Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Questions and reports related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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jmherrell
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by jmherrell » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:52 am

I've been over Lamarck Col about 10 times over the years. The only time I found it difficult/intimidating was in August of one of the drought years in the early '90s with no ice gear. The snow was mostly gone and what remained was a sheet of hard ice. An ice axe with traction devices would have been much better.








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GGC23
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by GGC23 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:18 pm

As promised, here's a more up to date report on Lamarck Col. I crossed it on Thursday as part of the North Lake - South Lake loop. There is a massive boot pack on the final snow field that's so deep and well defined that it's like walking up a flight of stairs. Granted, the stairs have no handrail and if you slipped, you'd end up in a lake. But you'd have to work really, really hard to slip. The bootpack is super secure. As far as the rest of the trail is concerned, it's clear up to Lower Lamarck Lake. You then hit patchy snow to the upper lake, after which it's more or less continuous snow to the pass.

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Bishop_Bob
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by Bishop_Bob » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:26 am

GGC23, did you also transit the west side of the pass? If so, how was the pathfinding?

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GGC23
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by GGC23 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:49 am

The west side of the pass is snow free for about the first 1000 feet of the descent. Once you hit the lakes in Darwin Canyon, you're in patchy snow, and after the lakes, the coverage is 100% until about 500 feet above the PCT. There is zero bootpack or any signs of footprints through this snow, so you'll be navigating (and plowing through gigantic suncups) the whole way.

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Bishop_Bob
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by Bishop_Bob » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:57 am

I kinda expected to be navigating more on the west side of the Col anyway, based on other reports I've read about traveling between North Lake and Evolution. Thanks for the great intel!

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RedRider
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by RedRider » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:40 am

So glad I stubled across this thread! I too will be going solo over the col on August 8th . Subscribed.

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skierick
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by skierick » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:56 pm

Long time HST lurker, first post since I finally have intel someone needs. We did a loop from North Lake to South Lake late July 2017. None of us had ice axes or micro spikes, but there were a few major pucker up moments especially through Darwin lakes area. I wish I had them in places where a slip would result in a plunge into an ice cold lake with a long swim to get to a spot where I could get out. I don't think I could swim that far in ice cold water, so steps were taken with extra caution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvOYbBnEujM&t=649s Lamark Col 5:20 seconds.
Day Hike's TR viewtopic.php?f=1&t=16440
20170725_094616-smaller.jpg
20170725_093804-2.jpg
We are now planning the final details of a Florence Lake to Edison Lake loop via a section of the High Sierra Route July 27th. Should be a lot of snow, but it is melting quickly now.
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apatek
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by apatek » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:05 am

Thanks for the update, much appreciated. Did you have any difficulty navigating down Darwin Bench to get to the JMT?

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RedRider
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by RedRider » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:29 am

apatek wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:05 am
Thanks for the update, much appreciated. Did you have any difficulty navigating down Darwin Bench to get to the JMT?
Great question I'd be interested in as well. I hear the snow is melting fast, but that also means fast water.

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skierick
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Re: Lamarck Col in High Snow Year

Post by skierick » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:20 pm

In the video I believe Darwin Bench is around the 9 min mark. There was not a lot of flow. As I recall we walked across some granite with water flowing over it and I was nervous that it was going to be slick. There were a few places to cross in 2017. The snow was just soft enough to be able to get footing and not post hole.

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