Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

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apatek
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Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by apatek » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:29 pm

Hi,

Has anyone had experience going over Lamarck Col or Piute Pass during the last week in July in either 2011 or 2017? Will be going through there the last week of July this year and wanted to know what specific gear to bring/what the conditions were like for other high snow years.

Thanks in advance!








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Bishop_Bob
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by Bishop_Bob » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:14 pm

I'm planning to go over the Col August 15, so I'm also eager to know others' experiences.

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texan
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by texan » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:16 pm

I went over Piute Pass during the last week of July in 1983 during a very high snow year and the snow was up to our waist climbing the last 1/4 mile to the pass. On the other side of the pass it was snow covered like winter. Our main goal was fishing so we turned around and went back to the trailhead. By August 15 this I think you should be good, I don't believe there is as much snow as the summer of 83 or 95. Remember Mammoth Mountain Ski area latest closing date was in 1995. They stayed opened until August 14 I believe.

Texan

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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by GGC23 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:08 pm

I went up Paiute Pass about 3 weeks ago. There was a ton of snow, but it was not at all technical. Three weeks ago, the snow started right before Loch Leven. The snow line should be significantly higher by the time of your trip. The snow after Loch Leven was annoying and slushy but posed no danger and required no special skills beyond an ability to keep your balance when postholing and slipping on slush. Trekking poles were a must.

I went up Lamarck Col about 1 month ago (the first weekend of June, if my memory serves me). There was a ton of snow starting even before the trailhead (North Lake Road was still closed at the time). I would describe the final climb to the col as "nontrivial," which to me means "be very careful with your foot placements and carry an ice axe." Given that there has been so much melting between early June and your planned trip date, what I encountered back at the start of June is all but useless. The good news is that I'm headed that way again this weekend. I'll make sure to report back!

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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by cthenn » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:11 pm

Lamarck Col will hold snow almost all season. There is a remnant glacier there, so that helps hold the snow that much longer. The usual boot track traverses upward across the snowfield, which takes some of the steepness out. I don't know if an axe is necessary, but if the snow is hard, some kind of traction device might be beneficial. If it's later in the day, or the snow is soft, careful foot placement should be adequate. There will almost certainly already be a worn-in boot track.

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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by apatek » Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:33 am

Thanks for the input! Look forward to hearing what conditions are like this weekend.

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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by stevet » Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:25 pm

The final approach to Lamarck Col is not that steep. I crossed late August in both 2010 and 2011. Huge difference in the amount of snow. In 2011 I used microspikes on the x-country passes...Lamark Col, Gabbot, White Bear, Feather and used a hiking staff for balance. Lamarck Col will likely be heavily suncupped (was late August 2011), so even if crusty in the morning you will find plenty of "flat-ish" surface on the climb.

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Teri
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by Teri » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:49 pm

Bishop_Bob wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:14 pm
I'm planning to go over the Col August 15, so I'm also eager to know others' experiences.
We are also due to go over it August 15th. See you on the trail!

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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by Bishop_Bob » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:58 pm

I'll be in the Party of Five (or Melrose Place or 90210 or...)

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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by Bishop_Bob » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:16 pm

Sorry for the word play. I'll be in a group of five hikers.

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