Mt Darwin ski trip 2003

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Eric and I had the opportunity to take a two-day trip to Lamarck and Darwin starting on November 17, 2003.

Report by: Javier after skiing Darwin's gully

Mt. Darwin's area map: <googlemap version="0.9" lat="37.19998" lon="-118.642559" type="terrain" zoom="12"> 6#B2E2135C 36.585691,-118.241472 36.586794,-118.247566 36.583486,-118.256922 36.577627,-118.278465 36.580798,-118.286362 36.579488,-118.292542 36.578523,-118.292456 </googlemap>

We left from the road to North Lake, still closed at the time, and started skinning up towards the Lamarck Col. We followed the drainage off Grass Lake to the Col. The view from the Col was impressive, with Darwin and Mendel towering above Darwin Canyon. Their faces looked very, very steep. Lamarck Col is at 13000' and above us was the southeast face of Mount Lamarck.

We pitched camp and immediately after, skinned up to the summit of Mount Lamarck. Then we ski back down to the tent about 500' below us . Our campsite was quite nice, just below the col. The night was very stormy at Lamarck Col and we woke up to foot of new snow. Snow had accumulated about a foot around our tent and our packs were completely buried outside the tent. Our sleeping bags were covered with snow that was blown inside the tent. We were ready to abort out attempt but to our surprise the weather had improved dramatically. So we decided to get a bit closer to Mount Darwin, to see how were the snow conditions there….

We dropped into Darwin Canyon about 1200' and skinned up to the base of the north face. The pack windblown snow was hard to skin up as the slope steepened to about 35 degrees, so we started booting up. The angle gradually increased to about 45 degrees in the middle of the couloir and remained constant to the top. The broad face narrows down to a little snow finger about two ski lengths wide for the last 200'. Eric made it to the summit plateau while I stopped at the bottom of the snow finger. The descent was incredible, we were skiing with a wave of powder going down with us, it was awesome! However, at the bottom of the canyon, we had to go back up to Lamarck Col and we suffered a lot going back up after a lot of efforts between 12 and 14000'... We finally arrived to the tent, had lunch and packed out to head down. Eric and I will long remember skiing this 45 degree couloir with a foot and a half of powder...