Trip Report
First weekend of August's storm, how it looked from Lamarck/Darwin Bench
Thursday August 7, 2014 1:45pm

Very basic, short vid. We'd hoped to do the Evolution - not to be. But hook is set. What a beautiful, beautiful region.

Never got off the ground, pinned down by storms, but had a killer time all the same. On the hike in, skies progressed from sunshine --> soup of clouds --> rain --> hail --> snow and lightning, and then cycled back through again. Wx seemed to come in over the Whites and right down our necks.

All was calm from around 5p on Sat, through sunset, and into the evening. Over the course of the night, we watched the stars thin out and then disappear behind clouds from the window in our tent. We woke around 3am with heavy wx pulling at our stakes.

Sunday's alarm went off at 4:00 but we were both awake listening to the weather. We spent half of the day talking sh#t in the tent and waiting to see if the skies would clear. Nada - steady rain and wind. Beautiful storm.

On the way out, we had near whiteout condition passing through Lamarck Col, with burly winds and thick horizontally driven snow - that cheery kind that lacerates the eyeballs. One thousand feet lower, on the east side of the pass, it turned to rain, which kept up throughout the day and into the evening. Ground-level fog made re-threading the Lamarck semi-xc trail a little tougher but not bad. That trail doesn't feel xc, it's so well defined.

After cooking up soup and drying out at the Bishop laundromat, I dropped Matt at the campground and then drove up to Lee Vining, over Tuolumne, and back to Oakland. Flowers thrashing in the headlights all along the roadside in the winds. Steady rain nearly the entire drive until Groveland. Fantastic night for storm driving - stopped many times and jumped out of the car to feel it all come ripping down. The Sierra: second to none.

Credit: le_bruce

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About the Author
le_bruce is a climber from Oakland: what's not to love?

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Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Aug 7, 2014 - 05:27pm PT
I'm imagining that drive back with Riders on the Storm cranked up.

Well, you went to the mountains and found their good tidings, I imagine your spirit was amply recharged. Thanks for sharing dude.

climber a single wide......
  Aug 7, 2014 - 05:31pm PT
Yep. Saturday nights alpenglow was stupendous (as your photo shows). I was thinking of that old adage "red sky at night; sailor's delight". Ya right.

I've never previously experienced a Sierra summer deluge that started at 3AM and did not let up. Difference was me not at Darwin Lakes. We parked at 10,000' Horseshoe Meadows. Jumped in the car, left the soggy tent behind for a couple hours whilst we ate breakfast in soggy Lone Pine. Ez peeezy...


Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Aug 7, 2014 - 05:53pm PT
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” - Denis Waitley

Le_Bruce fails in better style than many of us succeed.
He laughs at the storm, he mocks its moxy, he runs from it only because it means he wants to come back when the summit photos will have better lighting.

This report makes me long for Darwin Bench far more than had you spent most of your time up on that chossy ridge. I love that place. I failed there once too, and I have a great photo hanging in my office from that day.

You will someday return my friend, and when you do you will stand victoriously upon that seldom tread summit with nothing but sunshine on your face and success in your belly. Until then, may you hold this defeat as an ember in your bosom, burning until your return.


Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Aug 7, 2014 - 05:56pm PT
My photo from failing to climb Darwin more than ten years ago. It hangs proudly in my office today.
Credit: micronut

Trad climber
  Aug 7, 2014 - 11:15pm PT
My storm adventure was on White Mountain. We started by sleeping in, out of deference to the midnight electrical storm and the thick clouds that blanketed the mountain at first light. Waited until 7am when we could see the weather, which was not good, but good enough. Topped out at 10am, thinking that the skies might clear. By 10:30, we were walking through horizontal sleet at 38 degrees. Made it back to the car around noonish, in white out conditions and thoroughly soaked.

I felt particularly bad for all the people who hiked White Mountain in shorts that day. Umm, what were they thinking?

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Aug 7, 2014 - 11:37pm PT
Cerro Cerro!

Social climber
  Aug 8, 2014 - 03:33am PT
hey there, say, le_bruce... thanks for sharing, nice read...
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