.. so What About Mather Pass?
While purists would point out my gap from Deer Meadow to the South Fork Kings, my response is that I used the 'classic' (pre-1939) Muir Trail to cross the Cirque Crest at Cartridge Pass. Although some of my '99 route was never part of the JMT, it is considerably tougher than today's trail over Mather Pass. [A gutsy statement by someone who hasn't been there, but if you've crossed Cataract Creek Pass you know what I mean.] Roper's High Route book notes that several early explorers crossed 'east of Observation Peak' on their way to climb the Palisades as well, so I just followed an early variant of the famous Trail. I still hope to cross Mather in the future, which would end any controversy that my strong statement has created.