Photos above summit pinnacle of Mt. Darwin, 8/26/79

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South Lake to North Lake, August 19 - 27, 1979

Our trip this year was focused on climbing mountains and travel off trail (cross country). The first cross country segment began at Muir Pass, into the Ionian Basin, to climb Scylla then Mt. Goddard. Our routes up these mountains were class two. Both have long-ranging views of the Sierra Nevada. After our climb of Goddard, our cross country route skirted the west and north sides of Goddard, returning to the John Muir Trail just north of Wanda Lake. Then to our base camp above Evolution Lake for climb of Mt. Darwin (class 3). Here is the description in Steve Roper's The Climber's Guide to the High Sierra.

Darwin, the giant of the Evolution country, has no walk-up route and has thus attracted the attention of many Sierra mountaineers. John Muir probably climbed the peak in 1873, but the first ascent is credited to others in 1908. The large summit plateau is a classic reminder of what the Sierra was like before the great uplifts and extensive glaciation. Curiously, a small pinnacle detached from the southeast side of the plateau is the highest point, though many who have come this far do not attempt it because of its considerable exposure. A short chimney on the northern side of the pinnacle provides a class 3 route.

Route 1. West Side. Class 3. Leave the John Muir Trail near the south end of Evolution Lake and ascend broad avalanche chutes or gullies to a ridge just northwest of the summit plateau. There are many variations possible on this route, especially on the lower section, where chutes may be followed, crossed, alternated, or climbed directly. Higher, the route angles generally to the right. All in all, the climb is a classic exercise in routefinding.

Of the eleven mountains I have climbed in the High Sierra, I would have to say that Mt. Darwin was the most enjoyable climb. Our class 3 route provided the challenge of routefinding without the exposure of higher classes. Our climb of Mt. Clarence King two years later was more difficult, but the routefinding is only interesting near the summit.

The first set of slides are in color. In the upper end of Le Conte Canyon I switched to black and white film. The remainder of the photographs are black and white. My rationale for this film change was to photograph this area above timberline in a medium that highlights the contrast of shadow and light, painting the rocky landscape in a form that I felt might be interesting.

Each web page containing a slide is coded for an overlay that contains navigation links. When the mouse cursor is moved over the slide, the links will appear. To view the slide, position the mouse cursor off the slide. The navigation links include forward (next slide) and back (previous side) links. In addition, there is a link back to this page and a link to the topographic map appropriate for the location. The topographic maps open in a separate browser tab. The topographic maps are labeled with the locations for each photograph.

You may wish to start by looking at a topographic map that covers the entire trip. This opens in a separate browser tab and does not include any navigation links to other pages. Then if you wish to follow trip from start to finish, then use the link for the first slide.

Master Map for Trip

OPEN MAP This large scale map will open in a new tab in your browser. Our route is marked with a red line. More detailed maps are available for each slide.

Aug. 19 over Bishop Pass to Dusy Basin

South Lake, near the trail head of Bishop Pass Trail
Meadow near South Lake, Bishop Pass Trail
Hurd Lake
Hurd Lake
Hurd Lake
Bishop Pass Trail, below Long Lake, Chocolate Peak on right
Bishop Pass Trail, approaching north end of Long Lake
North end of Long Lake
Long Lake
Long Lake
Long Lake
south end Long Lake
Timberline Tarns
View just below top of Bishop Pass (north side)
Dusy Basin
Dusy Basin
Dusy Basin

Aug. 20 to a camp in Le Conte Canyon

Dusy Basin
Dusy Basin
descending into Le Conte Canyon
descending into Le Conte Canyon
Le Conte Canyon
Le Conte Canyon
Le Conte Canyon
Le Conte Canyon - start of black and white photos

Aug. 21 to Muir Pass then cross country to lake north of Scylla in Ionian Basin

just below Helen Lake
just below Helen Lake
Helen Lake
Muir Pass and Muir hut
Lake McDermand (foreground) and Wanda Lake, view from Muir Pass
Ionian Basin from pass between Mt. Solomons and the Goddard Divide

Aug. 22 -- rest day - move short distance to base of Scylla.

Scylla and the Three Sirens
Charybdis
Scylla
The Three Sirens
Scylla

Aug. 23 climb Scylla

Charybdis and Black Giant
Looking south on climb of Scylla
Gerald, Jeff and Mark La Favre, summit of Scylla
View east from summit of Scylla
Enchanted Gorge, view from summit of Scylla
view from summit of Scylla
Mt. Goddard, view from summit of Scylla
Scylla, view from lake 11,818'
View southeast from lake 11,818', Ionian Basin
View southeast from lake 11,818', Ionian Basin
Lake ca. 12,240', Ionian Basin
Mt. Goddard base camp at lake

Aug. 24 climb Mt. Goddard

North summit of Mt. Goddard
Jeff, Gerald and Mark La Favre, summit of Mt. Goddard
View southeast from summit of Mt. Goddard
View south southeast from summit of Mt. Goddard
View south southeast from summit of Mt. Goddard
View of the Palisades in background, view from summit of Mt. Goddard
South summit of Mt. Goddard, view from north summit
View northeast from Mt. Goddard summit
View northeast from summit of Mt. Goddard
View northeast from summit of Mt. Goddard
Gerald La Favre, standing just north of the north summit of Mt. Goddard
climbing down from south summit of Mt. Goddard
Gerald La Favre, standing just to the north of the north summit of Mt. Goddard
Northwest face of Mt. Goddard

Aug. 25 return to Muir Trail, then to lake southwest of Mt. Darwin

View of Mt. Darwin from pass south of Davis Lake
Mt. Goddard, view from lake southeast of Davis Lake
return to John Muir Trail just north of Wanda Lake
Mt. Huxley, view from Evolution Creek

Aug. 26 climb Mt. Darwin

Route of climb of Mt. Darwin
View west on climb of Mt. Darwin
Evolution Valley as seen during climb of Mt. Darwin
Evolution Valley as seen during climb of Mt. Darwin
top of West face of Mt. Darwin see during climb
View north from Mt. Darwin, Lamarck Col below
View northwest accross the summit plateau of Mt. Darwin
View south from summit of Mt. Darwin
Summit pinnacle of Mt. Darwin
View of Palisades on horizon from summit of Mt. Darwin
View southeast from summit of Mt. Darwin
Mt. Mendel, just starting on descent from summit of Mt. Darwin
West face of Mt. Darwin, on decent

Aug. 27 up through Darwin Canyon, over Lamarck Col and descend to North Lake

Evolution Lake and Mt. Spencer
Creek draining Darwin Canyon
Mt. Darwin, view from Lamark Col
Peak northeast of Mt. Lamarck
Peak 12,396, decending northeast from Lamark Col
Ridge north of Granite Lake, descending from Lamark Col
Last photo of the trip

 

last update May 23, 2020