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[pct-l] Re: ice axe - risk - New Army Pass

We crossed Forester Pass on 6/14/2000. There were 15 - 20  thru-hikers ahead
of us crossing Forester Pass that year. There is a picture of the ice chute
on our web page:
The chute had obviously melted out the day before and was frozen solid when
we crossed it. Those steps in the picture are sloped down the hill and
frozen ice. The only way we could have crossed the chute without ice axes
would have been to wait until late afternoon for the ice to thaw so we could
kick steps into it. I seriously doubt that hiking poles would have helped

I wish I had a picture of the conditions we encountered on Mather Pass. The
switchbacks at the top to the left of the pass were completely under snow.
We climbed probably 150 feet straight up the mountain to find the last 30
feet of trail leading to the pass. The pass itself was the remainer of a
cornice, but not a problem. To add to the fun the afternoon thunderstorm
started hailing on us just as we reached the pass.

These two passes definitely required ice axes when we were there. I saw
pictures taken a week later and I am not sure ice axes would have been