Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

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
audiorecordist
Topix Novice
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:04 am
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

Post by audiorecordist » Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:57 pm

Hello hiking community,

I am seeking advice for my wife and I to hike for 5 nights, to explore the Evolution Valley, base camp around McClure Meadow, and explore the area via day hikes. We are leaving this Saturday July 25, so very soon. Our original plan was to drive from the Bay Area to Florence Lake, set out to Evolution for 5 nights. The only issue is, we have another week of camping post our Evolution trip and we wanted to spend it exploring the Eastern Sierra. That would mean, we'd literally have to drive around after we return from our 5 night excursion. It just occurred to me that this trip can also be done from Lake Sabrina (North Lake), either via Puite Pass or Col Lamarck.

So my ultimate question is:
Should I replan to start from the east and do the loop, or stick with my original plan, and depart from Florence Lake? If I start from Florence Lake, naturally we'd have to drive all the way around to explore the Eastern Sierra, at least a 12 hour drive if not more, depending on which pass we take, and I think 120 is closed to through traffic. If I start from the east, then we will begin our road trip of the Eastern Sierra in the perfect spot.

My concerns:
How strenuous is the hike from North Lake Campground to Evolution Valley via Piute Pass? How strenuous is the hike from North Lake Campground to Evolution Valley via Lamarck Col? The route from North Lake via Lamarck Col does look intimidating, due to the terrain and altitude. Is the trail marked? I am thinking, since we have enough time, we could simply take Piute Pass route there and back. Would 5 nights be enough time for Piute Pass there and back, or should we attempt to do the loop? How much time does this take for slow pokes? I should mention that we are in our 40's, in decent shape, but we are not into speed backpacking. We really like to go at a medium pace, usually no more than 10 miles per day.

Any considerations that you have for us?
It seems that the Florence Lake trail is shorter and easier than the North Lake trail, but since we essentially have 6 days, we should have enough to do either route with enough time for exploring. What do you think? :-k

_____________________________


What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 2- Some backpacking trips, using trails


What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 1 terrain/trail hiking
- River crossings


What is your main interest?
- Lakes
- Forests
- Big Mountain scenery
- Photography



How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
up to 5 nights

How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?
prefer 8 miles - 10 miles, but we can do 12 -14 miles in a day if necessary

Have you hiked at elevation before? Any prior issues with Altitude Sickness?
Let’s just say that I need to be careful and pay attention, as long as I do, I am usually okay. I have become sick on a trip to Tamarack Lakes, just off the High Sierra Trail. Other than that, I am usually ok. Sometimes I feel a little shitty, but if I drink enough water and sleep well, I am usually okay.



Have you hiked in the Sierra Nevada before, if yes, where? Please list a few of your more difficult hikes, so we can then recommend routes based on your experience level.
I have hiked from Tuolumne to the Valley, High Sierra trail all the way to Sky Parlor Meadow, 5 lakes around Sawtooth trip, Tuolumne to 1,000 Island Lakes & back, Desolation Wilderness, Aloha Lake.

Will you be hiking with a dog?
No
Last edited by audiorecordist on Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.








User avatar
grampy
Topix Regular
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 10:45 am
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker
Location: Redondo Beach

Re: Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

Post by grampy » Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:01 pm

Short answer is: it depends.

Can you get a Permit for Piute Pass ? Recreation.gov shows (1) slot available for July 24, then nothing open for the next two weeks. Inyo NF isn’t doing walk-in permits.

Also depends a bit on “where” you’re going in the eastern Sierra; Lone Pine -via Tehachapi Pass- is a seven-ish hour drive (with no stops) from Florence; seems do-able if you don’t absolutely hate long drives. Bishop is about 8 - 8.5 hours by either Tehachapi OR Sonora Passes. So maybe trade the extra driving, versus any extra effort with a east/side (Piute) entry.

If you CAN get a Piute permit - lets say you’re going to Wanda Lake, just to pick a specific point - will add (compared to a Florence entry) about 8 miles (one way) AND add roughly +1500’ / -3500’ elevation gain/loss, per my calculations. Flip those numbers around for your exit, and you have an extra 3500’ gain to get back to North Lake ... anyone please feel free to correct me - my numbers were arrived at while sipping a margarita on my front lawn.

User avatar
audiorecordist
Topix Novice
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:04 am
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

Post by audiorecordist » Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:07 pm

(grampy) Thanks for your input:

-Can you get a Permit for Piute Pass?

Good and important question. I was not aware that Inyo is not granting walk-in permits. Is that certain? I might try to call them, if that's even possible to call these days. I know it could be tricky to get a hold of a permit. I'll try. If you know something I don't, I appreciate any further input regarding permits.

