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1st. North Lake to South Lake

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1st. North Lake to South Lake

Postby frediver » Fri Apr 27, 2007 1:15 pm

Hello this is my first post so I will start with some history.
Thanks Eric for resetting my password.
I have been B/P in the Sierra's and Utah for about 35 yrs. both solo and with groups. These past trips have been limited to about 5-6 days and 20 mi. max so I consider this trip my first major B/P and it could be solo.
I have experience both on and off trail but the off trail trips have been in
areas where the route is easily determined. I should also say that I am a coast dweller so acclimation will be an issue this time.
I have been reading all the posts I can find on the conditions for So.- N. Lake. I am trying to determine the best areas to aim for as possible camping areas within reasonable distances going north to south. Because I might be solo I am considering just sticking to the trail because I am not sure which would be the best access cross country from the Humphrey Basin Area to Evolution Basin area. I am thinking that Lamarck Col.
might be out for me do to being unfamiliar with the area, solo, and the
area removed from the trip. Also it is a long haul for the first day solo or not. Using the Tom H. Bishop Pass map for now I can see some likely
routes to cut some distance to the Evolution area but I am not sure which would be my best choice and unsure if they would save much in the long run. Would I save time searching for a route or just sticking to the trail when I consider my limitations. I see a couple likely spots to cross the divide above Goethe Lk. & Wahoo Lk. areas but it looks like they take me to the same general area as Lamarck Col. If I could find a cut closer to the Packsaddle or Honeymoon lake area I might consider trying it but the area does not look promising. So it will likely be the trail for me.
Now can anyone help me with likely areas to target as camp spots within a reasonable distance following the trail and or a shortcut I could try that might work for me. Coming from the coast I feel that I will be lucky to get much past Piute pass the first day, July 8. Considering this will I need to make a long haul the second day to locate a decent camp area that might have fishing as well, fishing opportunities will be appreciated ? I have 8 days for the trip and do not really need or want to stack the miles. So can anyone suggest a plan for me going North to South solo ? I have seen that a couple stream crossings can be difficult to locate, any detailed information on these would really be helpful.
BTW The plan is to park at South Lake polish my thumb and get to north lake on day one.
Thanks<>< :)



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Postby EricJLee » Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:24 pm

Well, I personally have not been through Lamarck Col, but every trip report I've read has said it's a relatively easy X-country pass. As long as you have decent navigation skills that would be the quickest and best way to Evolution Basin. I would recommend against going through Goethe Lake or Wahoo Lakes, that area is a giant pile of nasty talus. From what I hear snow should be relatively low this year, so not much of a problem. I really love that area around Muir Pass, Sapphire Lake is a really nice place, prob won't see too many people camped up there.
On a side note, when I spent a few days in Humphrey Basin the fish were just jumpingout of all those lakes(Tomahawk and Lower Deso at least). There are some on this board that are much more avid fishmen than I and can probably steer you better in that direction. But I'd say go for Lamarck Col, and distance wise just see how you feel the first day.
Eric
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Postby maverick » Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:43 pm

Hi Frediver

Lamarck Col is any easy class 2 or if you want to check out
Humphrey's Basin then Packsaddle Pass (class 2) will get you
down to Evolution Meadow.
The Lamarck route has somewhat of a use trail and is pretty
easy to follow.
Darwin Canyon and Darwin bench are quite spectacular! You could
spend the first night at Lower Lamarck Lake(10662).
Areas of interest: McGee Canyon and Lake(good fishing), Evolution
Basin(Evolution and Sapphire Lakes), Muir Pass, Dusy Basin and
Barrett Lakes.
Day 1: Stay at one of the lakes below the pass either Loch Leven or
Piute Lake unless you have the energy and time go to Summit or
one of the Upper Golden Trout Lakes. Stay at one of these lakes if
the weather is good otherwise your quit exposed in a thunderstorm.
Day 2: Hike to Packsaddle Lake and go over the pass(class 2) and
follow the stream down to Evoultion Meadow.
Day 3: Hike down the JMT thru Colby Meadow where you can either
head up McGee Canyon to McGee Lakes or continue on to Evolution
Basin. If you go the McGee route you go all the way to the last lake
and go over McGee Lake Pass class 2 and descend to Sapphire Lake.
Spend a night at McGee and do some fishing then spend a night
in Evolution Basin if you want the next day.
Day 4(or 5 if staying at EVB): Go over Muir Pass and decsend down to
Big Pete or Little Pete or the LeConte-Dusy Basin Junction for the
next night.
Day 6:Hike up to Dusy Basin and soak in the views to the west of
the Black Divide and the close up views of the Palasades.
Day 7:Day hike over Knapsack Pass class 1 into the Palasade Basin and
check out Barrett Lakes, then pack up and go over Bishop Pass to
Saddlerock or Long Lakes from where you can get to the trailhead
earlier in the day so you can get a ride to North Lake(you may meet
another backpacker or backpackers heading out at the same time).
I havent had much diffuculty getting a ride.
By July some of the PCTers have come thru so check PCTA website
for a trail conditions update for that section of the trail to get a sense
of crossings and snow conditions.
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Postby frediver » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:05 pm

