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Lamarck Col vs Echo Col

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Re: Lamarck Col vs Echo Col

Postby East Side Hiker » Thu May 12, 2011 12:15 pm

As usual, WD has made a good sugestion. South Lake, I think, is an easier drive. The trial over Bishop Pass is very beautiful. The two or so miles difference is nothing (actually, I wonder if it is longer - if she says so, it probably is...). But more people use South Lake, if that matters...



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Re: Lamarck Col vs Echo Col

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:51 pm

We're planning a South Lake to North Lake trip in a few of weeks. The highlight will be do a lot of cross country rather than stick to the John Muir Highway. For starters, we're planning to over Black Giant Pass into Ionian Basin. I'm thinking it might be faster and have less up and down to go over Echo Col rather than Bishop Pass. I went over Echo Col one or two years ago (or three decades ago...same thing), but I don't remember the details so well. We've recently been over Bishop Pass, and we don't necessarily need to take that trip again.

Any recommendations or comments on which route we should take?
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Re: Lamarck Col vs Echo Col

Postby norcalhiker » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:23 pm

How about Haeckel Col?
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Re: Lamarck Col vs Echo Col

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:36 pm

norcalhiker wrote:How about Haeckel Col?

There is a post on this board that has an amazing photo of east side of Haeckel Col. Haeckel Col is very serious class 3 (solid rock though) at the top of the east side and there is some class 3 on the west, too at the top of the exit chute down. If one enjoys this sort of thing with a full pack this is fine. I did this in 1977 and I was, as many are, tempted by what appears to be the most convenient straight line to Sapphire Lake and vicinity. However, even for the most seasoned off trail hikers, I am willing to bet if you cloned them and started one off at Sabrina and one off at North Lake and raced them over Haeckel versus Lamarck Col, the Lamarck Col clone would get there first, and probably wait awhile for the other clone.

In any case, the last few moves on the east side of Haeckel Col are amazingly steep. I remember my dad was leading and he reached the stop and simply sat there. I was really beat by this time and it was all I could do to hoist myself up. I had a frame pack with an extender bar and the rock overhung the ledges so that my extender bar kept banging on the rock overhead. I remember on the climactic move I had to lean back a bit so that my frame could clear the roof. I found it rather inconvenient that my dad's rear was in my way at the top of this mantle move. I asked him "can you please move?" He looked down at me and said "I can't". You have no idea how demoralizing that was. I had imagined this mellow talus slope on the west side but the "I can't" meant that the top was a knife edge, which it certainly was and I knew the implications immediately when my dad said that. In any case my poor conditioning and a bum knee, along with the rough terrain wiped out our attempt to make Sapphire on day 1. We bivouacked among the rocks of the high lake on the west side below Haeckel Col (lake 11822), whose shore we reached just as it became too dark to see anything.

In any case I recommend Haeckel only for those that intentionally want to make things hard on themselves. The bird's eye view of Hungry Packer Lake and the backdrop of the famed "Picture Peak" above is an amazing sight, as is the north face of Haeckel, but I actually like the view cresting out over Lamarck Col better. There is just something about that view of the north faces of Darwin and Mendel and of Darwin Canyon that just says "Welcome to the Kings Canyon Backcountry" better than any gateway view I know.
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: Lamarck Col vs Echo Col

Postby cgundersen » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:40 am

GB,
I'm not sure whether your Haeckel story serves more as an "inspiration" or an admonition. It remains one of those xc ridges that I've eyed warily, but never had the gumption to try. And, it's for almost exactly the reason you've recounted: Lamarck col is so reliable (esp., when you're carrying a load) and Darwin canyon/bench are so delightful that even the 5th and 6th times through are wonderful. The same cannot be said for Echo col; in my book, it was less bad than your description of Haeckel, but I recall making some dubious moves at the top that had my ticker pounding. Yep, it's definitely a great shot into Ionian basin, but at a "steep" price!
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