North Lake - South Lake questions

Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
Joined
Aug 20, 2014
Messages
417
A couple of questions for you Sierra fans.

1. It seems most folks do the North Lake - South Lake loop starting at North Lake. Is there an advantage to going this way vs. clockwise starting at South Lake?

2. Shuttles. I normally hitch hike when in Glacier or the GYE, but not sure this is the best option with the group I'll be with. Is there reasonable shuttles there? Any suggestions?
 

balzaccom

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2014
Messages
450
The advantage to starting at North Lake is two-fold:

1. You deal with Lamarck Col immediately, so if there are any problems, you find out early in the trip. Later in the season this is less of an issue, but early in the season, you don't want to hike the whole loop and then find out that Lamarck is icy, steep and dangerous.

2. You also get into the good stuff early: Darwin Bench is usually a highlight of this trip, and it's just the other side of Lamarck Col...

As for hitch-hiking, South Lake trailhead gets a lot of traffic, so chances are you can convince someone to take you back down the hill. Convincing them to take you back to North Lake may take a bit more persuasion, but you have plenty of time to talk them into it!
 

wsp_scott

Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Messages
817
The advantage to starting at North Lake is two-fold:

1. You deal with Lamarck Col immediately, so if there are any problems, you find out early in the trip. Later in the season this is less of an issue, but early in the season, you don't want to hike the whole loop and then find out that Lamarck is icy, steep and dangerous.

2. You also get into the good stuff early: Darwin Bench is usually a highlight of this trip, and it's just the other side of Lamarck Col...

As for hitch-hiking, South Lake trailhead gets a lot of traffic, so chances are you can convince someone to take you back down the hill. Convincing them to take you back to North Lake may take a bit more persuasion, but you have plenty of time to talk them into it!

Doesn't the standard North Lake South Lake loop go over Piute Pass vs Lamarck Col? And mostly stay on the JMT, i.e not see Darwin Bench?

I've looked into the doing this loop and just connecting North and South Lakes via George Lake and some road walking, but I hate the idea of paying for a shuttle and hoping for a hitch seems potentially problematic.

As far as North to South or vice versa, I seem to recall reading that going south on the JMT over Muir Pass is "easier". Basically a long hike though Evolution Valley gaining ~4000 feet over 16ish miles. Heading north, you gain ~3000 feet over 7ish miles.

I found this shuttle with 2019 prices https://www.eastsidesierrashuttle.com/

You might also ask at http://www.highsierratopix.com/
 

balzaccom

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2014
Messages
450
Sorry--I made the mistake of assuming that you were going via Lamarck Col...
 

fossana

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2018
Messages
483
This is the cheaper public shuttle option, but you'd have to walk the few miles (~2) from 168 to the Piute Pass trailhead (or vice versa). It only runs twice a day.

I doubt you've have problems hitching a ride during daylight hours. I've given through-hikers rides and been offered rides. If the timing works out, to increase your chances you could hitch at the start of your hike instead of after days of not showering. :)

I personally think Evolution Basin is the most scenic part of that route (and more so than Darwin Bench).

80863

 
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