Thanks for the advice, can you tell me a bit more about Packsaddle Pass?
Will I find it on any map, any pictures of the route online?
If I am using a common map can I locate the pass by the means of measuring inches from the map border or a landmark on the map, i.e.
so many inches down from the "P" on packsaddle and so many inches right from "C" at Colby meadow, The name choices might be different but I hope you get the idea, I want to home in on the general area, then get then proper map for what I need to find the route.
Thanks
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Postby maverick » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:17 pm

The site below will show you where the pass is located, also pick up
a copy of R.J.Secor's "The High Sierra Peaks, Pass, and Trails".
http://sierrabackpacker.com/GlacierDivideWest.htm
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Postby BrianF » Fri Apr 27, 2007 6:44 pm

No matter which way you go, you are in for a great hike through a wonderful section of the sierra.
I have been over Lamarck Col a couple times in the last few years, solo both times crossing it the first day. It is a non-technical hike, tho there is usually snow at the top short steep portion. Late in the season or in a dry year like this the snow can be bypassed via a gulley to the west of the snow patch (steep and sandy). The vast majority of the hike to Darwin Canyon is sandy hiking. There is a very clear use trail from Lamarck Lakes all the way over the pass to the JMT and very little talus. It is a long, high haul to make it over the first day, so spending the first night at lower Lamarck lake might be the best bet, especially if rides come slow hitchhiking. It is a popular route and day hike so you will probably have company on the trail as far as the pass. Darwin Bench has a beautiful lake at about 11,200 to camp the second night. Sapphire Lake is also beautiful.
That said, Humphrey's basin is also a spectacular area with great camping at the Golden Trout lakes (about 8 miles in). Piute pass is one of the easiest east side passes, I usually make it over in a day easily. Beyond Humphrey's basin and hutchison meadows the trail drops to much lower and hotter areas which to me are the least interesting part of the loop until you get back up to evolution basin. I would not recommend Alpine Col or the Keyhole as they are full of talus. I have never been over either Packsaddle or Snow-tongue pass so I can't comment about them.
Have you already reseved a permit? I just got one for august to take my son to Humphrey's and dates were already hard to get for Piute Pass.
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Postby langenbacher » Sat Apr 28, 2007 12:46 am

I agree - Larmarck Col and Darwin Canyon are awesome! I went on a long trip about 25 years ago from South Lake, through Bishop and Muir Passes, and camped at the col lake the last night. The last day we bagged Lamarck, and the hike down to North Lake was beautiful, and easy to navigate.

Last year , with an early start one day, we made it from North Lake, through the col, and all the way to Evolution lake to camp, Mt. Goddard 2nd day, and back out 3rd day. See http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/552775663SpxVXb and http://langenbacher.org/Goddard.

It was a little confusing on the way in at 2 places - figuring out where to leave Lamarck Creek, and where to leave the Darwin Bench drainage to get to the JMT, but navigation was no challenge on the way back. It's a popular enough route, but we spoke to no one between the JMT and the col, going in or out - seeing only one human each time, off in the distance.
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Postby frediver » Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:21 am

I lost my last reply.
Thanks for the advice it is all appreciated.
The shortcuts are looking more interesting all the time.
I finally found Packsaddle Pass, I could not find it the first time I opened the link.
I am still wondering how much actual time these routes can save me, it will be a trade-off. Speed on a known trail or x-country route finding however easy it might be. These routes look like they only cut off about 8-10 miles, one day. Granted it will cut out what looks to be the low point of the trip.
How is the fishing in packsaddle and lobe lakes?
O well I will be spending lots of time with my map programs shortly so the decision will be easier to make in a month. Who knows Hi water in the streams that time of year might make the x-country option an easier one.
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Postby giantbrookie » Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:08 am

