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Evolution Valley loop - tips/Palisades Basin?

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Evolution Valley loop - tips/Palisades Basin?

Postby eoconnor101 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 10:25 am

Hi Guys,

I'm planning a trip Sept. 10-18th from North Lake to South Lake. I was going to do 7 nights but I am maybe turning it into 8 with a layover on the Darwin bench and a loop over knapsack pass. I mainly wanted to find out the difficulty/danger of hiking into Palisade basin. Below is my planned itinerary

Day 1) Piute Pass TH to Humphreys Basin (about a mile below golden trout lake where the forest starts)
Day 2) Humphreys Basin to Aspen Meadow (good camping there?)
Day 3) Aspen Meadow to Colby Meadow
Day 4) Colby Meadow to mouth of Darwin Canyon
Day 5) Early morning check out approach to Lamark Col/afternoon hike to Sapphire Lake
Day 6) Sapphire Like to Big Pete Meadow
Day 7 ) Big Pete Meadow to Palisade Basin via Knapsack pass
Day 8) Palisade Basin to Dusy Basin via 'pass between Isolosces peak and Columbine Peak
Day 9) Dusy Basin to South Lake TH

I'm really looking for information on the two passes mentioned on Day 7 and 8? With a good Topo/compass and good weather is this relatively safe or is it going to be a 'crawl on your ass pass'? Is Knapsack pass much easier i.e. is it better to go in and out the same way even if it's longer? I will have a sat radio but getting injured is low on my list of things to do.

Any information on camping around Aspen Meadow/Colby Meadow/Darwin Canyon/Sapphire Lake would be much appreciated, I was hoping to avoid Evolution/McClure Meadow as well as Wanda Lake which I gather are a little more used than other spots.

Cheers,
Eric



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Re: Evolution Valley loop - tips/Palisades Basin?

Postby rayfound » Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:52 am

options are return via Knapsack pass: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=7685 or use Thunderbolt pass/col: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=13833

from windknot:

Knapsack was a lot easier than Thunderbolt. If I were doing it again I'd probably head in and out of Palisade Basin via Knapsack
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Re: Evolution Valley loop - tips/Palisades Basin?

Postby papercup » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:06 pm

Palisade Basin is not particularly difficult or dangerous to get into.

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That's Knapsack Pass from near the top and shows the kind of terrain you're dealing with-- pretty straightforward.

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That's Knapsack from Palisade Basin-- again, just pick your way up or down.

Thunderbolt Pass is along the ridge right below the main wall of the Palisades. If you're going into Palisade Basin as a detour on your way up Dusy to Bishop Pass, you certainly could go in Knapsack and out Thunderbolt.

Image

The pass is the notch just below the big wall. It is easy to find from Palisade Basin. Just make your way to Upper Barrett Lake and head around the lake on a use trail on its north side until you hit the drainage feeding into the lake. Climb that drainage and just make your way up to the pass. There are no particularly complicated obstacles.

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That's looking back down the drainage toward the lake.

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This is the final bit-- you can choose the rock slog on the right or the ledges on the left.

The challenging part of Thunderbolt Pass is the Dusy Basin side. It's not technically difficult or exposed, it is just a LONG clamber through a boulder field.

Image

Here's what you're dealing with. Bishop Pass is around the corner to the right. It is best to lose some elevation rather than to try to stay absolutely as high as possible. I headed for the green patch to the right of the lake, and then started climbing up toward Bishop Pass from there. Alternately, going back through Knapsack is fine.
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Re: Evolution Valley loop - tips/Palisades Basin?

Postby maverick » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:13 pm

Here is some more info on those two passes and there are plenty of TR's with photo's (use the search feature).

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=7685&p=109513&hilit=knapsack#p55455
viewtopic.php?f=31&t=13833&p=109512&hilit=thunderbolt#p103264
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Re: Evolution Valley loop - tips/Palisades Basin?

Postby overheadx2 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:25 pm

I am no where near the level of most people on this forum, so this is coming from someone that has descent navigational and XC trail experience. I did that loop as a day hike last year. Knapsack was fun and easy, Fishing at Barrett lake was very good and thunderbolt pass was pretty simple, just very tedious with large talus and small car sized boulders. If you head down to upper dusty basin from t bolt, there some good sites at the upper lake. If you angle across, you can head for bishop pass relatively easily.
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Re: Evolution Valley loop - tips/Palisades Basin?

Postby rayfound » Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:36 pm

Can you tell me any more details on Barrett fishing? PM okay if it is really juicy.
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Re: Evolution Valley loop - tips/Palisades Basin?

Postby wildhiker » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:35 pm

Hi Rayfound,
You asked about camping at Colby Meadow and Darwin Bench. Both are excellent. For Colby Meadow, the trail stays up on the edge of the meadow on the north slope of the valley. When you see the meadow, head down across it and ford Evolution Creek to good campsites in the forest fringe on the other side, with great views of Mt Darwin and The Hermit up the valley. On Darwin Bench, we camped on benches above the north side of the lowest lake, which gave us excellent views of all the peaks.
-Phil
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Re: Evolution Valley loop - tips/Palisades Basin?

Postby overheadx2 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:44 am

No juice, just pretty good with bigger fish. The upper dusy basin also had good fishing with pretty good size. We camped in McClure meadow in mid sept, 2 years ago and were all alone since Most JMT guys are done by then. There is a very good fishing lake straight up from McClure ranger station. No real trail to it, but lots of 13 to 15" at the inlet. Since evolution valley is so amazing and we had it to ourselves, we decided to hike up and fish that lake and take a lay over day. I would hike over knapsack to upper Barrett and camp there and then hike over thunderbolt and out. Lots of little fish at evolution and the Pete meadows. Have fun.
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