summer ’24
Field Report

Running Soggy Alpine Passes from Tuolumne to June

A 20 mile line across a few alpine passes in the Sierra Nevada
Sep 9, 2023
03h 57m 24s
moving Time
05h 22m 52s
elapsed Time
elevation Gain

Late summer in the Sierra. Sometimes the weather is in your favor, and sometimes… it’s less certain. Atmosphere willing, the plan is to run a 20 mile line across a few alpine passes between Tuolumne in Yosemite and June Lake to the south.


woke up in the middle of the night to drizzling rain. was confused so got out of bed, looked up, and saw stars!

wtf! classic sierra.

very moody now in the morning. looking out the window from bed, low clouds are hugging rush creek pass, where we’ll be exiting later today.

the plan is to start off tioga in yosemite, run over parker and koip passes, then descend down rush.

time to pack the vest, toss on the shoes, and head out the door



met up with the crew and dropped a car at rush creek trailhead in june. now shuttling up to parker/mono pass in yosemite.

the weather seems to… not be holding.


within seconds of pulling up to the trailhead there was a bright flash and immediate thunder clap

weather wtf #2!

we debate alternatives, but decide to start the run and see how it goes. the first 8 miles are along a valley between two broad ridgelines.

chances are it’d clap on the ridge before frying us



8:15am • Mile 0

talk about cruiser trail 💨

the clouds are clearing up… wait, no, it’s getting darker.

actually, nvm, it’s clearing up?



we pause to nab some fresh cool water

ethan does his best james dean to match the cinematic light


turns out, his water flask is punctured and begins spraying everyone within range (surprisingly far)



approaching the top of parker pass now

looks like there’s a window of blue sky pushing in from the west

ideally the timing works—it looks rough rn over koip and kuna near the pass

haven’t seen or heard any more claps though ⚡️


the anabatic wind is making it difficult to anticipate what the clouds will do next… but these brief pockets of light are wild

paralleling the north ridge of lewis, and thinking back to about a year ago, when i did lewis and gibbs in a day out of bloody canyon

skiing lewis was also a highlight of this past winter


9:07am • Mile 5.5

we reach parker pass!

this was the initial decision point we made back at the trailhead. if the weather was crap, we’d turn back here.

but… the rain is fine, and we still haven’t heard any other thunder claps, although it does look a little menacing


we agree to do the roughly three miles until the climb up the parker switchbacks, then reassess



wild to think it’s the first week of september, the week after labor day, and there’s still substantial snow out here

and i’m not counting the kuna glacier!

nice to see it’s grown some this past season ☃️


the views of the mono basin down parker creek are massive 👀


alright, at the base of the switchbacks now

they’re real exposed, and take us up to 12,000ft. aka not where you want to be when there’s lightning.

thing is, haven’t seen or heard evidence of anything since that mad clap right as we pulled up to the trailhead lol


so we begin a healthy debate. no evidence, but you don’t want the first clap to be when you’re on top of the pass at 12k

i pull the plug and say i’m going back, but not before climbing a couple switchbacks ¯\_(ツ)_/¯



ok, i guess i’m climbing the switchbacks to the pass now lol

parker is a massive pile of slippery talus, the switchbacks eventually cutting over a cliff band, past the kuna glacier, and to the pass towards algers lakes


the wind is really strong now, and the horizontal rain has now turned to horizontal graupel

feels like getting stabbed in the face w/ lil ice daggers in a hurricane 🗡️

i wanna use my poles but uhhh also don’t want to be a lightning rod


10:34am • Mile 8.5

cresting over the top of parker pass now

we don’t really pause and just slingshot over the top of it



the algers lakes zone finally comes into view and…

…damn, massive

and fresh snow from last week’s dusting ?!



the grass along algers lakes is turning bright gold

really starting to feel like fall up here above 10,000ft

looks like we threaded the needle going over the pass, full on deluge now



sun begins to peak out as we descend towards gem lake

the miles are really ticking by now

in total, the elevation gain will be about 4.5k, but with 7k of descent!


12:23pm • Mile 16

as we reach gem lake we take a break to dry off in the sun (while it’s here)

only about 4 miles to go

final stretch


1:15pm • Mile 20

have done the descent from gem countless times, and it flies past

a brief stop by the silver lake general store for a vanilla cream soda, then off to ohanas for some lunch

incredibly solid run with incredibly solid friends