Aug 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm #1293176
Heya fellow BPL'ers.
Since I had so much success with your advice on my last trip, I figured I'd hit you up again. :)
I'm looking to do a loop of some sort in the Evolution area in Sept. I'm noticing there's several options, so I'm not sure which route is best.
I'm hoping for 40 to 50 miles. I'd like to see Evolution lake and Muir pass. I'd like to say on trail as much as possible. (Someday I'll venture off trail more, but not quite yet).
Any feedback would be super appreciated. :)Aug 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm #1904350
The standard trip is to start at North Lake, go over Piute Pass, go southbound along the JMT, over Muir Pass and down to LeConte Canyon, then up over Bishop Pass and out to South Lake. I did that one a year ago, and it was very nice (assuming that you hit the season right).
You can sort of split it through the middle, using Lamarck Col. That would make it North Lake, Lamarck Col, Evolution, Muir Pass, LeConte, Bishop Pass, South Lake. In advance, you would want to know that you handle altitude OK. Lamarck Col is around 13,000 feet, so it will kick your butt if you are not prepared. For the next variation, do this on skis in April.
Another split is over Echo Col, but you would need to go clockwise around the loop.
–B.G.–Aug 21, 2012 at 10:56 am #1904554
Thanks Bob! Does the trail over Piute pass continue all the way to the JMT via piute canyon?
On my map the trail seems broken.
I think I'll go that route. Perhaps leave my car at South lake, and then hitch a ride back to north lake to start my trip. (I'm told that's easy)
Are there good places to camp only a few miles in from North lake? My body tends to acclimate a bit slow, so I was hoping to take it easy the first day.Aug 21, 2012 at 10:58 am #1904557
Sorry, one more question. I'm assuming all snow and mosquito's will be minimal in mid sept. Am I right?Aug 21, 2012 at 11:19 am #1904562
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
Christopher – We started at North Lake in the late afternoon last year and hiked until dark and found a place to sleep but i t was kind of makeshift. Not too many flat spots if I recall correctly.
Bob – The North Lake/South Lake loop is skiable? How do you get around that stretch from the meadows to the junction with the JMT? The drop from Bishop Pass is navigable on skis?
Sorry for the thread drift but this caught my eye and I'm curious…..Aug 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm #1904589
"Does the trail over Piute pass continue all the way to the JMT via piute canyon?"
Yes. Get a new map.
As I recall, there are places to camp by the lakes between North Lake and Piute Pass. I was going pretty fast through there, though, so I didn't study them.
I left my car near North Lake, partly because there are several good parking lots for backpackers there. By the afternoon of the fourth day, I hit South Lake, and I needed to hitch a ride. So, on the back of my map I had written RIDE, which I held up. Drivers passed me for hours. Finally, I got a ride back to 168, walked a bit uphill, then got another ride. I ended up walking back up the road to North Lake.
In September, there won't be any old snow left, but there might be some new snow.
–B.G.–Aug 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm #1904596
"The North Lake/South Lake loop is skiable? How do you get around that stretch from the meadows to the junction with the JMT? The drop from Bishop Pass is navigable on skis?"
I have no idea what meadows you refer to.
About six of us skied from South Lake, over Bishop Pass, turn at LeConte Canyon, up to Muir Pass, halfway down through Evolution. Then we turned and skied up over Lamarck Col, down past Grassy Lake, and finished at North Lake.
As I recall, we ran out of snow about halfway down from Bishop Pass to LeConte Canyon, so we walked. But then there was fresh snow for the slog up to Muir Pass.
–B.G.–Aug 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm #1904635
Is there a trail from Evolution lake up to Lamark Col back to North lake?Aug 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm #1904642
Yes, sort of, maybe.
