lamarck col trip report 6/15-6/19 | High Sierra Topix  

lamarck col trip report 6/15-6/19

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

lamarck col trip report 6/15-6/19

Postby sparky » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:15 pm

A crisp and clear and very quiet morning at North Lake, I was seemingly the only one up and about as I walked from the parking lot to the trailhead and started up the trail. Rocks, trees, and a gentle breeze. I took my time making the ascent up lamarck lakes trail to keep ahead of the acclimation curve. The sounds of bird calls and the smells of the forest kept me floating on the breeze up to the lakes, where I came upon a few fishermen camped out just getting ready for the morning bite.

Image

The sun was easy, the going straight forward, so I soon found myself in the hanging valley that sits perched like a snow striped tongue surrounded by high peaks. The breeze ramps up with the elevation and is brisk and feels great to maintain body temperature. I realize I am getting closer as the view open up to the craggy peaks that surround the hanging valley and beyond with the Owens Valley far below. I notice the jumbles of teetering stacked blocks seemed to be sticking up middle fingers here and there. I found a boulder had a snack and took a much needed nap.

Image

I awoke after a strange dream....it seemed so real, and had one of those off kilter moments of shock from popping from one reality to the next. I packed up and kept heading up up up. When I finally arrived at the tarn below the headwall I was relieved to see I would be crossing the pass.

Image

Once at the pass, the wave I was riding both emotionally and physically broke. Fortunately, the scenery was great!

Image

Image

Darwin and Mendel standing proud, brilliant white vertical couloirs dripped down into snowfields below, juxtaposed tuxedo like against their smooth dark walls. A chain of lakes dot off into the distance, an obvious unfinished sentence. I was suddenly feeling the elevation so I started heading down. It was 2pm and hot. The furthur I went the more I felt as disjointed and twisted as the use trails I was dropping down and as pointless as the random cairns scattered about marking the obvious use trails. I look down beautiful Darwin Canyon and think to myself "I feel like crap and all this moonscape stuff looks the same. Why do I bother?" It was as if all my serotonin was burnt out from the endless smile I was sporting all day. Spirits were low so I pretty much shacked up at the first flat spot and settled in.

Another night of strange dreams, but I got very deep and needed rest. Serotonin levels restored. I felt great and my spirits were back up. Coffee. The reflection of mendel in the pre-sunrise colors was spectacular but I could not capture it. That will just have to be something I file away. I highly enjoyed descending Darwin Canyon, and as the view started opening up toward Darwin Bench, I knew I this was a special place.

Image

Image

Waterfalls, grassy meadows, flowers, rocks, peaks, and huge mountains views. Words cannot capture it, and again neither could my skill with a camera. The light was a little weird too. I lingered, taking a quick bath as it was still early morning and quite cold. The view was just striking. And huge.

Image

Image

Image

Image

I traversed around and after a little confusion I was suddenly dropping down to evolution lake. Which as most of you know, is incredibly beautiful. I spent the majority of the day here lounging, swimming, scrambling around the peninsula and taking many pictures. The alpine glow in the evening was really great.

Image

Image

Image


Image

I awoke early and decided to head up Mt Spencer. Secor said the view was good so I thought I would see for myself. I started heading up slabs just at the evolution creek crossing to spiral around to the tarns just south of the peak. I spent some time here enjoying the scene.

Image

Image

Not soon after the tarn, a short class 3 slab got me up to the ridge. Huge flakes sprouted from the mountain like bouquets of flowers. The scramble up the ridge was really fun. Soon I was at the summit, and it was quite awesome.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

I decided to take a different route down the NE face. It looked like it might cliff out toward the bottom, but it also looked like there was many options to enter a chute along the way so I figured I would see. The route was many short class 3 sections connected by debris covered class2 ledges. After dropping only 200 or so ft my left knee went haywire. It decided it wouldn't bend anymore without causing me a lot of pain. I won't go into the details, but there was some hairy moments as I had to descend that thing like a zombie. Ya know, not bending my knees with random audible unearthly moans emanating out when the going got painful.

Image

So I made it down to the large talus surrounding the lake, and while I was out of the scary business, now came the really slow process of negotiating a short stretch of talus to the grassy banks of the creek below. It was then that I realized I was not going to be able to exit lamarck col a few days later.

