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North Lake Loop via Lamarck Col and Alpine Col

hard(6)
Kings Canyon National Park

North Lake Loop via Lamarck Col and Alpine Col is a 17.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Bishop, California that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

Distance: 17.1 miles Elevation Gain: 4,967 feet Route Type: Loop

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

lake

river

views

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

off trail

no dogs

hiking
off trail
rocky
scramble
snow
4 months ago

Did this in a day on 11/3/19. 13:40 total time start to finish, partner and I thought about 22 miles, 5600' gain. Fun adventure for those willing to put in a strenuous day and having a light pack made a difference for scramble sections. A good amount of class 3 once off trail, we had one granite slab traverse to 4th class downclimb to avoid a snowfield but that was fun and nothing felt overly technical. Leaving Lamarck Col begins the route finding which we didn't find to be too difficult. A faint trail hugs the northern shore of Darwin Canyon lakes. Turn north before Darwin Bench up a stream and stay hiker's right of the outflow notch. Hug east side of first lake and cut between next lake up to the next bench and lake. Scrambling west side of next lake led to impassable snowfield forcing us to boulder hop and submerge to knees for about 100 ft section in the lake skirting the wall of ice. Snow forced us to do things a low snow year wouldn't which made for slightly slower going but more adventure. Scrambling up to Alpine Col was straight forward and luckily not much snow in the way for down scramble through giant boulders. Once to Goethe Lake it's slow going scrambling for a ways along the east side. Cut between the next lake and stay west side of that one and Muriel. Once around the NW corner of Muriel you'll pick back up the trail thru Piute pass and it's smooth sailing on a mellow path out.

Hiked to Lamarck col. It is 6.3 miles and 3600 feet of vertical. Lots of very steep parts. Right at the col there was an ice field which I could not climb so I went up on the shoulder. Grueling hike, 7 hours. 4 hours up snow photo is the approach to the col. No way to get there except across the ice.

hiking
5 months ago

Did this counter clockwise in 2 days. Be prepared for lots of slow going boulder fields and talus starting at Goethe and over Alpine col and the next lake. Its not easy but u get some of the best scenery in the Sierra

backpacking
Sat Mar 10 2018

Lost GPX file so had to draw it out. Much more strenuous than the 17 miles (GPX file read ~25 miles) and 5000 vertical feet described. First and last 6 miles (on trail up to Lamarck Col and down from Muriel Lake) are fine but everything in between is scrambling, talus, shale, route finding. All class 3, sometimes having to take off packs etc. Still worth it for the views of Darwin Canyon if you don't have time for the 55 mile North Lake to South Lake loop. Doable in 3 days but don't underestimate the route finding/talus/boulder fields.

hiking
8 months ago