Advice for a South Lake to North Lake trip plan

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agilejon
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Advice for a South Lake to North Lake trip plan

Post by agilejon » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:39 pm

Hello all,

A buddy and I are planning a trip from South Lake to North Lake via Lamarck Col from Sept 17-22 (same as this http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... c2f23e96e5, just opposite direction) and could use some advice. The most recent NPS trail conditions for Lamarck Col says
8/17 - There is a lot of snow on the east side of Lamarck Col, ice ax and crampons are required. The route going down to the lakes is extremely rugged. Only hikers with mountaineering experience and in very good physical condition can traverse this pass.
We are both 'level 3' backpackers: lots of backpacking experience with some cross-country/bushwacking. We're just a bit nervous about those conditions, but it looks like the only part that will give us any trouble. We weren't planning to bring crampons or ice axes. I'm super excited about this route though, hoping with another month of daylight temps and sun the snow will be more melted. And was thinking if we descend the snowfield mid-day it'll be nice and soft. A pipe dream? Any advice is much appreciated.

I'm new to this site, and this isn't a Sierra trip, but wanted to share some pics from our Trinity Alps trip a few years ago: https://plus.google.com/photos/11199746 ... 8234547697

Thanks,
Jon








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cgundersen
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Re: Advice for a South Lake to North Lake trip plan

Post by cgundersen » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:40 am

Hi Jon,
Having descended Lamarck col with my wife back in June with nothing more than La Sportiva boots, I'm guessing you'll be more than OK. There have been gobs of reports of other folks doing that route in the intervening weeks and as long as you do not aim to ascend the col when it's still frozen (wait till at least 10 am), you'll be fine. The rangers tend to err on the side of caution (to spare SAR from unnecessary effort), so with your experience level, don't sweat it.
Cameron

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maverick
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Re: Advice for a South Lake to North Lake trip plan

Post by maverick » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:38 am

Hi Jon,

Welcome to HST!
As CG wrote, you should have not major issues with Lamarck Col, just take the necessary precautions he out-lined.
Please come back and write us up a TR. :nod:
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Advice for a South Lake to North Lake trip plan

Post by SSSdave » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:06 pm

The real problems at Lamarck Col should not occur this summer because last winter's snowpack is likely to still be covering the rock hard glacial ice underneath. When that ice covers part of the route up from the pond, it can be dangerous even if just a few feet because one can readily end up speeding all the way to rocks at the bottom. To climb up in rocks around that ice is at least Class 3. I tried that once with my pack but backed down.

In August 1991 3 of us late morning were on our way east after spending a week in Evolution areas and there were a few dozen people from several groups stuck at the top hoping it might soften up by afternoon. There was a short steep section of about 15 feet to cross in order to reach a suncup field one might then use to climb down to the bottom. I picked up a rather heavy rock with a sharp edge and spent about a half hour pounding steps into the ice. Rather exposed doing so once one is out a ways. All 3 of us went across and after going several hundred yards down that valley, we noticed others had then followed. Here is an old story I've probably told on this board before...Backcountry Justice Served

Someone in one of the groups camped near us in Darwin Canyon had asked us about the route down to Upper Lamarck Lake. We did not tell them. It was a non-official boy scout group with several dads. Except they had abysmal backcountry behavior. I caught a group of boys cleaning pots and utensils in one of the most beautiful stream areas below a waterfall between a couple of lakes. Very oily pans with lots of bacon grease and food particles. A spot golden trout spawn up in. When I tried to explain that was inappropriate, a couple of the dads came over and began laughing and cussing at me.

So we noticed their large group was the first one following us. Their lead person was obviously trying to see where we would be going. The crux is down at 11950 where one must turn out of a ravine to a whitebark pine covered slope at the Lamarck canyon rim that then drops over the other side down steep switchbacks and then over to Upper Lamarck. We rambled down fast remaining far enough ahead to make sure at the critical point we would be far enough ahead to be able to hide so they could not see us and would pass us by. Thus did so and quickly hid behind some whitebarks maybe 100 yards off from the ravine that at that point also has flowing water and a small meadow. Below the meadow the ravine continues down about 1000 feet vertically mostly through increasingly unpleasant talus before reaching areas above Grassy Lake.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.20603,-118.64689&z=15&t=T

Well indeed the lead group reached the meadow, could not see us, and stopped waiting for the rest. Per our plan they expected we had gone down the ravine where at least at the top does not look that bad haha. After their whole group that was more than 15 people arrived they began going down the ravine. We waited until they were at least 200 feet vertical below and then came out in the open. And yeah then WE were the one's laughing. They of course saw us and just glared up. I'd bet they did not climb back up but rather continued down, a decision sure to pi$$ them off even more. Justice served!

David

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Re: Advice for a South Lake to North Lake trip plan

Post by cgundersen » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:13 pm

Dave,
That descent to Grass Lake sucks with a capital S, and the only reason my wife & I "survived" it in June is that there is an old use trail that we stumbled across (the snow was still so high by the Lamarck Lakes, we gave up trying to find the trail). I'm guessing the miscreants you led astray were not so lucky. Good riddance, as they say. But, this is not an issue that Jon should encounter.
Cameron

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Re: Advice for a South Lake to North Lake trip plan

Post by hiac » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:43 am

David's story double confirm that practice in wilderness that one need to be respectful, to others or to nature.

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