Image

Image

Image

It took 2 hours to get to the peak from my tent, and 4 hours to reach the JMT from the peak. The two lakes I passed by on my way down between darwin and spencer are really nice. If I was ever in the areas again I would probably want to visit these lakes and mt spencer. Strange clouds streaked across the sky, and the breeze picked up a bit bringing me more respite from the heat. To my great relief bending of the knee into painful positions was easy to avoid while walking on trails. So once on the trail I made it back to camp quickly.

I decided I would have to abandon my plans to go back and enjoy darwin bench for a couple days and started heading down evolution creek to wind my way back up paiute creek to paiute pass and my vehicle at north lake. I made it to McClure Meadow and enjoyed a great sunset.

Image



The next day was a long grind. What if I hit endless deadfalls? Can I cross creeks? A bit of uncertainty was in the air but I didn't let it stop me from enjoying myself. When I hit paiute creek and started heading up I can tell this area is much less traveled and despite being on trail it felt more remote than anywhere else I had been on the trip.

Image

Image

Image

There is a spectacular granite wall back there and had a pretty trippy moment in a manzanita slope with that face. It was getting hot so I couldnt wait until the creek hit the trail ahead, and I stopped at a really great swimming hole surrounding by bubbling cascades. I chilled out for quite a while doing laundry and icing my knee, tearing through my bear canister.

Image

Image

Image

I spent quite a long time there, but soon I got back on the trail again. I made it to 10,000ft and set up camp. The mosquitos started around hutchison meadow and were horrible. The entire trip they were a 1 and here they were suddenly a 4. I was too tired to run and didn't want to stop to put on deet and a headnet, so I just kept moving until camp, where I quickly pulled out my protection. Sweet relief followed and I set up camp and enjoyed a fire that evening.

The next morning, another fine beautiful day I enjoyed a leisurely stroll up the pass. The flowers werent as good as I hoped but I did take my time to enjoy the gardens found here and there off trail.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Whoever constructed the trail on the east side of Paiute Pass with those gigantic steps is a masochist. My knee didn't like it and again I had to employ all my strange techniques to keep from bending my knee into painful positions. Zombie mode enacted, and a few strange looks I made it to the sweet cold water in my vehicle.

Thanks for reading!
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.



User avatar
sparky
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 880
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:01 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: lamarck col trip report 6/15-6/19

Postby MountainMinstrel » Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:33 pm

Thanks for the TR, bummer about the knee shortening your adventure though. RICE it.
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
User avatar
MountainMinstrel
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: Sonora
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: lamarck col trip report 6/15-6/19

Postby Rockyroad » Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:13 pm

Nice report and photos. Hope your knee is feeling better.
User avatar
Rockyroad
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:05 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: lamarck col trip report 6/15-6/19

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:31 pm

Very enjoyable TR and great photo's Sparky, especially liked the ones from Darwin Canyon, glad the knee held up long enough for you to get back to the trailhead!
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8028
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: lamarck col trip report 6/15-6/19

Postby balance » Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:09 pm

Sparky
Thanks for taking the photos and sharing them here. Going over Lamarck Col was one of my best trips ever. The basin has a special feeling, a different sense of reality. Hard to describe.

peace
User avatar
balance
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 163
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 12:26 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: lamarck col trip report 6/15-6/19

Postby ExploreABitMore » Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:01 pm

Great TR and photos, thanks for sharing. :thumbsup: Hope your knee feels better soon!
Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, Night Sky Photography: http://www.evanthomasphoto.com/
User avatar
ExploreABitMore
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:38 pm
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: lamarck col trip report 6/15-6/19

Postby Parker3 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:06 am

On your trip did you find adequate water flowing?
User avatar
Parker3
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:57 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: lamarck col trip report 6/15-6/19

Postby tie » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:18 am

Parker3 wrote:On your trip did you find adequate water flowing?


Parker, I did the Lamarck Col-Evolution Valley-Dusy Basin loop yesterday, and there was plenty of water along the whole route. I only carried .5L to 1L at a time because it was so easy to refill.
User avatar
tie
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:42 am
Experience: N/A


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 8 guests