You have to kind of know where it is supposed to be. Sometimes I have gone through there and I have seen ducks along the way. On other times, I've seen hardly any ducks. That is on the west side of Lamarck Col. On the east side, there is a usage trail that is visible from the Piute Pass Trail. Again, you kind of need to know where to look for it. Once you've been through there once, you will claim that it is obvious. On the other hand, I think about a year ago somebody got lost up there, and they were wandering around for a couple of days before they were rescued.
1. Get some good topo maps.
2. Get the topo maps marked up based on input from others who have already been that way. The Secor book is one good place to start. The other resource is Climber.Org which has lots and lots of trip reports.
3. For your first trip through there, you might want to have a good GPS receiver and know how to use it. You would be surprised how many people carry one but don't know how to use it.
–B.G.–Aug 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm #1904648
Thanks Bob, after looking at this closely, I think I'm going to do the whole loop starting at North Lake, up Piute Pass, through Piute Canyon, down the JMT, then over Muir pass, cut over Bishop pass, then over to South Lake.
The mileage looks like about 45 miles according to my measuring tool in google earth. Does that sound right?
I certainly am nervous about this whole hitch hiking thing. If I leave my car at South Lake, and walk to north lake, it shouldn't take more than a few hours right?Aug 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm #1904678
First of all, I don't think that Google Earth is the best or most accurate tool. National Geographic TOPO! is what I've used for ten or twelve years now, and it seems to be more accurate for trail mileage. Google Earth is based on satellite imagery. Sometimes it can see down through the trees, and sometimes it can't. Google Earth tends to be a lot more up-to-date, and its imagery tends to be no more than two or three years old. By contrast, the topo maps are often ten or twenty or thirty years old. Maybe the topography doesn't change much, but sometimes trails are re-routed and changed.
The hitch hiking thing is totally unpredictable. That's what some people like, and that's what others hate. I was there at South Lake at 3:30 p.m. on a nice afternoon, but I waited for hours. Maybe there is something about appearance.
If you stay on the main trails, you are more likely to be found by a stranger in the event you had a serious problem. Going over Lamarck Col, you might get sick from altitude. The body wouldn't be found until after the coyotes are done with it.
–B.G.–Aug 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm #1904681
Yeah it usually takes me 2 nights at 10K and 11K to acclimate before I can go up to 13K ft without issue. Otherwise I feel yucky.
I was going to spend a night either at the trailhead or only a few miles in…maybe near piute lake?
My doctor gave me some Diamox, so I was going to try that as well.
As for getting eaten by wolves…I just saw that movie "the grey"
Well directed, but I didn't quite get it…I've even been backpacking in Alaska and never saw one wolf. Let alone huge packs of them. hahaAug 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm #1904684
"My doctor gave me some Diamox, so I was going to try that as well."
Diamox works very well for the vast majority of those who take it. Note that some people are allergic to sulfa drugs, which this is.
I would think that at these moderate elevations, the full dose of Diamox may not be necessary. I've actually consumed Diamox only once. We started on a half-dose on the night before a 9000-foot trailhead, and then we kicked it up to a full dose once we were above 14,000 feet. The advantage of the lower dose is that side effects are less likely and less severe, and it might be enough to get your body with the program. The advantage of the full dose is that your body might really need the full dose. Diamox doesn't have a very long shelf life, so it doesn't do much good to stockpile it.
I have given away three times as many Diamox pills as what I have actually consumed.
And, no, there are no wolves in the Sierra Nevada Range.
–B.G.–Aug 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm #1904769
As previously stated, Diamox now has a fairly decent reputation for preventing common high altitude illness, or at least for reducing the severity. Take a common high altitude illness such as High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) as an example. The hiker feels short of breath, and part of that is because the lungs are filling up with capillary fluid, and that is limiting gas exchange. One factor that causes that is when the pulmonary artery pressure gets too high (basically, the pressure causes fluids to leak into the lungs). Doctors have figured out a few ways to reduce that pressure, and some of those involve medicines that liberate Nitric Oxide into that artery. NO causes the arterial wall to relax, and that normally lowers the pressure. Well, there is a new drug that they are just starting to experiment with for this treatment, and this is where the multiple use comes in.
