Kris Gorny's photo of Darwin from the north (Lamar...
King of the Evolution Valley - a massive mountain with many long routes. The summit lies detached from the summit plateau, on its southeast side.
Eastern Approach: From Sabrina Lake up to Blue Lake, then Dingleberry Lake. Bear right at the sing for Hungry Packer Lake and head up to Midnight Lake - campsites here. For a shorter approach on the day of the climb keep going and camp/bivi at Blue Heaven Lake.
Darwin Canyon can be reached from Blue Heaven Lake by crossing Darwin Col (12,800ft+). Take the obvious chute just left of a pointed peak - can be snow or scree depending upon the season. This provides access to the North Face routes if you don't want to take the northern approach. The summit day will be correspondingly longer.
Northern Approach: Getting to Lamarck Col with heavy packs is a whole day event. This is a 6 mile hike with 2,600' elevation gain. Obtain wilderness permits at the ranger station in Bishop (get there early, it's a popular trail and only few passes are given on a walk in basis). Take route 168 to North Lake. Car may be parked at an overnight parking lot 0.5 miles from the trailhead. Begin with 2 miles on well-marked Lamarck Lakes Trail until Upper Lamarck Lake. Continue on X-country trail on the south side of the lake (the lake should be on your right as you pass it). The trail starts with the slight descent into a 100 yard rocky groove, climbs up its southern end, winds and goes up and down for a while until climbing steep slopes towards the plateau before Lamarck Cole. Most bivy sites are located on the western slopes of Lamarck Cole but convenient and less populated bivy sites are also located at the lake just below the Lamarck Col on its eastern side.
This route is considered the best of all the traverses in the Sierra. It is a great, long, and sometimes intimidating outing.The rock is mostly excellent, with a couple loose spots in between.Getting down from Darwin is the most dangerous and difficult part of the climb, with either a manky rappel or a 5.9 downclimb.The number of pitches you belay greatly depends on how comfortable you are soloing 5th class. Simulclimbing is not a good idea.The two most difficult parts that go up are going to Mt...[more]Browse More Classics in CA