This trail guide, like the High Sierras, divides itself into ups and downs. Our miles are generally done either going up to the top of the mountain, or you are coming down from the mountaintop into the valley that separates us from the next mountain. This means that the mileages and elevations between the peaks and the valleys is going to be important in determining how many miles we can reasonably expect to cover any day. This will be instrumental in planning where we are going to camp every night, and ultimately this information will determine how many days it will take you to cover a given distance. This in turn establishes our proper food load.
The terrain between Lake Alpine and Saint Marys Pass has three climbs, the first being the long but fairly gentle climb to overlook Spicer Meadow Reservior, the second climbs out of Highland Creek around the Northeastern End of the Dardanelles, and finally our big climb into unmaintained trail conditions approaching Clarks Meadow, and the route-finding beyond Clarks Meadow which will bring us over Saint Marys Pass.
This section of trail is ended by a difficult climb through unmaintained trail conditions which go "trail-less" for the last few miles.
Remember this important rule: Every descent route holds many mini-ascents, and every ascent has many mini-descents within its length. Your mileage will very rarely just go up, or just go down. You are going endlessly up and down.