TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar
druid
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:50 pm
Experience: N/A

TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

Post by druid » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:20 pm

My son and I just completed the North Lake to South Lake horseshoe by way of Lamarck Col. We started with an easy day to Upper Lamarck Lake in order to get better acclimated and to break up the 3500 foot climb into something a bit easier for us to manage. The use trail on the way up from Lamarck Lakes was in good shape and easy to follow.
DSC00060.JPG
I had been a bit concerned about the condition of the snowfield just below the Col, but the midday snow was soft and it turned out to be a complete "nothingburger" (to use the nom nom du jour).
DSC00066.JPG
Even the two eastbound parties we saw that came over too far NW and had five times more snow to descend than necessary didn't appear to have much difficulty with the snowfield in the end.

The talus down to and around the Darwin Lakes presented us a bit more of a challenge, however. In fact, just as we were descending to the second lake, we were overtaken by two park service employees on their way to McClure Meadow that informed us that someone had recently set off a PLB in the area. Almost simultaneously a CHP helicopter flew up the canyon and began circling. The park service employees (not sure if they were rangers or not) quickly located the injured solo hiker and radioed the helicopter and within a few minutes it landed in just about the only relatively flat spot nearby.
DSC00084.JPG
We continued on down the canyon and a short time later saw the helicopter on its way again.
DSC00092.JPG

A bit later the park service employees overtook us a second time and said that they had successfully assisted the injured party, who was apparently in quite a bit of pain, down the talus and into the chopper. A thousand thanks to the pilots and park service employees and all those who provide this incredibly valuable service.

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful, although my son did have his first experience of the effect that "monsoonal flow" can have in the mountains. For each of the next three days we had late afternoon rain or hail with gusty winds. One of the support poles of my Big Agnes tent failed, but fortunately we had what we needed to do an emergency repair that held up for the rest of the trip.

There are still tons of people on both the JMT and on the Bishop Pass trail, but the area is so beautiful that we didn't mind much. A few more pics:

A lake called Wanda
DSC00150.JPG
Still lots of water (just below Starrs camp on the JMT)
DSC00174.JPG
Knocked down trees a bit lower on the Middle Fork of the Kings. From an avalanche this year?
DSC00181.JPG
Camp in Dusy Basin
DSC00241.JPG
Long Lake
DSC00259.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
robo
Topix Novice
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:36 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Re: TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

Post by robo » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:05 pm

Great report and photos! Glad the hiker got some help. Every solo packer's worst nightmare.

User avatar
rodfrogfarkler
Topix Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:00 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

Post by rodfrogfarkler » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:38 pm

Thanks for the report. Hoping to go over Lamarck Col around the end of September...

User avatar
stephena
Topix Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:12 am
Experience: N/A

Re: TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

Post by stephena » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:49 pm

Druid Hi,
Tx for the update as I am walking this with my son next week..from what you write going up from the lakes to the col seemed quite ok..we are doing it from the JMT down..is the trail after the snow field or before in your case easy to follow..and roughly what was the time from North Lake to the JMT.
Tx for your time,

User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 10122
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

Post by maverick » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:58 pm

What days were you in Dusy, some us were staying towards the eastern end of Lake 11388 (/6-9/10)? From your photo, it looks like you were west of us, near the smaller lakes, we saw 2 tents near that locations.
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, an HST member: http://reconn.org

User avatar
druid
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:50 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

Post by druid » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:23 pm

stephena wrote:Druid Hi,
Tx for the update as I am walking this with my son next week..from what you write going up from the lakes to the col seemed quite ok..we are doing it from the JMT down..is the trail after the snow field or before in your case easy to follow..and roughly what was the time from North Lake to the JMT.
Tx for your time,
The use trail was easy for us to follow all of the way from Lamarck Lakes to the Col. I've read that people sometimes make mistakes going in the other direction, however, e.g. http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... hp?t=16720. Finding the col on the ascent going eastbound from Darwin Canyon is reportedly a bit tricky as well. Two eastbound parties ended up at the wrong place on the ridge while we were at the snowfield.

We were in no hurry to get from North Lake to the JMT, but FWIW as I recall it took us roughly two and a half hours to get to Upper Lamarck Lakes, followed by perhaps another two and a half to get to the top the next morning. In the afternoon it took us maybe three hours to get to the last lake in Darwin Canyon, including stops to eat, take on and off rain gear and watch the helicopter. The route around the lakes is slow going in places because there is a fair amount of unavoidable talus. The following morning the final descent to the JMT took us perhaps an hour and a half.

User avatar
druid
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:50 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

Post by druid » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:36 pm

maverick wrote:What days were you in Dusy, some us were staying towards the eastern end of Lake 11388 (/6-9/10)? From your photo, it looks like you were west of us, near the smaller lakes, we saw 2 tents near that locations.
We were in Dusy on the 9th. I saw your post before we left and was considering heading out to Lake 11388 to try to meet up but when it started to hail that afternoon we decided to hunker down instead at a tarn not far from the trail, roughly here https://mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php? ... &z=15&t=t4, I believe.

User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 10122
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

Post by maverick » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:45 pm

Yeah, the weather was a little wild, to say the least, though Saturday evening it opened up before sunset, we were just south of your position, taking photographs. It was windy all night (Sat), quite cold, we got an earlier start than planned, when we saw the pass area clouding up at 7:30 am, luckily it broke up a bit as we reached the pass.
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, an HST member: http://reconn.org

User avatar
stephena
Topix Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:12 am
Experience: N/A

Re: TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

Post by stephena » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:01 pm

Tx for the response.

User avatar
DAVELA
Topix Regular
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:23 am
Experience: N/A
Location: los angeles

Re: TR: North Lake -> South Lake Sep 5-10

Post by DAVELA » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:36 pm

Nice pics.
http://www.suwa.org/protect-greater-canyonlands" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: cslaght, swimmer and 7 guests