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Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

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Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby Wild Bill » Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:07 pm

Has anyone been over Lamarck Col recently? Are the lakes in Darwin Canyon ice free yet? I'm thinking of going there for some fishing on June 20th; if they are ice free... :thumbsup:



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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby maverick » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:34 pm

From all the reports that have come in lately those lakes are definitely still frozen.
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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby Wild Bill » Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:11 pm

I walked to Upper Lamarck Lake today (6-13-08) it was still frozen, but should be ice free soon. I decided to wait; I'm guessing Darwin Lakes are still frozen.
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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby maverick » Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:22 pm

Good call Bill, unless your into ice fishing. Because of the lakes being surrounded by
mountains on all but its western side and all of them being above 11500 ft it will be
a while.
With Mt. Mendel and its shoulder that extends westward prohibiting this area to get
any extended exposure to the sun it will not thaw till later (July).
Last edited by maverick on Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby CSF » Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:02 am

I was just at Upper Lamarck yesterday, no ice on the lake, and the trail is free of snow. The flowers are really coming out on the North Lake side and even at the lake.
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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby guenthej » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:30 pm

Sorry if this isn't the best place to post this; I'm new to High Sierra Topix.

Anyway, do any of you know about the current conditions at Lamarck Col? I'm planning to take a group of 6 over it on July 5, 2009, heading north to south, and we're a bit concerned about the snow. From what I've seen and heard, the permanent snowfield on the east/north side shouldn't been too much trouble, but if there's snow on the west/south side, then that may be more of a concern.

Our plan is to go for a 7-day hike, so our packs will be significantly heavier than just daypacks.

If you're curious, our general plan is to start at North Lake, go over Lamarck Col, from the Darwin Canyon & Bench into Darwin Basin, over Wanda Pass into the Ionian Basin, back out to the JMT via Black Giant Pass and then along the Bishop Pass Trail to South Lake.

If Wanda Pass is snow covered, then we're planning to take the JMT over Muir Pass so we can try to enter the Ionian Basin via Black Giant Pass, because that seems to be an easier pass.

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:16 pm

Hi Guenthej,
My wife & I went into (& back out of) Ionian basin via Wanda Pass last year and finished the trip out over Lamarck col on July 2nd. Darwin Lakes were open and Lamarck was a snooze. Ditto for Wanda Pass. Flickr is down right now, but I'll pull some photos of Wanda Pass that were taken in late June last year, as they will give you an idea of what you might expect for snow coverage on the North side (and it was pretty wide open). It's a great trip with some strenuous interludes, but it's worth every step!
CG
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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:26 pm

Photo link for the Wanda Pass set is:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10845599@N ... 743960490/

Good luck!
CG
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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby guenthej » Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:42 pm

CG-

Thanks for the reply. It's very encouraging.

My understanding is that this year there is much more snow than there was in 2008, however. What equipment did you use when you went over the "snooze"? Crampons? Ice ax? Hiking Poles?

In all the pictures that I've seen of people climbing the permanent snowfield, I've only seen people using hiking poles, but some folks have recommended that we bring crampons, which we, unfortunately, don't have.

Thanks, also, for the pictures from your trip this time last year. I really need to see the Ionian Basin!

By the way, what do you think of Alpine Col as an alternative? I've heard that it may be less dangerous but slower going due to a much nastier boulder field.
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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby cgundersen » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:24 am

Hi Guenthej,
I know that this is counterintuitive, but I only briefly carried an ice ax in the '70s, but decided to forego gear like that, because it tended to get me into situations where I did not belong. Thus, I only go places where a good set of hiking boots will suffice. In the half dozen times I've gone over Lamarck, I have never even remotely felt the urge for ice ax/crampons (however, if you check the TR that I filed earlier this month on Kaweah basin, I'd have felt a bit better with an ice ax on Kaweah Pass). If you guys are aiming to get up and over Lamarck on your first day, the snow will be plenty mushy by the time you reach it (though, I must say that last year we met a guy on the Darwin canyon side who had made it from North Lake over the col in less than 6 hours, but he had to be a freak of nature). Plus, by the time you head up, there will be a trail through the snow from all the folks who preceded you. The only thing I don't like about climbing up Lamarck is that once you finally reach the open sandy bit above Lamarck Lake, there is this remarkable spire on the right that looks like it's flipping you the bird. It's kinda funny in a weird way.
Alpine col is certainly an alternative, but as you've heard, the boulder hopping is pretty intense. I've only gone over Alpine in late summer, so I cannot comment on what it may be like in early July. For a first day of a longish trip, I think I'd opt for Lamarck. It's a long slow slog (for me, anyway), but there is nothing very tricky. Plus, Darwin canyon is spectacular (Goethe Lakes are OK, but I prefer the Darwins). With Alpine, getting over Piute Pass is like walking to the neighborhood 7-11, but once you leave Muriel Lake in the rearview mirror, things start getting dicier the close you get to the Alpine ridge.
CG
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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby guenthej » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:15 pm

CG-

I think I get the logic. Without the (sometimes false) security of having an ice ax, you're less likely to do foolish things.

We're planning to camp by Upper Lamarck on the first night after driving from the Bay Area. That should give us plenty of time to get over Lamarck Col and through Darwin Canyon to Darwin Bench on the second day. If we need to wait for the snow to soften before ascending, that should be fine, too.

Thanks for the heads up about the offensive spire. We'll try not to take it personally!

-Joel
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Re: Lamarck Col/Darwin Canyon

Postby cgundersen » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:29 pm

Hi Y'all,
Please post trip reports when you get back; that whole stretch makes for fabulous daydreaming for those of us back at the office.........i don't get to see granite again till late August.
CG
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