Viagra or Cialis! Normally this is prescribed only for men with erectile dysfunction, but it liberates Nitric Oxide just as well, so it may be helpful in preventing high altitude illness. Viagra supposedly works in the short term, and Cialis is more for long term. That is a multiple use item for sure. It is not fully proven in yet, but some doctors are trying to do the testing now.
I'm sorry, but the ladies need not apply.
–B.G.–Aug 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm #1904847
Thanks Bob for the info.
I have heard the same thing about Viagra/Cialis… but first off it would be kinda embarassing at my age to pick it up at the pharmacy and explain it to my wife. Second, it seems like it would suck to be up there all by myself with…a meowmeowmeow. (meowmeowmeow = my attempt to keep things PG)
If you or anyone does try this let me know if the results are worth me getting over my insecurities. :)
For now I guess I'll stick to Diamox and ibuprofen.Aug 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm #1904849
Btw Bob I just ordered that Secor book you mentioned. Thanks for the advice!Aug 21, 2012 at 11:51 pm #1904851
"For now I guess I'll stick to Diamox and ibuprofen."
For some of us, the physicians do not recommend Ibuprofen as the first choice. Aspirin is.
Even if you never get any serious symptoms, which I hope you don't, it would be nice if you can distinguish your state with or without the Diamox. In other words, how would you really know if you need it?
I was on a trip going up a really big peak one time, and I knew that most of the trip members would be taking Diamox. At the trip start, I passed out a little form with instructions. Each morning, each trip member was to record their rest pulse rate, the amount of Diamox that they had consumed in the previous 24 hours, and the elevation at that particular camp. At the end of the trip, I was going to crunch the numbers and try to figure out who it helped most, or if it did any.
Guess what the result was! Nobody remembered to do it at all! High altitude does that sometimes.
–B.G.–Aug 22, 2012 at 8:08 am #1904891
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Chrisopher, are you thinking about going over Lamarck? If so I am sure many of us can answer questions for youAug 22, 2012 at 8:56 am #1904902
Joshua BillingsBPL Member
@joshuaLocale: Santa Cruz,Ca
I just did this loop a few weeks ago. I would recommend starting at South lake so that you don't have to hike up and out of evolution valley and then up and over Bishop pass. Tom Harrison makes a map specifically for this loop. I did a trip report if you would like to check it out. I wouldn't even worry about catching a ride back to your car as long as you get to the trailhead and its not dark.(No one there). Have fun and take some photots for us.Aug 22, 2012 at 9:08 am #1904906
I'd love to see that trip report Joshua. I'll definitely consider starting at South lake then.
Is going over Lamark way more scenic than going through Piute canyon?Aug 22, 2012 at 9:23 am #1904912
Actually found your trip report. I saw that a few days back. Awesome pics.
Was there plenty of parking at South Lake? Any good places to camp near the south lake trailhead so I can acclimate?Aug 22, 2012 at 10:28 am #1904929
"Is going over Lamark way more scenic"
In my opinion, Lamarck Col is more awesome than beautiful. From 13,000 feet, you can see a long way. Go there some time around April.
If you go around July, the wildflowers will be out. This includes the area of Darwin Bench on the west side and also the area just above Lamarck Lakes on the east side.
If you want a more adventurous trip, go over Echo Col instead.
–B.G.–Aug 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm #1904981
What's more adventurous about Echo col? All class 2 stuff or harder?
Also, can anyone guess how bad the mosquito's will be in 3 to 4 weeks from now?Aug 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm #1904991
"What's more adventurous about Echo col? All class 2 stuff or harder?"
–B.G.–Aug 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm #1904998
Have to assume it's a pretty steep (really steep?) talus slog.
I must assume that all mosquitoes will be (or already are) dead and gone.
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