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Eastern Sierra Tour Guide: Mt. Lamarck

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Eastern Sierra Tour Guide: Mt. Lamarck

Postby MooseTracks » Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:38 pm

"I was wondering, did I forget something? 'Cuz your pack is so heavy!"

I met Braden through my friends Chris and Deb, and he was in town to interview for a guiding internship with one of the local shops. Originally, Deb and I were to hit it this weekend, but she had to back out, and Braden took her place. He was new to snow, but is a very experienced climber, and wanted to explore a bit. Little did he know what he was getting himself into!

Some weather came in Friday, so I was a little concerned at first, but by afternoon the clouds had consolidated a bit more and we drove up to Aspendell to park at the road closure.

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Deb hiked up with us to North Lake, but then turned and headed for home. We continued up towards Lower Lamarck Lake, but got a bit too far south. With some wind picking up and snow starting to blow, we found a nice, protected spot south of the lake and around a small bump.

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Mother Nature shut the lights off right after we got everything set up for the night, and we listened to the wind howl and blow snow across our tent as we fell asleep. The morning dawned clear and crisp, with a fading moon setting over the peaks to the south. After a slow, late start (8 a.m.!!), we climbed to the top of the bump over our heads to get a better lay of the land, and realized we were exactly between Upper and Lower Lamarck Lakes. Perfect!

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My legs were still really feeling it from last week's adventure on Split, so I told Braden I might not make the summit, but let's play around up here anyway. Yeah, who am I kidding? With each successive pitch up, I got more excited about getting to the top. But my moment of bliss spot was just about perfect in the sun:

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Slowly, we ascended the ridge and finally got to the plateau that climbs to Lamarck Col. The snow here was hard, windblown, and in the flat spots blown down to the rock and scree. I can see why some would consider this a slog in the summer! Climbing above 12K, we finally came into view of the talus field leading to the summit of Lamarck.

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By around 1230, we were on the summit, and greeted with a stiff, cold wind. Clouds filled in the horizon to the west, and rime ice covered the rocks of the summit. But the view was tremendous, and I made sure to give a loud 'call of the moose' back towards North Lake!

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Looking back, we should have descended the snow field on the south face of Lamarck, but instead headed down to the backside of the Col. The scrambling took WAY too long, but at least I got a beautiful view of Darwin Canyon:

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Descending the Col was, well, the ONLY easy part of the day. The snow, once again, was perfect for plunge-stepping, and Braden did great on the steep stuff. After he caught me up at the bottom, we started to head over the rock down the plateau. That's when I caught my heel on a rock, my toe plunged forward, and my knee cap was driven headlong into a granite fin! SOB!! Now, it takes a fair amount to make me yelp (whimpering on exposed Class 3 is a different affair), but MAN DID THAT HURT! After about a minute, I made myself walk it off (we were still at about 12.5K, so what the hell else was I gonna do??), and unfortunately it turned the rest of the descent into a sufferfest. BTW: today it's stiff, scraped, and turning all sorts of nice shades of purple. Anyone know a good physical therapist?? :) Hooray for ice packs.

After a bit of trouble finding our tent (Oich!), we threw our things together and started trekking down. The weather had come in behind us, first to the north, then south, the filling in the Col. It was as if it was allowing us the opportunity to get past the tricky stuff, then beyond the tent (10.6K ft) it was just a bit windy. We made it down to North Lake CG around 6, meeting up with the West LA Group 2 WTC class (my group from last year) who were on their snow camp. I visited with them for a bit (hooray for hot chocolate!), then finished the deal by getting back to the TOF.

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Braden and I were whooped from the adventure, so instead of the usual post-hike brew, we waited til this morning to grab grub at the Petite Pantry, which ROCKS!!

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This was Braden's first Sierra peak, and his first real experience with snow. I'm really proud that he stuck with it, even when he was just completely worn out yesterday. He told me this morning what a blast it was, and he can't wait to try again! What a great adventure!

Rest of the pics are here.

-L :cool:
"Why do I climb? Quite simply because the mountains and I had to meet." - Colette Richard

http://www.flickr.com/photos/moosepics621



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Re: Eastern Sierra Tour Guide: Mt. Lamarck

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:04 am

Another excellent adventure. You really have the jump on the rest of us. Reminds me of some of those Armed Forces recruiting ads on TV "We do more before you get up in the morning...". You've done more before April than many of us do in a summer season! Hope your knee feels better soon. I suspect you'll simply hike it off with your next trip. Sort of like drinking off a hangover.
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: Eastern Sierra Tour Guide: Mt. Lamarck

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:39 pm

Thanks for the TR and photo's. I liked the shot looking into Darwin Canyon and
beyond.
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Re: Eastern Sierra Tour Guide: Mt. Lamarck

Postby copeg » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:39 pm

Looks like a blast...thanks for posting
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Re: Eastern Sierra Tour Guide: Mt. Lamarck

Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:59 pm

Moose, that’s pretty awesome, two weeks in a row! I was going to stop by Sunday to say it in person, but we had a leak in the bathroom so I didn't leave Mammoth til 7pm. Great job! =D>
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Re: Eastern Sierra Tour Guide: Mt. Lamarck

Postby MooseTracks » Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:36 am

Snowy: Didn't see your post 'til today! Thanks! Yeah, my legs were definitely still feeling it from last weekend, so maybe something "easy" this weekend?? :lol: Maybe I should just stick to a few brews... :drinkers:

Good luck on the Fund Raiser this weekend!!

-L :cool:
"Why do I climb? Quite simply because the mountains and I had to meet." - Colette Richard

http://www.flickr.com/photos/moosepics621
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Re: Eastern Sierra Tour Guide: Mt. Lamarck

Postby Trailtrekker06 » Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:58 pm

Moosie- Awesome AGAIN! Great pics- love the rime ice one.
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Re: Eastern Sierra Tour Guide: Mt. Lamarck

Postby Ranboze » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:52 pm

Great job Laura. You've had some great experiences on snow this year. Cool!
Walking outside is where I find what's inside.
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