours 41min. Out of a 5 star rating this is a 4 3/4 star. The 1/4 star deduction is due to the high volume of traffic (44 hikers)! Run highlights include spectacular views of big peaks (North Guard, South Guard, Brewer, Center Basin Crag, East Vidette, Junction, Williamson, Tyndall, Diamond Mesa and the list goes on....), abundant run by water fill-ups, immaculate trail conditions on the PCT, engaging boulder running between Junction Pass and the Shepherd Pass trail and lots of above timberline running (~60-70%). This is definitely a do again run. If you run this, you won't be disappointed! ~pk