My First High Sierra Peak
During our 2008 US holiday trip we made a stop at Bishop for some days to explore the beautiful surroundings. As I found out on SummitPost (!), the Lamarck Lakes Trail might be a good possibility to get some High Sierra impressions.
So on september 6th on a perfect morning we headed for the North Lake Day Hike Parking Area and followed the dust road to the North Lake campground. It was quite hot so we greeted the cool shades of the woods. After crossing Bishop creek we made it to Grass Lake trail junction and up to Lower Lamarck lake. The red flaming Piute Crags were standing out in a perfect blue sky, a great view.
I wondered how soon we arrived at Lower Lamarck Lake. What a beautiful scenery! After a short break we crossed the outlet of the lake and climbed the path beneath the creek coming down from Upper Lamarck lake. As we´ve been so fast I thought by myself: why not try Mount Lamarck ....?
So we left the Lamarck Lakes Trail for the crosscountry trail to Lamarck Col. The trail junction, though not marked, is easy enough to find: you have to leave the Lamarck Lakes Trail where it crosses the creek.
The Lamarck Col Trail crosses the slopes below Upper Lamarck Lake and zigzags up a prominent ridge southeast of Upper Lamarck Lake. At the top of the ridge we took another break. My friends decided to stop here. After a short meal I continued to Lamarck Col. There wasn´t much snow and ice left below the col so it was more of a scree and talus scramble to reach the col with its sign. The view of Mount Darwin and Mount Mendel is impressive.
I crossed the col on the southwest side and climbed up the granite ridge to the spacious summit plateau. The climbing was real fun, partly UIAA grade I or II (or less), depending on the chosen route. I wondered if I was on the proper summit because there was a little higher one to the north. But after some research work I found the register and signed it.
The views were spectacular though I did know only some of the peaks and summits you can see from Mount Lamarck. Cloudripper, Mount Agassiz and the Palisades to the south, Mount Emerson, Mount Tom and Mount Humphreys to the north. To the south there was the dusty smoke of wildfires.
After a short break and some power bars I decided to go down again. I chose the sandy scree and talus southeast slope directly from the summit plateau. It was much easier and quicker than climbing back to Lamarck Col. I ran down back to my friends who thought that I might have been in trouble and where worried about my whereabout. It took me 2 1/2 hours to climb the summit and meet them again (it felt like less than an hour for me).
Descending from the ridge we enjoyed the various views of the lakes and the surrounding peaks until we reached our car late in the afternoon.
It was a great day in the High Sierra and it is a great dayhike from Bishop.