On Sunday morning Sooz and I headed up to the Saddlebag Lake trailhead. Although we want to climb North Peak, our late start and the unusual flat grey sky (with later forecast of thunderstorms) meant we decided to take it easy and just investigate the approach via Conness lakes. I've always wanted to hike into the Conness Lakes basin since spying them from the summit of Mt Conness a couple of years ago. Photo
Our first of many marmot sightings, this one appeared to live among the Saddlebag Dam renovation construction equipment.
Water was low but presumably drained for the work on the dam. The resort was very quiet and empty.
Shepherd Crest in the distance.
View across Saddlebag towards Dore Pass/Plateau. One of these days I want to go wander around up there.
Once in 20 Lakes basin we fork off to the west along Greenstone Lake. North Peak now dominates the view.
Along Greenstone Lake
North Peak. At this point I'm thinking that maybe we might be able to do it. But I'm not pushing for it, and instead decide to just take my time and enjoy the day.
There are about 5 marmots on the rock in front of me.
Crossing the Greenstone Lake inlet by rock hopping. It really shouldn't be this easy in June.
The fattest, fuzziest, waddliest marmot in the sierra.
Another. We stumbled into Marmotville, population 1000000 (approximately).
As you wander up towards Conness Lakes you are treated to some beautiful sights.
Waterfall out of Conness Lakes, with North Peak above.
The use trail wanders through the granite slabs to the right of the waterfalls.
Yup, another marmot.
This guy seemed to think that flattening out made him invisible.
Up next to the waterfall.
Looking back again. Saddlebag Lake visible in the distance. The flat grey skies are starting to turn into something but nothing ominous yet.
Mt Conness appears (one of my favorite peaks).
Our first snow crossing. Yay!
Above the waterfalls we are in Conness Lakes basin. It's windier and colder up here - it feels like winter is still trying to hang on a little longer.
At the lowest of the Conness lakes.
This is a gorgeous turquoise lake that sits below Mt Conness and the conness glacier. We decide to walk the right (north) shore to get to the upper lake beyond the snow fields.
Working our way over a rock outcropping, we stop to enjoy this view.
It's pretty much perfect up here.
Looking across to Mt Conness and its glaciers.
Hm, the clouds haven't been changing in their typical rapid sierra fashion, but I almost wish they were. At least that is predictable. The weirdness of this system made me uncomfortable but nothing was threatening yet.
Sneaux! We crossed a few fields on our way to the upper lake.
Marmot momma and some babies were living in this rock.
At the upper lake we found some lingering snow and ice.
There were two groups up there, one ascending (in the green stuff on the right) and one descending (near the small patches of snow left of middle). We watched them until they met - it clued us in quite well as to the route up North Peak.
Can you see the teeny people? I think there are at least 7 people in this photo.