TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

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TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby Mradford » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:45 am

On Thursday the 20th, my 2 buddies and I headed up to the Sierras from Orange County. We had been looking forward to this trip all year and were psyched to finally be heading out into the back country.

We picked up our permit in Lone Pine and drove up to Bishop and finally headed up to the North Lake trailhead around 1 am. The next morning we woke up and while packing our stuff met Art (artrock23) who was getting ready to summit Mt. Lamarck. We talked for a bit telling him to give a big yell from the summit hoping that maybe we would hear him while we were climbing the pass.

Day 1: We finally started to make our way up Piute pass. The hike up this pass is always fun and delivers some awesome views. There was a tiny snow field right at the top, but other than that the pass is completely free of snow.
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We took a small break at the top, checked out maps, and found the trail heading to Muriel lake. On the way to the lake we ran into a guy who was doing a tour of the glacier divide/humphreys basin/french canyon and had been doing pretty well in the fishing category. We arrived at Muriel lake and were blown away by how beautiful and how large the lake was.
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There were a couple people camped at the lake and they asked us about the missing hiker and if we were looking for him. After chatting with them we continued along the snow field path and up to the lower Goethe Lake. We had heard camping around the two lakes was hard to come by, but after a short search we found a ledge pretty close to both lakes and set up there.
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We cruised around the lakes, checking out the basin and fishing here and there. The amphitheater that the lakes sit in is amazing.
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We could see Alpine col and there seemed to be some patchy snow on it, the western shore of the lake had a mix of nasty snow and talus fields which looked like it would take hours to cross and most of the cirque still had snow on it with a few of the couloirs having pretty rad cornices at the top. We decided that the next day we would take the eastern shore to the pass even though most people suggest otherwise. We ate dinner and crashed that night feeling pretty excited about the next day.
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Day 2: The next morning we woke up and decided to fish a little more and take out time as we wanted the snow on the pass to soften up a little. We headed across the eastern side of the lake and boulder hopped some HUGE talus blocks and made our way up the first part of the pass.
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We made it up to the first "bench" area and took a few minute break and went over our options. In a few places the snow looked pretty steep and without crampons/ice axes, we had to make smart choices. We followed a pretty easy route which led us to the final snow field which couldn't be avoided and was steep. Since we had waited it out earlier, the snow was soft enough that it was smooth sailing. The top of the pass blesses us with an amazing view of the Darwin Bench and beyond and an easy descend.
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We cruised around the lakes in the Darwin Bench and finally started making our way into Darwin Canyon which we were all excited about. It definitely did not disappoint. We found a nice campsite near one of the middle lakes, rigged up and hit the lakes and inlets and fished until dark.
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Fishing was pretty good, and the scenery was unmatched. This guy sums up the way I felt about the canyon!!
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We finally headed back to camp and made dinner, listened to CSN&Y, finally hit the bags around midnight.

Day 3: We woke up early on Sunday to do a little more fishing and make a big breakfast as we knew this day would hurt. We started making our way up the canyon and towards Lamarck col which is huge! Half was up the pass we got a nice view of the entire canyon as well as the glacial lakes below Darwin and Mendel.
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Hiking up the pass was interesting as the sandy trail takes away from each step. We finally reached the top and were pretty psyched that the snow field on the other side was soft enough to literally slide down on our butts.
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SAFELY I might add.
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About 2 hours from our campsite to the top of the pass, and about 30 seconds down the other side. We saw some people heading up the slopes of Mt. Lamarck and watched them for a bit. The rest of the hike from the lake below the pass to upper Lamarck lake was a downhill slog.
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We managed to get off course for a bit and ended up at a cliff above the lake before realizing we missed the main trail. We eventually made it down to our car and threw on our suits and decided to jump in the creek. It was freezing. We were all pretty beat but were so happy we did this trip as it had been on our list for a while, for obvious reasons :D . Always a good time in the back country. Sorry my TRs are always super long.
Last edited by Mradford on Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:10 am, edited 4 times in total.



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Re: TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:53 am

A wonderful report!

On Photobucket, refer to Eric's recent post at: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=103&p=70926#p70926
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Re: TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby Mradford » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:02 am

rlown wrote:A wonderful report!

On Photobucket, refer to Eric's recent post at: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=103&p=70926#p70926


Fixed! Thanks!
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Re: TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby markskor » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:04 pm

Great trip, Great TR, but...
Maybe when you camp that close to the water (Goethe) you might want to not show how close...
The ol' 100 foot rule and all?
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:15 pm

Mike,

Great TR! Great photos! Thanks for that report.

How do we find out about the detailed details? :) PM, or will you post pictures in the fishing hole? :D

CSN&Y...good selection. I always debate if it is them or Social Distortion. :)

Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby Mradford » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:22 pm

markskor wrote:Great trip, Great TR, but...
Maybe when you camp that close to the water (Goethe) you might want to not show how close...
The ol' 100 foot rule and all?


I appreciate your concern but I assure you the photo kind of alters the perception of how close we were. Possibly not quite 100 feet but definitely not as close as it looks. We were on a little bump above the water which makes it look closer.
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Re: TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby Mradford » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:23 pm

Vaca Russ wrote:Mike,

Great TR! Great photos! Thanks for that report.

How do we find out about the detailed details? :) PM, or will you post pictures in the fishing hole? :D

CSN&Y...good selection. I always debate if it is them or Social Distortion. :)

Thanks,

-Russ



Shoot me a pm ;)
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Re: TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby KathyW » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:37 pm

Great report! A really nice trip.

I was looking for info on conditions down there around Darwin, and now I have them - thanks.
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Re: TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby hikerdmb » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:39 pm

Looks like you had a great trip. Wonderful photos too.
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Re: TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby sekihiker » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:57 pm

Wow! Lots of snow. Great pics.
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TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby Bluewater » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:50 am

Thanks for your tr and photos. I took the same route last March and walked over all of those lakes.
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Re: TR: 3 friends, 3 days, 3 passes 6/21-6/23

Postby artrock23 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:34 am

Great TR and photos, Mike. It was cool meeting you and your friends at North Lake.
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