Favorite way to get to Kalmia Lake (DW)

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windknot
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Favorite way to get to Kalmia Lake (DW)

Post by windknot » Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:23 pm

Kalmia Lake in Desolation doesn't look easy to get to from any direction, although Robert Wood mentions in his hiking guide that it can be reached by a steep climb up from Azure Lake. Has anyone on this board been there and can comment on the difficulty of this hike? I also noticed that the PCT on the north side of Dicks Pass stretches tantalizingly close to the edge of the ridge overlooking Kalmia from the west. Anyone have any ideas about this possible approach compared to the standard route from Azure?

Thanks,
Matt


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hikerduane
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Re: Favorite way to get to Kalmia Lake (DW)

Post by hikerduane » Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:00 pm

I contoured around one year, while camped at Dicks Lake. Hiked part way up towards the pass then started contouring around. Ran into a cliff of two, but managed to get around them. I have been other ways up to the lakes below Kalmia, but it has been quite a few years. One way is leave Bayview, keep to the left and follow the use trail up or drop off the Bayview Trail before it hits the trail coming up from Eagle Lake and head down. Gotta know when to abandon the trail. Not bad going down this way, brush and trees weren't bad.

Seems Pooch and I made it down to Azure with no issue, then up out of it somehow and took the trail back to Dicks.
Piece of cake.

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Re: Favorite way to get to Kalmia Lake (DW)

Post by windknot » Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:13 pm

Thanks Duane, that was exactly the kind of experience I was looking for and I'm glad to see that someone's done it. I'm tempted to try going in from above partly because I'll also be able to tell from the top whether or not the lake is iced over yet (looking to check it out in early Oct.) and thus save myself a potentially useless (from a fishing standpoint, of course) hike down and back up again if it is indeed frozen.

Matt
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maverick
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Re: Favorite way to get to Kalmia Lake (DW)

Post by maverick » Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:26 pm

Haven't been there but from the topo the route from Azures western side up to the
8600 ft contour line and then following that over to the lake is one route, the other
would be to drop down from the PCT just after passing the Upper Vilma Lk trail
head down to the 8600 ft contour line and following that to the lake.
From the topo it looks like they are class 2 but we all know there can be unexpected
surprises.
Here is a picture from above the lake looking east towards Lake Tahoe.
http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.p ... t_id=86913

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Re: Favorite way to get to Kalmia Lake (DW)

Post by windknot » Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:47 am

Thanks maverick. I'm liking the idea of cutting over from the Velma Lakes junction, if the slope is stable then that would be easier than coming over the northern flank of Dicks Peak from the PCT. I thought about coming up that western side of Azure, but I've read somewhere on this forum (from GB, I think) that it's pretty hard to circumnavigate the lake and it might be difficult to get to that side.

Thanks again,
Matt
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Re: Favorite way to get to Kalmia Lake (DW)

Post by hikerduane » Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:33 pm

Kinda early to be worried about ice there. into Nov. maybe. Although I have started a trip in mid Oct, down my Lee Vining out of Rush Creek and had the creek below the Clark Lakes have ice on the willows etc.
Piece of cake.

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Re: Favorite way to get to Kalmia Lake (DW)

Post by windknot » Tue Sep 09, 2008 7:40 pm

Yeah I'm guessing no ice until at least late October, but I don't really have a barometer for when it might freeze as I've never been at that high of an elevation in Desolation before (8600 ft). The weekend of Oct. 11 looks good for visit to Kalmia, weather permitting.

Matt
You can read a few backcountry reports here: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/

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