I just returned from a short trek through the Evolution Range in the California Sierra Nevada. It’s a ruggedly beautiful landscape, and all the peaks are named for famous evolutionary biologists (Lamarck, Darwin, Mendel, Haeckel). You can view my Flickr media here.
I think “evolution” is the theme of my 2009 summer, given my recent participation at the Evolution conference, my upcoming participation at Burning Man (the 2009 theme is “evolution”), and this recent wilderness trek in the Evolution Range.
Obscure notes for the future:
- This year, patchy snow remained as low as 11,000 feet. The switchbacks above Upper Lamarck Lake were snow-free, but the terraced plateau to Lamarck Col was mostly buried.
- In the midday sun, the snow over Lamarck Col was slushy and we did not need an ice axe. I suspect a morning climb (when the snow is icy) would be dangerous without axe and crampons.
- The cross-country route through Darwin’s Canyon is straightforward, but the boulder-climbing can be exhausting.
- There exist many excellent campsites below Darwin’s Bench before Colby Meadow.
- This year, the mosquitos were active in Evolution Meadow, but they weren’t insufferable. Given the cold temperatures and auspicious lack of wilderflower blooms, I suspect we experienced an early mosquito hatching and later weeks will have bigger swarms.
- My favorite campsite in McClure Meadow is beside the trail, west of the ranger station, near the outflow of the meadow.
- The best place to ford Evolution Creek is in Evolution Meadow, not at the official PCT crossing.
- An awesome campsite exists in Piute Canyon, on a southern-facing cliff about 2 miles downhill from Hutchinson Meadow.
- Although most climbers approach Pilot Knob from the eastern saddle, you can also climb from the southeast face (and avoid climbing the saddle). I suspect the southast face offers more sand and smaller boulders than the eastern ridge.