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To make a long and heroic story short, we made it up to the ridge line we needed to traverse to climb Mount Cotter, but then ran out of time about an hour from the summit. (OK, energy was getting a bit low as well..) However, the effort was still worth it for the view of Gardiner Basin we got over the ridge -- an incredibly remote and rarely visited (or even seen) area in the middle of the southeastern Sierra. Note the starkness of the surroundings. This is a young area, and erosion has not had time yet to pound out any soil for plants to invade.