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Question re: Evolution Basin trip

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Question re: Evolution Basin trip

Postby d_silva1 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:46 pm

Wife and I are taking a 9 - 10 day trip to Evolution Basin via Florence Lake mid-August this year. We hope to have 3 days to 'play around' in the basin itself. We have excellent map/crosscounrty/off-trail skills, but certainly have no technical climbing skills. A few questions re: possible day excursions while in Evolution Basin:

1. Our first choice is to do Darwin Canyon. Leaving from northern Evolution Lake, can this route be taken using only scrambling skills?

2. Another choice: Davis Lakes. Same question regarding difficulty.

3. McGee Lakes looks easy, but also a bit longer than the other two, and does not get you high as soon/fast.

4. Is Iona Basin accessible from Muir Pass.

5. Not related to xcrountry routes, what is Blaynet Hot Springs like? Is it worth adding a day and stopping over on way out. May concern is it will just be a mob/party scene, and after 9 days in backcountry, just a downer.

Any other thoughts/suggestions?

Thanks so much for any and all help!



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Re: Question re: Evolution Basin trip

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:11 pm

1. Our first choice is to do Darwin Canyon. Leaving from northern Evolution Lake, can this route be taken using only scrambling skills?


The crosscountry is pretty mild to get up the Darwin Bench and then into Darwin Canyon, but the true highlight are the views from Darwin Bench.

2. Another choice: Davis Lakes. Same question regarding difficulty.


Your quickest access is Davis Lakes Pass, but is class 2, info here: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=9982&p=75369&hilit=davis+lakes#p75369


3. McGee Lakes looks easy, but also a bit longer than the other two, and does not get you high as soon/fast.


You have two ways to access McGee Lakes, either hike north towards Colby Meadow and follow creek up into McGee Canyon to McGee Lakes or use McGee Lakes Pass (class 2 from the JMT): HST Map 118.57539567828178&zoom=13&cat=&mt=3#sthash.Zf6wYlDK.dpuf

4. Is Ionian Basin accessible from Muir Pass.


Yes via Black Giant Pass, it is the easiest class 2 entry into Ionian, description here: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=8150&p=62675&hilit=black+giant#p59061

5. Not related to xcrountry routes, what is Blaynet Hot Springs like? Is it worth adding a day and stopping over on way out. May concern is it will just be a mob/party scene, and after 9 days in backcountry, just a downer.


Not a Hot Springs fan.

Would recommend staying a night at McGee Lakes they are quite pretty.
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Re: Question re: Evolution Basin trip

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:29 pm

If you like hot springs, stop at Mono Hot Springs on the way home, and cross the river to sit in the free (concrete, frequently cleaned) tubs in the meadow. Blaney holes are muddy, crowded and require you to cross the river. Not sure if Muir Trail Ranch has "groomed" tubs with piped in spring water or not, but am sure you have to be a paying guest if they do to access them.
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Re: Question re: Evolution Basin trip

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:44 am

Definitely check out Darwin Bench. It is wonderful.

darwin_bench.jpg
Darwin Bench
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Re: Question re: Evolution Basin trip

Postby wildhiker » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:56 pm

There is a use trail into Darwin Bench that then continues up into the lower part of Darwin Canyon. Very easy. You leave the Muir Trail at the tip of the long northern traverse from Evolution Lake, just where it starts to switchback down into Evolution Valley, and then follow the use trail up the stream to Darwin Bench. There are excellent campsites with great views at that first big lake on the bench.

I thought the pass from Wanda Lake to Davis Lakes was quite easy, with only a bit of talus. You can also do a semi-loop by using this pass to get from Wanda Lake to Davis Lakes, then down their outlet stream to Goddard Canyon, and then back down Goddard Canyon to the Muir trail. We did that semi-loop in 2004 - see my description at http://www.wildhiker.com/ . If you have the time, head up Goddard Canyon to its head, which is a wonderful open meadowy valley among the peaks. You can also continue to Martha Lake and pick up the use trail to climb Mount Goddard for a fabulous view.

Blayney Hot Springs is nice if you can get there very early in the day before the crowds AND if the South Fork San Joaquin River is low enough to easily ford. There can be a stream of people into this area late in the afternoon, camping on both sides of the river.

-Phil
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Re: Question re: Evolution Basin trip

Postby d_silva1 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:26 am

Hope this post gets to all who replied to my question.

Many thanks for all the very helpful information!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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