Trip Report
6 Days off trail in the High Sierra: Ionian Basin, Tunemah and Martha Lakes, Goddard Creek Canyon
Saturday August 27, 2016 5:56am
Some photos from backpacking for 6 days west of Bishop. We started at North Lake and walk over Lamarck Col down to the Muir Trail for a couple miles and then west to Martha Lake, Tunema Lake, into Goddard Canyon and up into Ionian Basin. Back to Sapphire Lake and over near the summit of Mount Haeckel to finish at Lake Sabrina.

What is the cool looking wall/spire above Hungry Packer Lake?

Here is the strava track for the last 4 of 6 days https://www.strava.com/activities/684903231

Darwin Bench.
Darwin Bench.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Darwin Bench.
Darwin Bench.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Evolution Basin on the John Muir Trail. I think this is Sapphire Lake.
Evolution Basin on the John Muir Trail. I think this is Sapphire Lake.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Tunemah Lake on the right and looking down the Goddard Creek Canyon on...
Tunemah Lake on the right and looking down the Goddard Creek Canyon on the left.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Chris Ewing sunrise fishing at 10,500 feet above Goddard Creek Canyon ...
Chris Ewing sunrise fishing at 10,500 feet above Goddard Creek Canyon just east of Tunemah Lake.
Credit: Chris McNamara


Another shot of fly fishing above Goddard Creek Canyon east of Tunemah...
Another shot of fly fishing above Goddard Creek Canyon east of Tunemah Lake.
Credit: Chris McNamara


Meadow at 10,100 feet in Goddard Creek Canyon.
Meadow at 10,100 feet in Goddard Creek Canyon.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Cool tree at sunset on the east end of a lake in Goddard Creek Canyon ...
Cool tree at sunset on the east end of a lake in Goddard Creek Canyon at 10,300 feet.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Hiking up flowery hillside above the big lake (name) in Goddar...
Hiking up flowery hillside above the big lake (name) in Goddard Creek Canyon.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Hiking out of Goddard Creek Canyon on the Way to the Ionian Basin.
Hiking out of Goddard Creek Canyon on the Way to the Ionian Basin.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Wild flowers at nearly 12,000 feet on the way from Goddard Creek Canyo...
Wild flowers at nearly 12,000 feet on the way from Goddard Creek Canyon into Ionian Basin.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Wild flowers in the Ionian Basin at 12,000 feet.
Wild flowers in the Ionian Basin at 12,000 feet.
Credit: Chris McNamara




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Chris McNamara
About the Author
Climbing Magazine once computed that three percent of Chris McNamara’s life on Earth had been spent on the face of El Capitan – an accomplishment that left friends and family pondering Chris’s sanity. He has climbed El Capitan more than 70 times and holds nine big wall speed climbing records. In 1998 Chris did the first Girdle Traverse of El Capitan, an epic 75-pitch route that begs the question, “Why?”

Outside Magazine called Chris one of “the world’s finest aid climbers.” He is the winner of the 1999 Bates Award from the American Alpine Club and founder of the American Safe Climbing Association, a nonprofit group that has replaced over 5000 dangerous anchor bolts. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and serves on the board of the ASCA and the Rowell Legacy Committee. He has a rarely updated adventure journal, maintains BASEjumpingmovies.com, and also runs a Lake Tahoe home rental business.

Comments
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  Aug 27, 2016 - 06:25am PT
Wonderful, Chris. I'm stuck back in the classroom, so this was a nice little shot o' the High Country. I've always wanted to get back into the Ionian Basin.

BAd
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
  Aug 27, 2016 - 06:34am PT
Did Ewing catch anything up there?
10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Aug 27, 2016 - 06:34am PT
Nice pictures.
F10

Trad climber
Bishop
  Aug 27, 2016 - 06:56am PT
Picture Peak rises above Hungry Packer Lake
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Aug 27, 2016 - 07:28am PT
Nice trip, Chris

Years ago I did a similar trip over 10 days, included some peak climbing and a couple of days just chilling out in beautiful locations. We went:

Lake Sabrina > Wallace Col > Ionian Basin > Enchanted Gorge > Goddard Creek > Ionian Basin > Echo Col > Lake Sabrina.

