What was supposed to be an epic four-day weekend of conquering the eastern Sierra high country turned into an adventure of a different kind—one filled with challenges, unexpected decisions, and the realization that sometimes nature has its own plans. Join us on a journey that took us halfway up Taboose Pass, only to bring us back down due to an impending storm and a sketchy stream crossing.
Day 1: The Grand Plan
Mike had meticulously planned this adventure, securing a permit for three nights in the Taboose Pass area. Our initial plan was ambitious: Friday would see us tackling the 6,000-foot ascent of Taboose Pass, making camp near the Pacific Crest Trail intersection. Saturday was set aside for summiting Mt. Ruskin via the east ridge, and Sunday was earmarked for conquering Arrow Peak. We’d return over Taboose Pass on Monday to complete our adventure.
Day 2: Scaling Back
As we approached the weekend, the weather forecast began to paint a different picture. The grand plan had to be scaled back to a single overnight excursion. On Friday, our objective was to cross Taboose Pass, spend the night near the PCT trail, and summit Mt. Ruskin early Saturday. Our priority was to return over Taboose Pass before the worst of the weather hit on Saturday evening.
Day 3: A Late Start
Mike and I embarked on our journey, driving up the rough dirt road to the Taboose Pass trailhead. A late start delayed our progress, and we found ourselves ascending the lower portion of Taboose Pass in the late morning and early afternoon heat. The trail was challenging, but our determination pushed us forward.
Day 4: The Critical Decision
We reached the halfway point up Taboose Pass, where the first stream crossing awaited us. It was here that our adventure took an unexpected turn. The stream crossing was a daunting obstacle, approximately 20+ feet wide, with a substantial volume of water surging down the steep terrain. A sketchy hand-line had been strung across Taboose Creek to aid in the crossing, but the sheer force of the water made it treacherous.
After careful consideration, we had to make a tough call—to turn back to the trailhead. We couldn’t ignore the dangers posed by the stream crossing and the impending weather forecast. The possibility of the weather worsening, adding to the creek’s volume, and trapping us in the mountains was a risk we couldn’t take.
Though our journey didn’t lead us over Taboose Pass or to the summits of Mt. Ruskin and Arrow Peak, it was a day well spent in the eastern Sierra. Sometimes, nature’s unpredictability reminds us of the importance of safety and respect for the wilderness. Our adventure, though different from what we had planned, was filled with breathtaking scenery, camaraderie, and valuable lessons. The eastern Sierra high country would still be there for our next adventure, perhaps with a different plan and a little more respect for nature’s whims.