I highly recommend a Lamarck Col option versus other off trail crossings of the Glacier Divide (or the very long end-around using Piute Creek). Lamarck Col is certainly the easiest of all the Glacier Divide crossings. It is also heavily used enough so that there is a well developed use trail taking you much of the way. It is also the most direct route from North Lake to the Evolution area and the view when you crest out is enchanting. To me the view of Darwin Canyon, Mts. Darwin and Mendel, always seemed to say to me "Welcome to Kings Canyon National Park backcountry". The Lamarck Col route also gives you a number of camping options on day 1 that make the thing easier. For example something like 3 miles and 1500' gets you to Upper Lamarck Lake, where the official trail ends. This is an utterly gorgeous lake, and the fishing isn't too bad either. There are lots of fish here, and there are generally some rainbows in there that get reasonably large (in addition to gobs of brookies). If you choose to camp there on the first night, then you have but 2000' more feet of elevation gain to clear the pass, plus you'll be better acclimated to the elevation. The col is mild enough so that my wife and I went all the way over on day 1 into Darwin Canyon/Darwin Bench on three different trips, but depending on how you feel and how long it takes for you to find a ride to North Lake, it seems as if a shorter day 1 is in order. Day 2 from Upper Lamarck will get you to Darwin Canyon without too much sweat and you have the option, depending on how you feel, of continuing on, descending to the JMT and finishing in Evolution Basin, perhaps at Evolution Lake. A layover day or even two in this area is a good idea because there are lots of side basins and other highlights to explore, such as Mc Gee Lakes and Davis Lakes. Depending on what floats your boat (say peak bagging vs fishing) there are some nice class 2 peak bagging options along this route, including Mt Lamarck (not much of a peak, but very easy from the Lamarck Col route--it does have a nice view), Mt. Fiske, Mt. Goddard (this takes a little doing because it's long dayhike from Evolution), and Black Giant. The Evolution to Dusy part of the route can be done in a day, although making sure your last Evolution camp is in upper Evolution (say no lower than the unnamed lake downstream of Wanda) will make an Evolution to Dusy day shorter. Note that the uppermost Dusy Lakes are the most interesting, both in terms of having fewer people and also from the standpoint of larger fish and somewhat more rugged scenery (but note that the final grunt from the Kings to uppermost Dusy is something like 2800' of gain; it's 650' less to the lowermost Dusy Lakes. As noted earlier you may have time, depending on how many days you spend in the Evolution area to do the easy cross country over Knapsack Pass to the Barrett Lakes basin that sits beneath the awesome cathedral-like fluted west face of North Palisade.
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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Postby snusmumriken » Sat Apr 28, 2007 5:26 pm

I'm reading all this with great interest. Doing a trip with a Sierra Club group to Humphrey basin this summer and may have some days before or after the trip to do some more exploring in the area.

Question: What would be a good topo map? Is there one that covers the area from Dusy Basin to Humphrey Basin in sufficient detail for cross country travel?
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Maps

Postby frediver » Sat Apr 28, 2007 6:44 pm

And now that the question of maps has been brought up I have one of my own?
BTW I am using the Tom Harrison, Bishop Pass Map, for preliminary trip planning.

My question:
It could be that I just don't know how to use my map software, I have the Ca. Topo Series and De Lorme C.D.'s

Is it possible to print out a 7.5 min or 15 Min. (?) map on 8X10 or the large adventure paper ? What I was thinking of is to print the entire map pane on a smaller paper size and use a magnifying lens to read the map,
can this be done ? My printer has the resolution ability necessary to make this work, I just am not sure how to do it.
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Postby langenbacher » Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:01 pm

snusmumriken wrote:Question: What would be a good topo map? Is there one that covers the area from Dusy Basin to Humphrey Basin in sufficient detail for cross country travel?


not all in a single map, but try http://langenbacher.org/Maps/37071837MtDarwin.png for starters.

http://casil.ucdavis.edu/mapsurfer/, The California Map Surfer! for the high resolution topo quads

http://svinetfc4.fs.fed.us/rastergateway/regions/r5/r5.html for lower res but better quality topo quad scans. Unfortunately they don't include quads without National Forest land in them
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