Betsy and I spent five days backpacking and climbing in the Sierra in June 2015. We did a big clockwise loop that took us through the Evolution Basin where many peaks are named after famous scientists who did pioneering work in evolution and genetics. We climbed three mountains, packed over three passes (one without a trail), got snowed on the last two days, and did not see another person from the time we left the trailhead until just before we returned.
My blog of our wilderness adventure follows.
Day 1: Monday, June 1. Betsy is at North Lake for the start of our wilderness adventure. Betsy packs above Lower Lamarck Lake. North Lake, where we started, is the second lake far below to the northeast. Owens Valley and the White Mountains are in the distance. The trail is steep as we approach camp. I am still clean and wearing shorts just below camp.
Day 2: Tuesday, June2. We pack up to Lamarck Col on snow. This is the view of Mt Lamarck north of the col. Betsy is on top of Mt Lamarck at 13,417 ft with the slightly higher Peak 13,464 in back to the northwest. We climbed both. Mts Wallace and Haeckel are prominent to the south. We made their first ascents of the year in 2013 when there was less snow. Mts Darwin and Mendel are closer and even more prominent to the south. We decided that there was too much snow for us to climb them. This is Darwin Canyon to the west of Lamarck Col. This curious marmot came close as we made our camp in Darwin Canyon.
Day 3: Wednesday, June 3. Betsy packs through Darwin Canyon. The canyon opens up to this view to the west of Darwin Bench. We pack north toward our camp at the far end of the frozen lake. Mt Goethe, our afternoon climbing objective, is the rounded peak on the left. We leave our packs at camp and climb Mt Goethe to the west. Betsy follows me up the summit ridge. Betsy finds the summit register. We make the first ascent of the year! Betsy poses on the summit of Mt Goethe at 13,264 ft. Our camp is at the isthmus between the two lakes below. We get back to camp at 8:45 pm.
Day 4: Thursday, June 4. We leave camp and pack north over the trail-less Alpine Col. This is the view south from the col. Our camp the night before was at the far end of the lake. This is the view north from the Col. We need to go down to Goethe Lake below where we will camp. Packing down the huge talus blocks is tedious. A few snowflakes begin to fall to add to the drama. Betsy tries the snow instead and postholes, so that is just as bad. Eventually we make it to our camp at Goethe Lake after a hard day. New snow is coming.
Day 5: Friday, June 5. We awake to a sunny day after an inch of snow overnight. We still have more talus to traverse to the left of the lake. Betsy packs out past the last of the talus as snow starts to fall again. Mt Goethe is to the left of center. Mt Humphreys, Checkered Demon, and Mt Emerson are the three prominent peaks north of Muriel Lake. A good trail begins on the other side of the lake. Betsy reaches Paiute Pass and the junction with the trail out. It is snowing again with occasional lightning and thunder! I head down through the last of the snowflakes.
Thankfully the lightning in the clouds overhead ends. I touch our car back at North Lake to officially end our wilderness adventure 🙂