-Also depends a bit on “where” you’re going in the eastern Sierra:
To answer that, mostly interested in explore the area between Bishop and Lee Vining.

-lets say you’re going to Wanda Lake:
Actually, no, no Wanda Lake, we are thinking only the loop from North Lake Campground, via Lamarcl Col, then Evolution, then Piute Pass.

User avatar
grampy
Topix Regular
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 10:45 am
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker
Location: Redondo Beach

Re: Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

Post by grampy » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:11 pm

Inyo is indeed NOT issuing walk-in permits, in the traditional sense (i.e. from a desk, in a Visitor Center that is actually open). They are releasing the trail quota slots (that are allocated to walk-ins in a “normal” year), but doing it at a time that’s 14 days prior to the relevant “entry” dates - placing them on the Recreation.gov site , same as the normally “reservable” ones. The process for getting these has been pretty well explained in other threads.

Also, see THIS:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/pas ... rdb5144746

User avatar
druid
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:50 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

Post by druid » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:46 pm

audiorecordist wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:57 pm
How strenuous is the hike from North Lake Campground to Evolution Valley via Lamarck Col? The route from North Lake via Lamarck Col does look intimidating, due to the terrain and altitude. Is the trail marked?
The use trail from Upper Lamarck Lake to the col is unmarked but is not that hard to follow. West of the col the trail gradually disappears. Getting around the first two lakes in Darwin Canyon requires using your hands in places to clamber over large blocks of talus. It's impossible to get lost as the lakes are always close by, but for a stretch there is effectively no trail whatsoever. As you approach Darwin Bench the use trail becomes apparent again and the walking gets easier.
audiorecordist wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:57 pm
What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 2- Some backpacking trips, using trails

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 1 terrain/trail hiking
- River crossings
The route through Darwin Canyon is more difficult than your above description of what you say you're comfortable with.

User avatar
audiorecordist
Topix Novice
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:04 am
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

Post by audiorecordist » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:08 pm

(grampy) thanks again for informing me about the Inyo walk-in system for this season. Yes, a few weeks ago I believe I do remember reading about that, some others have been asking some of the same questions regarding first come at Inyo. I appreciate the reminder. I could be SOL about departing from the Lamarck and Bishop Pass as they are both filled during my time. Perhaps sticking with Florence is my best option in the moment. I still am glad I opened this discussion so that I can learn more about this alternate route from the eastern side, it seems like a cool trail.

User avatar
audiorecordist
Topix Novice
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:04 am
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

Post by audiorecordist » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:14 pm

(druid) Thanks for your input.

- The route through Darwin Canyon is more difficult than your above description of what you say you're comfortable with.

Yeah, perhaps you are right. I’ve done some cross country during day hikes, but never with my pack. Although I think I would handle it okay, but not sure want to test my skills over a 13,000” pass for my first time, and with my wife. I have a very good sense of direction and my Gaia gps is pretty handy, but perhaps we may not be comfortable with it quite yet. If I met someone along the trail who would allow us to tag along, just to get over the pass and to Darwin Bench, that would be ideal.

User avatar
druid
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:50 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

Post by druid » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:58 pm

audiorecordist wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:14 pm
(druid) Thanks for your input.

- The route through Darwin Canyon is more difficult than your above description of what you say you're comfortable with.

Yeah, perhaps you are right. I’ve done some cross country during day hikes, but never with my pack. Although I think I would handle it okay, but not sure want to test my skills over a 13,000” pass for my first time, and with my wife. I have a very good sense of direction and my Gaia gps is pretty handy, but perhaps we may not be comfortable with it quite yet. If I met someone along the trail who would allow us to tag along, just to get over the pass and to Darwin Bench, that would be ideal.
I just stumbled across a CHP video of a rescue we witnessed in Darwin Canyon three years ago. It should give you an idea of the terrain there.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ7Dxkf ... e=youtu.be

User avatar
Satchel Buddah
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:23 pm
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

Post by Satchel Buddah » Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:49 am

I had a similar goal (exploring evolution basin, that I have not seen yet.) My plan was to go from bishop pass to lanark lakes either nobo or sobo, but that means missing out on the valley further north. Is that a wise choice for a first peek at evolution basin ?

User avatar
John Doe
Topix Novice
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:51 am
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker
Location: Cambria, CA

Re: Evolution Valley from Florence or from Lake Sabrina?

Post by John Doe » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:29 am

I just did this & going in via Florence was not that bad. After looking at the peaks around Piute, Evolution, IMHO it would have been more challenging as the in from Florence is relatively flat.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: fish4gold, mckee80, RSC, Sierra00 and 10 guests