Ascent of Mount Darwin on 1987-08-23

Climber: Greg Gerlach

Others in Party:Rick Chval
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, August 23, 1987
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Darwin
    Elevation:13831 ft / 4215 m

Ascent Trip Report

Rick Chval had climbed Mount Darwin in 1986, but did not do the summit pinnacle; Rick wanted to go back and "really climb the peak" this time. From North Lake, we backpacked up the trail to just past Lower Lamarck Lake, then followed an occasional use trail up to Lamarck Col. From the col, the use trail disappeared after a short distance, so we made our way cross country down sandy slopes and ledges to upper Darwin Lake. From the lake, we again followed an occasional use trail down the canyon to Darwin Lake # 3, where we set up camp.

The next day, Rick and I day hiked down Darwin Canyon to the large lake located at Darwin Bench, then found and followed a pretty good use trail down to the John Muir Trail, which we took to the south end of Evolution Lake. From there, we headed east up talus to the start of the peak's West Face Route, then we followed a series of class 3 chutes to the summit plateau. Next, we made our way over to the edge of the plateau, then dropped down and traversed around the right side of the detached summit pinnacle to a couple of chutes; the first chute we down climbed a short distance and the second chute we climbed up to the southeast side of the pinnacle. From there, Rick and I climbed easy, offset cracks to a ledge, then we mantled onto the summit. We had a rope, but did not use it to climb or decend the summit pinnacle. After signing the summit register, we reversed our route and made our way back to Darwin Lake # 3, using the rope once to repel a steep, 70' section in one of the chutes that we didn't feel we could safety down climb.

On day three, we backpacked out to the car.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:9130 ft / 2782 m
    Total Elevation Loss:9130 ft / 2782 m
    Round-Trip Distance:25 mi / 40.2 km
    Grade/Class:High class 3
    Route Conditions:
Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:6730 ft / 2051 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4580 ft / 1396 m; Extra: 2150 ft / 655m
    Loss on way in:2150 ft / 655 m
    Distance:12.5 mi / 20.1 km
    Route:West Face
    Start Trailhead:North Lake/Lamark Col  9251 ft / 2819 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:6980 ft / 2127 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4580 ft / 1396 m; Extra: 2400 ft / 731m
    Gain on way out:2400 ft / 731 m
    Distance:12.5 mi / 20.1 km
    Route:West Face
    End Trailhead:North Lake/Lamark Col  9251 ft / 2819 m

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