Apr 1, 2009 at 10:30 pm #1235250
looking at summer trip planning & wondering just how much boulder/rock hopping is involved
cost/benefit stuff mostly, but some level of effort/danger too
thanks :)Apr 1, 2009 at 10:57 pm #1490614
@rglessLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I've been in over it twice, once to climb Darwin and once on backpacking trip with my wife. It's no big deal if you're comfortable with a little snow and a lot of typical Sierra off trail rock hopping. The attached link gives you a pretty good idea of what it's like.Apr 1, 2009 at 11:05 pm #1490615
in the pictures it appears the whole length of darwin canyon could be a continuous boulder scramble – is that the case?
i'm trying to get an idea how much of it is necessary, as i hate boulder scrambling, but for a good payoff, i'll plan on enduring some of it, but i'd not want to do a couple miles or more of nonstop scramble
also in one of the pictures they seem to be climbing somewhat vertically – did they just pick a bad route or is there no way around that much climbingApr 1, 2009 at 11:20 pm #1490616
a few places i've been somewhat recently with some rock scrambling
the approach to Millie's Footpass from Lake Reflection
east side of Italy Pass
the col to the North of Desolation Lake – over towards Pine Creek Pass
just curious if it's more than the Millie's approach, for example, which was the most scrambling of all the aboveApr 2, 2009 at 8:21 am #1490648
@rglessLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
It's been a while, but my recollection is that there's a use trail most of the way up to the col and along the Darwin Lakes. Some route finding is necessary over the col itself and down the other side. It is a spectacular area. Maybe someone who's been over it more recently can give you more details on just how much rock hopping there is.Apr 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm #1490740
Cary, were you planning doing a loop over Lamarck through Darwin Basin, into Evolution and then out over Bishop Pass?? CuriousApr 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm #1490816
There is, indeed, a use trail up to the tarn at the headwall of the col. How much scrambling depends on the condition of the snow field from the tarn up to the col itself. Early to mid season it will be step kicking if you wait for the sun to soften the snow. Late season it can be
very hard snow or ice, in which case bring an ice ax and possibly crampons or be prepared for a class two scramble along the left(south) margin of the snow/ice field. The trail down into Darwin Canyon is moderately steep at the top, then eases off, but you have to pay attention to pick it up at times down low until you get to the first lake. There is a stretch of talus/boulders for ~ the first 2 hundred yards along the lake, then you will pick up a use trail the rest of the way down to Darwin Bench. From there the trail can be faint at times down to the JMT. Beautiful country. BTW, there is a nice campsite on a sandy bench at the end of the above mentioned talus/boulders section, maybe 15 feet or so above the emerging use trail. Big enough for 2 tents. Lots more as the canyon opens up a mile or so later. A word of caution: You will be going from 4,000' up to 12,900' if you start from Bishop. A friend and I did that 2 years ago and got away with it, but were feeling a little woozy by the time we got down to the campsite I mentioned above. Another friend and I tried it last year and he got pretty sick and we had to bail. A better option, IMO/IME is to stop for the night at Upper Lamarck Lake and acclimatize, even though it's only ~2.5 miles from the TH. Pretty place to hang out for a few hours anyway. I'm going in that way in late July to check out McGee Lakes and possibly the Ionian Basin. It's prime backpacking country. I hope this helps, and best of luck.
TomApr 2, 2009 at 6:27 pm #1490842
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Hey Carry- I went to Evolution Valley to Darwin Basin and then when out the Lamarck Col, Aug 2006 Simply Awesome!!!Apr 2, 2009 at 7:14 pm #1490854
Damn Jay where have you not been! Between you anc Cary….
I have always wanted to do this route!!!Apr 2, 2009 at 8:22 pm #1490875
Tom, Jay & all – thanks, perfect info.
Jay – how did you like going out that way? route pretty clear coming up from that side (all of the trip reports/descriptions i've found are going in that way, not out)?
Ken – yeah, that's basically what i was looking at, though I was thinking doing it in reverse fashion, like Jay did, to allow for better acclimation.
Haven't seen Evolution/Pete's yet & always wanted to. Have also wanted to see Darwin Bench & fish some of the lower stretches. I've been all through Paiute Pass & Desolation Lakes/Golden Trout Lakes area on a couple previous trips – did a 2 week base camp trip near Desolation Lake one time.Apr 2, 2009 at 8:30 pm #1490876
Cary, are you willing to take on some lost souls on this trip?????????????Apr 2, 2009 at 8:36 pm #1490877
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Cary, it is a easy route to follow. I originally started out of Bishop Pass to Le Conte Canyon to Muir Pass to Evolution Valley to Darwin Basin. The entire trek was 5 days 4 nights. The Lamarck Col was a fairly easy route–you only have one option (UP). We got caught in big storm the last night in the Darwin Bench.
The Lamarck Col in cloudsApr 2, 2009 at 10:06 pm #1490903
i'm thinking late july or august though
will be firming it up in the next couple of weeks though – i have to schedule things a long way in advance if they are going to happenApr 3, 2009 at 11:23 am #1490999
A couple more data points to plug into your decision matrix: 1) I saw a couple of large trout lolling on the surface in the middle lakes of Darwin Canyon. Probably 18-19". They looked to be either Golden or Golden-Rainbow hybrids, couldn't tell for sure. But it almost made me decide to get back into fishing-NICE fish! 2) If you exit or enter via Bishop Pass, a bear canister is required, FWIW.Apr 3, 2009 at 11:30 am #1491002
yeah – those are goldens up there & that area has some large fish
on the other side of glacier divide in some of the high lakes i found a few big fish
also on the other side of the col from Desolation LakeApr 3, 2009 at 11:58 am #1491010
"on the other side of glacier divide in some of the high lakes i found a few big fish"
Martha Lake has a reputation for big fish, too, but it's a bit of a hump to get to. How did you find the fishing in Desolation Lake?Apr 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm #1491014
walked all the way around it a few times on two or three different trips, fishing as I went
most of what a caught were good sized, but like all big lakes, hit or miss & sometimes it's just turned off. nothing huge, but a few in the 12" – 16" range. Have to really work at it & figure out what they'll hit & be able to go deep. not much surface action. there may be scuds in there, not sure. but certainly caddis larvae – on the eastern edge there are a couple spots with gradual, sandy/gravely slope & i saw a few large trout slurping caddis larvae there – most of the rest of the lake is deep & bouldery, like a lot of those big lakes up there.
Martha and a couple of others along that crest have big fish, but not great numbers that i could find. and yeah, it's a lot harder to get to them :)
Lower Desolation, the creek below it & the Golden Trout Lakes were good for numbers, but size is 5" to 10" mostly with a few going up to around 12". some brookies mixed in the creek if i remember right.
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