I've heard the going over Haeckel Col (elev. 12,680+ ft.) is the easiest direct crossing of the Sierra divide in that area, as compared to either Echo Col or Wallace Col. What can you say about it?

Be warned: the east side of Wallace Col (elev. 13,000+ ft.) is a vast unstable scree and rubble slope that would be a nightmare to climb. We descended that slope and it was pretty crazy - we "glissaded" scree. The entire scree slope started slowly rumbling downhill (and I mean the entire slope), so we just "glissaded" down a rumbling scree slope.

Echo Col (elev. 12,400+ ft.) has always been my preferred crossing point, though, even though it is class 3, crossed over it several times.




skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
  Aug 27, 2016 - 09:20am PT
This is sweeet! One of my favorite areas to visit in the Sierra alone or with the right partner.
L

climber
Just livin' the dream
  Aug 27, 2016 - 09:26am PT
Gorgeous photos!
Thanks for the lovely reminder of what's still out there.
Ed H

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
  Aug 27, 2016 - 12:20pm PT
The High Sierra - so much to explore!
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Aug 27, 2016 - 12:38pm PT
Sounds like a great trip!
kief

Trad climber
east side
  Aug 27, 2016 - 12:38pm PT
Nice shot of the meadows downstream from the big lake at the head of Goddard Creek (Lake 10,132). The circle within a two or three mile radius of those meadows is probably my favorite part of the Sierra.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Aug 27, 2016 - 04:26pm PT
That Tunemah Lake photo is really cool.
TFPU
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Aug 27, 2016 - 04:48pm PT
Gorgeous!
yanqui

climber
Balcarce, Argentina
  Aug 28, 2016 - 06:53am PT
Enjoyed the pics
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
  Aug 28, 2016 - 07:19am PT
I've enjoyed this share, I saved it as my wake & bake
this was my way, - Your pictures take me away.
Big C MaC. Thanx
For all the freedom you share
Thanx for posting ,
It is so beautiful
It is almost not fair!
No gush left to cushion the bone on bone that is my ankles .
No gush left to cushion the bone on bone that is my knees

If I could still do anything and do as I please, I'd go and do all of this
All of these!



http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2819395&tn=40
seano

Mountain climber
none
  Aug 28, 2016 - 08:55am PT
Cool trip! Ironically, I was in the same area at around the same time. I saw all of 3 people in 3.5 days off the main highways, and felt like I had the place to myself.

Here's the route: http://caltopo.com/m/81B0

And here's a TR: http://drdirtbag.com/2016/08/23/backpacking-the-big-uglies/
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Aug 28, 2016 - 11:38am PT
Beautiful, thanks for posting!!!
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Aug 28, 2016 - 09:34pm PT
yep, there were fish in the lake above Goddard Creek Canhon (sunset shot).

And yes, Haekel col/pass is pretty mellow. However, the route finding above Hungry Packer Lake is tricky. I would definitely bring a good gps track or beta... or be ready to backtrack a lot when you run into big cliffs.

Seano - very cool trip. Will keep that track in mind for the future. It sad to see all the glaciers on that topo map... no more.

Psilocyborg

climber
  Aug 28, 2016 - 09:46pm PT
such a beautiful area. great shots!
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
  Aug 28, 2016 - 11:23pm PT
Chris, I want to warmly thank you for this TR. Before my current disability, this area was one of my favorites. What I think of as the true soul of the Sierra, and your TR kindled many memories of wonderful trips.
EP

Trad climber
Osteoarthritis Shouldervile
  Aug 29, 2016 - 09:08am PT
I sent this to my backpacking partner. He is stoked at the possibilities. Closest we have been is Mono Pass into Pioneer Basin. Headed back to Mineral King next month.

