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Lamarck Col

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Re: Lamarck Col

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:49 am

Self arresting with a full pack on is difficult even for the experienced. Thus, I will be very conservative and back down if needed. Often it depends on others ahead of me making good quality steps in the snow and waiting until the snow is in good condition. Appropriate shoes/boots are needed if you use crampons. Trail runners may not work. I use crampons on low-cut leather hikers that have a fairly stiff sole. Whatever gear or method you choose, getting comfortable on steep snow is a must. Snow changes hourly and you have to be able to "read the snow". Although expensive, one way to learn snow climbing is to hire a certified guide for a day. Kurt Wedburg's guide service in Bishop is a good outfit.

I find that descending steep snow is more difficult and insecure (more likely to slip) than going up. The advantage is that you will be coming out with a lighter pack so you will be less awkward.

The snow actually gets harder later in the season. You may luck out with softer snow in early July. If you can get a good deep step in the snow, you will feel quite secure. I have mixed feelings about crampons. In soft snow they can ball up and be more dangerous than doing without. A good deep lug sole on a shoe is nearly as good, if the snow is softer.



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Re: Lamarck Col

Postby balance » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:26 am

Very good idea to take an ice ax crossing Lamarck Col in July. But, like Maverick said, you need hands-on practice using it safely to aid your progress, especially in case of self-arrest. Going up there could be a well trod path through the snow, but dropping into the basin probably won't have a well defined path. That's one of those situations where you get half-way there, and suddenly you confront a dangerous choice between a hazardous situation and good judgment. :paranoid:

About crampons: Okay, so we agree that the ice ax and hands-on (or butt on the snow) practice using it are necessary. If conditions are so extreme that you also need crampons, then we're reaching the point where a full-on mountaineering class might be wise. Or time spent with very experienced people who will take the time to teach you these things.

Going up there with that gear and not knowing what to do with it would be like jumping out of an airplane holding a parachute, and not knowing how to use it. Please don't be discouraged by these cautionary notes. Its just reality. Many other people have learned these skills over the years. It sounds like you have all the ability in the world to learn these skills, and once you do, it frees you up to travel places where even the average backpacker cannot go. It is well worth the effort to acquire this knowledge.

Peace.
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Re: Lamarck Col

Postby alpinemike » Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:46 pm

I was just up Lamarck Col in February under full snow conditions. The snow was certainly deep and for the most part very stable. The conditions in the summer are likely to be varied depending on the previous season and the time of day. But I will say this.. I would not have wanted to do Lamarck Col without an ice axe and the knowledge of how to use one. I glissaded down the slope while being in the position to self-arrest if I needed to. It is a steep slope.. very steep toward the top. A slope further down the Grass Lake Drainage which you won't have to worry about was so steep I basically had to force the axe almost completely into the snow so as to not pick up speed. It is extremely important to control your speed in the event of a slide.. Once you start going fast, slowing down is going to take considerably longer and you may not have that luxury given the terrain (rocks below, cliff..etc.). I was once sliding almost out of control down the chute below the Ritter-Banner Saddle on the Lake Catherine side and I was definitely very shaken up once I regained control and self-arrested. So.. use caution and good judgement especially on something like Lamarck Col.
Never put off a backpacking trip for tomorrow, if you can do it today...
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Re: Lamarck Col

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:58 pm

It is extremely important to control your speed in the event of a slide.. Once you start going fast, slowing down is going to take considerably longer and you may not have that luxury given the terrain (rocks below, cliff..etc.).


viewtopic.php?f=5&t=13968&p=104267&hilit=self+arrest#p104248
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Lamarck Col

Postby SSSdave » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:59 pm

Never fails on this board that when people start discussing the details of routes, they never seem to do the obvious...just like I find out on the trail. As in look at a TOPO map! There are several places map unsavvy groups get into trouble with on the Lamarck route. The dotted line on the topo ends where the horse trail ends at the upper lake so is no help in that regard. Maverick's link shows the route for the little that is worth.

First is where the trail splits at the top of the gully between lower and upper Lamarck lakes. That is because there are foot paths everywhere there because the chicken with his head cut off has been endlessly is lost walking about in circles making what looks like routes. If one knows where the trail routes on the topo you will not get lost.

The second impediment is the trickiest for the ignorant. How does one reach the 12200 foot elevation from the upper lake? Not a few groups have indeed climbed up the snowy gully just east of 12373 and many more the unpleasant large talus filled gully that drops down to Grass Lake by dropping down to it from the upper lake. Well here is the satellite tab showing the switchbacks:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.20769,-118.64551&z=19&t=H

To see where that is on the map switch back and forth between the TOPO tab. Far better than this is opening Google Earth and switching from the current snowy dated view to the historical August 25, 2012 imagery where one can readily see the whole trail and routes in 3D. Yeah get out of the stoneage and learn to love GE.

