Day 3 - Horseshoe Lake to Lake Basin

Distance: 14.2km (8,8mi)
Hiking time: 10:30hr
Elevation gain: 1,688m (5,538ft)
Total people met: 0
‘The terrain between the two passes proves
far more complex than the previous section’ - Steve Roper

Elevation versus Distance graph for the section from Horseshoe Lake to Lake Basin for the Sierra High Route

The night was very nice and we were on our way at 7:40am. From Horseshoe lake, we went up into the forest leaving the ridge to our left. This was a strenuous but rewarding morning workout. We quickly had to take off our first layer of clothing. At the top we reached a small meadow that offered excellent breathtaking views! This gave us a huge motivation boost, we felt like on top of the world, so remote and in line with nature, just pure joy.

The path to Gray pass was easy to find and it offered a great way. From there, we were first descending on a faint path downhill. However, we lost it at some point and decided to drop further down on the right side along grassy slabs and by a scree field that was not too bad too pass. At the south fork, we found a beautiful resting spot by a stream.

The next ascend towards white pass was a bit tricky to find. There is no trail and we were heading too far to the right and reached a cliff that was not passable. So we had to track back and ascend on the left side. This path went gently upwards on grassy slopes. Once we were up there, we quickly made a pit-stop at the lake to fill up our water bags before completely ascending White pass. We decided to ascend the pass by the left side along loose rock. It was not too step.

Once on top of White Pass the first nightmare began, we had no idea where to go. As discribed by Roper, this is section with difficult route finding. With help of the Ropper book, GPS tracks and the map we were still unsure where to go. There was a slight sense of panic in both of us. For the first time along the SHR we felt lost. I took the lead and made sure that our motivation would not drop too far down and that we both weren’t scared. We left our backpacks behind and carefully scouted the terrain. After some time, we decided on a path that seemed the safest option. We made sure to not drop down any big drop-off so that we would still be able to go back and take another route. What was the most important part for us was to not get in a situation where we would be stucked. After some feet off descending, we felt much more safe and countered along toward Red pass.

The descend from Red pass was long and steep. Roper suggested to descend the last part towards Marion Lake via the leftern most gully, so we were heading down there. The gully was extremely steep, we were sliding down with each step and it was mentally and physically were exhausting. Fortunately, we both did not fall and reached the beautiful Marion Lake safely. A faint path lead the way to the first state lake situated in the Lake Basin. As there was still some time left, we decided to head up further one more lake. The trail disappeared and we made our way up through a short field of extremely big talus. At the end of the day, this path was quite scary. Fortunately, this section was not too long and we reached an L-shaped lake where we setup our camp for the night. Again, we had an amazing sunset and enjoyed our delicious dinner. The last three days we did not see any clouds, however, now slowly some clouds appeared. To make sure the weather stays fine, we got a weather report through our InReach device.

Horseshoelake in the morning.

Ready to hike on a cold morning

Wow, this view was just amazing. It was definitely a very memorable moment. 

Looking down from Gray Pass. 

Beautiful resting spot after descending Gray Pass. 

A quick brake.
Valley between Grey Pass and White Pass. Very calm and peaceful.

Quick resting stop. The sun is getting really hot.

Looking back towards Grey pass (in the middle).

Grassy slopes towards White Pass.

View south from White Pass.

View North from White Pass towards Red Pass.

The route finding trouble begin. Red Pass is to the lower left.

Looking at our options. From here it doesn't look steep or complicated, but it was.
We made it through the difficult section.

One of the passes in the back is Frozen lake pass.

Looking down towards Marion lake on top of the left most guly. You can kind of see how step the gullie is. 

Marion Lake. Three gullies can be seen, we descended down the one on the right. 

View from our camping spot.

Beautiful sunset.

More sunset. 

Camp is all set and we are getting ready to prepare dinner.

Amazing sunset at Marion Lake.

Some evening clouds came, but this made the sunset even more special.

Zeno is prepping our food. Our tent can be seen in the background.

This is how our dinner looks like after water has been added. This was the curry couscous with
raisins and olive oil, that's why it's so yellow.