Maybe we can hit this spot in 2017.
limpingcrab

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
  Aug 29, 2016 - 09:18am PT
Those mountains are so ugly!

Did you make it to the spot in this thread? Answer was toward the end, looks like you were close.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2756656/Most-Remote-Location-in-California
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Aug 29, 2016 - 09:35am PT
Tunemah Peak look fairly far south of where we were (maybe 10 miles south). Very cool spot. I gotta find it.
limpingcrab

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
  Aug 29, 2016 - 12:13pm PT
Hmmmm... I though it was only a little over a mile from Tunemah Lake? Haven't been there myself so I could be wrong.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Aug 29, 2016 - 02:53pm PT
Heading down from Alpine Col to camp on the Darwin Bench, same boulders!!! Thanks again Chris, the Evolution Region is the heart and soul of the range.

Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
  Aug 29, 2016 - 05:15pm PT
Tunemah Peak is only about a mile south-southeast of Tunemah lake
NutAgain!

Trad climber
https://nutagain.org
  Aug 29, 2016 - 11:54pm PT
Really beautiful spots, thanks for sharing. And cool to see you connecting more deeply with nature without needing the adrenaline spike. That has its place too, but these sorts of trips also form memories that last a lifetime.
Don Paul

Social climber
Washington DC
  Aug 30, 2016 - 06:17am PT
Looks just like Colorado.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Aug 30, 2016 - 09:37am PT
Ahh, my guestimator is way off.. yeah, Tunemah peak looks a mile off Tunemah Lake. So i guess its official... we were Out There.

Anyone know what routes go up this cliff above Hungry Packer Lake? If the bottom isn't too loose and chossy, it looks like there is a sweet arete up the left side.
this just in

climber
Justin Ross from North Fork
  Aug 30, 2016 - 09:53am PT
So it took you 13 days to see the 7 wonders of the world and 6 days to see all this? Ha.

Beautiful pics, I prefer the wonders of the Sierra.
krahmes

Social climber
Stumptown
  Aug 30, 2016 - 07:12pm PT
Wow thanks CMac for the memories. Seano you are an animal. Did a 7 day in late July 92: L. Sabrina-Lamarck-Evolution-Ionian-Goddard Canyon and out over Agassiz. Sierra Ledge I'm jealous as my orignal goal was Charbydis and the Enchanted Gorge, but my partner said no and we settled for Scylla and Goddard. I don't recommend going all the way down Goddard to the Middle Fork of the King as it was hours of willow.
Here's a couple of poor pictures of the high point of the trip of which was descending into Goddard Canyon during a graupel downpour.And the Lake 10232 at the top of Goddard Canyon which we called Kraken Lake (sorry Randsi) because of the cliffs in the back of lake would release the kraken. What I remember about that lake (besides trying to get dry) is from our camp at the outlet every cast was a fish (they were small), but every cast.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Aug 30, 2016 - 03:19pm PT
Nice Chris. When I was working in Yosemite, every summer, Marsha and I would hike for a week or two off-trail in the Sierra. So pretty--also the scenery.
seano

Mountain climber
none
  Aug 31, 2016 - 09:44am PT
Chris -- So true about the glaciers. Even in what's supposed to be a decent snow year, there was no remaining snow-cover on the sad little bits of dirty ice that remain. The Sirens, in particular, are much harder to reach these days than they would have been 10-20 years ago when there was a snow/ice tongue leading to the notch between them and Scylla.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Aug 31, 2016 - 11:22am PT
Kraken Lake is so much better than Lake 10,232

Sierra Ledge Rat - It's wild to see all that snow. What time of year was that?
hamersorethumb

Trad climber
Menlo Park, CA
  Aug 31, 2016 - 01:33pm PT
Wow, great photos. Thanks for sharing
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