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[TR] Mount Darwin & Mendel - North Face 7/7/2007

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Trip: Mount Darwin & Mendel - North Face

 

Date: 7/7/2007

 

Trip Report:

On Saturday we climbed the North Face of Mount Darwin and the East Face of Mount Mendel in the Evolution region of Kings Canyon National Park. We departed the North Lake parking lot at 4:25 am and returned at 4:55 pm for a 12.5 hour roundtrip. We reached Lamarck col at 6:40 am and were treated to a great view.

 

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Mount Darwin (left) and Mount Mendel (right).

 

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The route goes straight up the snow slope, narrowing to a small couloir near the summit plateau.

 

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Looking up the North Face of Mount Darwin.

 

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Ascending the North Face of Mount Darwin on perfect Neve.

 

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Final icy couloir up to the summit plateau.

 

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Mount Darwin summit plateau and pinnacle. We reached the summit at 9:30 and enjoyed the beautiful views and fun pinnacle for 45 minutes.

 

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Fiske, Warlow, Huxley in Evolution Basin.

 

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Evolution Basin and Mount Goddard.

 

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Exposed traverse around to the scramble up the Darwin summit pinnacle.

 

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Looking down to Darwin Canyon.

 

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Summit pinnacle of Mount Darwin. We could see the billowing smoke from the fires near independence from the summit of Darwin.

 

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Summit pinnacle of Mount Darwin.

 

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We descended the northwest ridge of Mount Darwin to the Darwin Glacier. After a break, I set out for Mount Mendel, reaching the summit at 12:30 pm. The route up Mendel was not very interesting, but the mountain afforded nice views of Darwin and the Evolution valley.

 

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Evolution Valley from Mount Mendel.

 

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Mount Darwin from the summit of Mount Mendel. The Darwin Glacier is melting out fast.

 

After some photos on the summit of Mendel, I descended back to the glacier and then we set off for the climb back up to Lamarck col.

 

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Darwin Canyon.

 

The North Face of Darwin is an excellent route up an impressive peak. With great weather and conditions, we had a blast!

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Axe/crampons.

 

Approach Notes:

In good shape.

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Nice work. Do you have any more pics of Mendel? Specifically, the Mendel couloirs? How was the descent down the east face (did you descend this way)?

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OTH,

 

You're on the grand tour, man. As a kid, I used to walk by all these peaks on family backpacking trips and dream about climbing them someday. My summer trips since have never ventured far outside Tuolumne, though. Your reports are motivating me to change that! Cheers

 

:tup::brew:

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Thanks.

 

Alpaholic, I don't have pictures of the couloirs since I wasn't on the north side of the mountain. I could have taken photos looking down the couloirs from the summit plateau, but I wasn't thinking about it - sorry. They looked icy though. The descent down the east face is pretty straightforward - except taking a ledge to skiers left near the bottom to another gully is the easiest way.

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They looked icy though.

 

sweet.

 

a ledge to skiers left near the bottom to another gully is the easiest way.

 

Thanks! :tup:

 

Now the $65k question is what kind of dance do I need to do to make sure the T-storms start later rather than earlier...

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Yes, the descent starts on a ledge system to your left as you drop down to the south off the summit. It picks up before the ridge gets narrow and wild looking. There are cairns--I am pretty sure one marks the entrance, and for a while as you get started it is almost a climbers trail. Then there are a few raps, one of which was pretty hinkey slung block where you can't really see much of the slings jammed back behind it--at the end of a narrow gravelly ledge..

 

Once down, I have always stayed right once I passed the first set of small lakes, because it looks like--and i have been warned--that you get cliffed out if you hug the base of Mendel’s east face, even though maps make it look OK. Maybe someone else has been that way.

 

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