Today's track and profile
The rising sun was bright orange due to the smoke in the air from the Big Meadow fire in Yosemite and Station Fire down in LA
We started off from camp along obvious trail. The trail continues almost all the way to the Col, passing through some interesting terrain along the way.
Heading up switchbacks
View towards the Piute Crags a few ridges over
Stopping for a water and food break after the first set of switchbacks. Upper Lamarck Lake is far below us now.
Piute Crags and the two Lamarck Lakes
See the trail cutting along the hillside? Cool.
David working his way up a steep stretch.
After the swtichbacks the terrain opens up a bit but it's still a climb to the pass. This is looking back on the trail below.
Up up up. Lamarck Col is at 12880 feet, about a 2000 foot climb from camp.
Blue columbine - I've never seen this in the sierra before - it's so pretty!
The first snow patch we encountered - didn't have to cross this one, it's next to the trail.
We're about even with the Piute Crags now.
Still going up - no Col in sight yet.
A few more snow patches in sight, but it's mainly a slog through gravel.
Deep snow cups and pink algae next to the trail
And finally the Col is in sight. There are lots of tracks through the snow but they don't go to the Col. Don't know why they are there - you don't have to walk through any of it. The col is just to the left of the big snowfield, and we'll just have to cross that dirty patch on the left.
After some boulder hopping and crossing about 10 feet of snow we're halfway up, looking across the melting glacier.
Just below the Col
Pavla crosses the short icy stretch
Right below the Col a trail emerges again. Note the small pond below us - one of the few sources of water way up here, unless you want to melt snow.
Looking back towards where we came from. Clouds are building now - I'm glad we're getting over the Col before any storms start.
Sign at the Col. This trail is not on any official maps, and I'm not sure when it was last maintained, but it's good enough for an official sign! Mount Darwin in the distance.
Heading down into Darwin Canyon from the Col, things start off easy with a few ducks and an obvious trail.
But the trail is quickly swallowed up by the steep boulder-strewn slope. It's best to stay to the right and stick to gravel or you'll find yourself doing a lot of boulder hopping. Sorry, a lot MORE boulder hopping.
See. Boulders. And Pavla, if you can find her.
Mount Mendel. The glacier straight ahead is where the bodies of two WWII airmen, who died in a training flight in 1942, were found in 2005 and 2007.
Darwin Lakes/Darwin Canyon. And boulders.
The end of Darwin Canyon and Mount Darwin
Most of the time the color of the water and rocks was grey due to the clouds, but every once in a while the sun would poke out and turn the lakes into stunning shades of blue and green, and bring out the reds in the rock. So pretty!
Sun on the upper lake - shade on the other lakes. You can really see the difference in color.
Find Pavla! This is where we lost the gravel and did some serious boulder hopping. Wheeeee.
Finally down at the shore of the lake. Took a break and refilled our water. It's only 1000 feet down from the Col but it took a while.
Now the peaks are towering over us.
When the sun comes out the colors pop.
And fade when the clouds reappear
Darwin Lakes. There are occasional stretches of us trail along the shores of the lakes, but it's a lot of routefinding through boulder piles too. Time consuming and tiring, but still fun!
Sun! And another boulder field to negotiate.