20091104 - A month ago Jason and Chad grabbed at the chance to take a vacation, called up Sierra Mountain Center, and said to Connie, "We have two days off and no experience. Can we climb something?" Coincidentally, I'd always wanted to check out Mt. Lamarck, a peak I passed in June while hiking into the Evolution Range. So when Connie called me, I said, "Sure!!" and met the guys at the office at a reasonable 8:00am, where we split up the group gear and food.
Chad drove us up to North Lake to begin the hike to Lamarck Col, where I planned on us camping. The hike up the trail went by quickly until Upper Lamarck Lake, where we started to encounter +12" of snow with a punchy, breakable crust. That snow persisted up the moraine too, forcing us to climb harder, but bare, talus to the left of the buried cross-country trail.
We finally gained the upper basins and started heading for the Col, but the altitude started to slow us down and at 4:30 we were still 200' and 45 minutes to go. The wind had also picked up significantly and we were all getting cold, so I decided to set up camp right there.
We woke up at 6:00am and were gone by 7:00 for the summit. 30 minutes of easy walking (now that we weren't carrying yesterday's packs), led us to the tarn under Lamarck Col. Turns out we didn't need the crampons, and ice axes after all! We turned right to scramble up the southeast slopes until we reached its highest point. Just 20' away was the summit! We found the register, signed in, took some victory photos, and then started to head back down.
More photos - and captions - are on my Picasa account. Mt. Lamarck via its Southeast Slopes has become my official favorite 2nd class route. A list of my favorite climbs is here.
All photos in this trip report are courtesy of Jason and used with permission.
Statistics: Mt. Lamarck (13,450'), via the SE Slopes, 2nd class, 2 days. Day one - trail and cross country; 4 miles, +2920'. Day two - cross country, 2nd class to summit, trail; 6 miles, +1200', - 4100'.