Ski Mountaineering

Lamarck and Bishop
May 18-19, 1991

Gerry Holleman

Lamarck Col is a popular SMS ski trip. The trip was scheduled for corn-snow season, but at scheduling time you never know what you will get. We had a bit of everthing, crust and corn, whiteout and sunshine. Here is our story:

We met at North Lake on Sat, 5/18. Participants were Pat and Gerry Holleman, Scot Jamison and Reiner Stenzel. From North Lake we skied toward Grass Lake. Instead of the summer trail along the Lamarck Lakes we ascended along the creek drainage south of Grass Lake, which leads into a chute between Pks 12,107 and 12,396 and continues southwest directly to Lamarck Col. It makes a wonderful ski run down - provided the snow is good.

The ascent takes about half a day. Starting in the morning this would get us at lunch time to the col and when the snow has softened up between 12-1 we would be ready to ski down. So goes the theory. As we ascended the clouds moved in. As we reached the summit we were in a whiteout. No chance to bag nearby Mt Lamarck. We only got an occasional glimse of the impressive ridge of the Evolution peaks (Darwin, Mendel, etc). The expected corn snow did not materialize and we cruised down on hard packed snow on the top, breakable crust further down and eventually some soft snow.

The sky was solidly grey as we skied across Grass Lake. Since it was only a day trip we did not mind if it would snow at night. We drove south to Bishop and car camped in the Buttermilks. Our tentative plan for the next day was to ski near South Lake provided the weather would cooperate.

On Sunday morning the sky was clear and we had an early start. We skied along Bishop Pass trail with occasional shortcuts. After about three hours we were close to Bishop Pass. Instead of ascending the pass we skied up to the vast open snow fields north of Mt Goode. From there we had a fine view on the Inconsolable Range and Mt Agassiz in the Palisade Range.

We were lucky with the weather. The sky was clear, the sun was strong and we got excellent corn snow. We carved our turns and then skied over the frozen lakes to return by early afternoon. It was an excellent tour. Too bad that we did not have more participants.

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