GDT kms: 14.7
“Fuck fuck fuck. We’re going to die” was my inner monologue for a large portion of today.
It started out as a pretty slow day; we slept in more than planned and Kyle woke up with no appetite. We knew we had a big day ahead of us though, so we tried to get on our way.
When I heard La Coulette would be difficult, I was expecting lots of elevation gain and exposure. The first two peaks gave us exactly that. On the third peak, however, we also got bonus helpings of very unstable talus underfoot.
As we were climbing the third peak, I ended up wandering a bit too far off the ridgeline and was immediately kicking myself for not paying attention. I’m not sure if being on the ridgeline is any better, but being off it and trying to get back on felt like we were taking one step and slipping back one and a half steps. I just had to focus on taking step after step and not looking back (and seeing how far we could fall) or looking forward (and seeing how far we still had to go).
I’ve broken down in tears on hikes on three occasions now: (1) hiking up to Tin Hat Mountain on the Sunshine Coast on what I would previously have classified as my hardest day of hiking, (2) when we weren’t able to summit Mt Whitney at the end of the John Muir Trail, and (3) today when we summited the third peak of La Coulette ridge. The adrenaline finally stopped, we were no longer in immediate danger, the tears of relief were overwhelming.
We couldn’t really enjoy the view at the top though as we were well aware that we had to make the long way down to the next saddle and then had another two peaks after that. We quickly signed the logbook, “Easily the hardest thing we have ever done,” and then started making our way along the rest of the ridge.
The rest of the ridge was thankfully much more tame and we were able to relax and enjoy the rest of the day, very thankful when we reached a Jeep road that promised boring, adrenaline-free walking for the next few days. Four days in a row of the most intense hiking you’ve ever done is overwhelming and we are definitely ready for a break.