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Trip Advice: Circumnavigating Goddard

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Trip Advice: Circumnavigating Goddard

Postby papercup » Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:22 pm

Hello all,

I have a trip with a small group coming up in a few weeks time. The plan is to do the North Lake / South Lake loop, but with a side jaunt around (and up) Mount Goddard. I have done lots of research and don't really have any specific requests for advice. Nevertheless, I thought it would be smart to write out my loose thoughts and see if any of the more-wise-than-I folks on this board wanted to take a look and see if they have anything helpful to tell me.

Everyone in the group is what I'd call either level 3 or 4, with plenty of long backpacking trips under our belts and a reasonable amount of cross-country experience. Everyone has climbed at least one Sierra mountain and crossed at least one Sierra cross-country pass. We do not, however, have as much experience as some of the folks on this board, and this trip is intended to be a bit more adventurous than what we've done before. We are comfortable with class 3 terrain, but would prefer to avoid extensive or highly exposed class 3 as much as possible. No technical climbing.

The trip will be 8 days / 7 nights. Primary interest is big mountain scenery, with photography a secondary consideration. At least a bit of fishing would be nice; we will have a rod or two with us. The group is relatively fit, and I'd like to make this challenging but not a complete death march-- sometimes it's nice to have a spare hour to laze around in a meadow or on a ridge or whatever. We'd probably average maybe 12-13 miles a day on trail but are capable of doing bigger days; obviously we'll do less distance during cross-country portions.

Here is the itinerary as I've got it at the moment:

Day One: Hike from North Lake trailhead to either Lower or Upper Lamarck Lake and camp. Take our time getting started; acclimate; get used to being in wilderness.

Day Two: Cross Lamarck Col and camp at Darwin Bench. I have not been over Lamarck Col before, but it looks fairly straightforward-- leave the main trail at the sign; follow the use trail and stay on the left side of the ridge between the two Lamarck Lakes; scramble over the snowfield to the Col. Then descend into the canyon and follow it down to Darwin Bench.

Day Three: Down Darwin Bench to Evolution Basin, then up the JMT to Wanda Lake, cross the ridge on the western end of the lake, camp somewhere in the vicinity of Davis Lakes. This also seems fairly straightforward.

Day Four: Climb Mount Goddard via Starr's Route and return to camp. I have a decent sense of what to expect out of this climb-- find the appropriate ridge, get on it by scrambling up the talus at its base to avoid class 3, climb the ridge, find the ledge that takes you across the face of the sub-peak up onto the Goddard Divide, then make a straightforward talus slog to the summit. Sounds like the big picture is simple enough but there may be some micro-routefinding challenges; I'm hopeful that a full day will provide plenty of time to do it deliberately and carefully.

Day Five: Davis Lakes to Martha Lake, then over Reinstein Pass and down to Lake 10,232 at the head of Goddard Creek. This is a bucket list spot for me. I haven't done extensive scouting of the Davis to Martha leg yet, but it seems doable enough. Reinstein Pass looks challenging but straightforward. Hoping to have a bit of time to explore the upper reaches of Goddard Creek in the evening.

Day Six: Travel through Ionian Basin, exiting via Black Giant Pass, and camp anywhere appropriate. This is the day that seems like the biggest wild card, as I'm well aware of Ionian's reputation. I'm also not clear on the best way to climb into the basin proper from Lake 10,232, but I've seen many people talk about doing it in trip reports, so I'm sure I can figure it out. My plan for Ionian is simply to take my time, move from one landmark to the next, and pick my way across to Black Giant Pass. If it's way easier than I expect, maybe there will be time to climb Black Giant. If it's way harder, maybe we will have to stop short, camp in the basin, and hike the rest of the way out the following day.

Day Seven: Down LeConte Canyon and up to Dusy Basin. Simple. Hopefully we'll actually be near the JMT at the beginning of the day, and not waking up in Ionian, but we will see.

Day Eight: Over Bishop Pass and out to South Lake.

It sounds like Mount Goddard could be climbed from the north, via Starr's Route, the west, from Martha Lake, or the south, via a long slog up a massive talus slope. Starr's Route sounds like the most fun and slots neatly into our itinerary, but we certainly could modify things to attack it from a different angle.

Any thoughts would be welcome. I promise to post a trip report on my return.



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Re: Trip Advice: Circumnavigating Goddard

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:58 pm

Look at your route on Google Earth. The Davis Lake area is NOT that straight forward - lots of talus. The map is deceiving.
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Re: Trip Advice: Circumnavigating Goddard

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:21 pm

Circumnavigating Goddard is certainly fun. My wife and I improvised a "Ring Around the Goddard" trip changing from an up and back (from North Lake) to Blue Canyon to circling Goddard clockwise (and dayhiking to Blue Canyon).

Here are some comments on your route. As noted by WD there is a fair bit of talus hopping around Davis. The route from Wanda over to Davis is easy to find, but they'll be some boulder hopping as you get to the lower part of the slope above Davis. Davis to Martha is on more splintery metamorphic talus (ie less firm than the granitic stuff) and it involves somewhat intricate route finding. Reinstein Col is not very difficult. We did it in the opposite direction but did not find the technical aspects or route finding overly daunting. From 10232 to Ionian Basin and through Ionian Basin is probably the most difficult part of the trip. The ideal route from 10232 to Ionian Basin involves a bit of zigging and zagging to avoid small cliffs. This will be much easier going up than going down when I had to improvise and backtrack a few times when a blind vanishing point turned into a small cliff--the steep parts will be more visible ascending. Once in Ionian Basin a fair amount of improvising is necessary. There are many small cliffs that are too small to show up on the topo (earlier in the year, steep snowpatches are also an issue but they won't be for you). We entered Ionian Basin via Wanda Pass and that is an alternative to leaving via Black Giant Pass. The key to making a route around Goddard fun is good route finding. As you can surmise, there is a lot of "micro route finding" in this intricate terrain. Done right, it's fun and you keep everything to class 2 and below. Errors can lead to class 3+ or unnecessarily long stretches of onerous loose talus and scree.

The scenery is splendid and there is some fishing to be had with a variety of fisheries: a few are "all or nothing" sorts of lakes where you can fish for hours and strike out, or hit the jackpot and catch some really big fish. 10232 is a small rainbow factory and can certainly supply protein supplements for dinner. All of the lakes of Ionian Basin are fishless. Fishless also applies to Wanda and the lakes btw it and Sapphire. Sapphire and Evolution have numerous and relatively small fish. Dusy Basin has some good fishing particularly in the upper lakes. Perhaps a good measure the attractiveness of the area around Goddard is the fact that although my wife and I went on "Ring Around the Goddard" with fishing as our no. 1 focus and fishing was poor for us (top fish 11" and skunked at best lunker lakes), my wife still considers this the 2nd best backpack trip we ever did.
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: Trip Advice: Circumnavigating Goddard

Postby papercup » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:15 am

Awesome. This is exactly the kind of insight I was looking for. Getting me more excited about this. Thanks to you both.

Any idea whether there are any fish in Davis or Darwin Bench?
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