Now the other 2 problems are on each side of the pass and the amount of snow and time of season make anything but short notice information of limited value. You can see where the main notch and trail is with GE.

As for fishing, most fishermen pass right by the best fishing. And no that is not at Lower Lamarck Lake that is heavily fished by day hikers and backpackers leaving classic pan sized big headed brooks of which there are good numbers. Yes it is the upper lake but don't do what 95% of visitors do and fish the east end where all the older fish learned to stay away from lest they ended up in someone's frying pan long ago. No either go at least half way around the north shore into the talus or go down the one ramp midway on the south shore that also offers nice camping. The very deep lake has sizeable rainbow trout. Really going from the trailhead to anywhere with fishing on the west side of the pass is a very strenuous effort for most people to comfortably take on. 9250 to 12950 or 3700 feet plus another 300 in ups and downs of a solid 4k. Much wiser to divide up into 2 pleasant chunks.

David
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Re: Lamarck Col

Postby Teresa Gergen » Tue Apr 05, 2016 4:55 am

peakbagger.com often has trip reports with GPS tracks attached. You can download those GPS tracks and load them into your GPS and follow them in the field. Here is one that goes over Lamarck col. It's not mine, so I can't vouch for its accuracy in finding the trail to the upper basin.

http://peakbagger.com/climber/ascent.aspx?aid=246022

This track in Google Earth with the 8/2012 snow-free imagery:

Lamarck.jpg


Maverick, on your Gaia GPS link, are those track lines downloadable somehow? Do you need to be a member/have a subscription to Gaia to do that?
You must register an account and login to view the files/photos attached to this post.
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Re: Lamarck Col

Postby jimmeans » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:41 pm

balzaccom wrote:


And here is what the Col looks like from the eastern edge of Upper Lamarck Lake. As Daisy notes, the trail is out of sight to the left of the photo, and then traverses that ridge to the Col. If you look carefully from below, you can see some of the switchbacks going up the east end of the ridge when you start the climb from Upper Lamarck Lake.

Image


This is not a photo of Lamarck Col, and the trail doesn't lead over this either. The trail is on the other side of the ridge along the left side of the photo. The trail loops in behind this gap. On the map that Maverick references the place where the trail rejoins the "creek" running from the Col to the upper lake is just above the gap in this photo.
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Re: Lamarck Col

Postby bbayley80 » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:43 am

Hey Bandguy.
as many others have stated already-this is a killer loop! a beautiful area to be sure.
and, since Maverick has called for more TR, i thought i'd share my 'report' if you will on my trip i did in August of 2013.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn4RIg5jlo4

i put this little video together and it features some good shots that will specifically help you with the Col
(although of course the community has already given you great beta as always!)

enjoy the video, and the trip!
PS. i put Evolution Lake on my list of spots to see-and fish- for this trip, and although a slight backtrack on the loop i found it totally worth it!
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Re: Lamarck Col-ice axe etc

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:15 pm

Regarding the snow conditions at the head of Lamarck Col (correct Col and route) the culminating steep snow at the top of the col on the north side is a common feature well into the summer in most years. An ice axe would normally be advised for such a slope, but the huge amount of foot traffic across it usually results in a pretty deep hiker's groove ascending diagonally across this slope. This deep groove reduces the probability of a fall and it is the reason why so many crossing this snow slope feel secure without an ice axe. Without this groove I would probably prefer having an ice axe, but I figure one would probably have to cross fairly early in the season not to have the snow groove. I'd guess if one was early enough not to find a groove, the pond below the slope would be totally frozen over and snow covered and the steep upper slope would runout gently, so the fall hazard wouldn't be so bad.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Lamarck Col

Postby balzaccom » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:39 pm

jimmeans wrote:
balzaccom wrote:


And here is what the Col looks like from the eastern edge of Upper Lamarck Lake. As Daisy notes, the trail is out of sight to the left of the photo, and then traverses that ridge to the Col. If you look carefully from below, you can see some of the switchbacks going up the east end of the ridge when you start the climb from Upper Lamarck Lake.


This is not a photo of Lamarck Col, and the trail doesn't lead over this either. The trail is on the other side of the ridge along the left side of the photo. The trail loops in behind this gap. On the map that Maverick references the place where the trail rejoins the "creek" running from the Col to the upper lake is just above the gap in this photo.


Sorry I wasn't clearer---this is what I was trying to say here: This photo is what you see when you are looking up at the area of the Col from the eastern edge of Upper Lamarck Lake. The trail is out of sight on the left of the photo, and goes up behind that ridge to the Col.

You cannot see it in the photo, but, you can see some of the switchbacks going up the east end of the ridge when you start the climb from Upper Lamarck Lake.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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