We did a traverse from North Lake to Piute Pass to the Keyhole near Muriel Peak to Darwin Canyon and Lamark Col and then back to North Lake on May 6, 2006.
We had great conditions and never required skins for travel. The road to North Lake was closed near the Lake Sabrina road.
Greeting the mornings first light on Piute Pass. The group was psyched to be in the sun. Molly was especially psyched at the promise of corn snow and being able to skate across some Sierra Lakes. J.D. and Devin were psyched to be out "On Tour" again and to check out the Keyhole.
Devin looking glamorous while Molly and J.D. prep for the sun.
Approaching the Keyhole from the Lost Lakes above Muriel Lake
Secor accurately describes the Keyhole as "a 4 foot triangular gap in the talus" with some class 3 involved. J.D. and I had looked up at the Keyhole from the Lake 11910 a few years back and opted to go over the Alpine Col ( on the West side of Muriel Peak) because of some visible water ice below the Keyhole. We were looking forward to checking it out again. It looked a bit dicy at first looking down into the Keyhole entry.
Looking down the Keyhole
Having looked down into the gap, the group decided to have the member with the longest legs (me) lower into the hole first to check out the snow conditions. There was about 6 inches of unconsolidated, sugary powder snow over ice.
We sent the J.D. down first to kick steps and check out the rest of the conditions. He gets really amped on ice and granite on a tour and the Keyhole delivered both. The gap was tight with skis on the packs and required a bit of finesse to get through.
Coming out of the Keyhole. The rock on the right was 3rd class and was another alternative.
Molly enjoying some downclimbing.
We then skiied down to and then up the Darwin Canyon. Molly was loving the skating across the lakes.
There is a man connected to the floating gloves and boots. Many of years of touring in the Sierra have gone into the development of this touring outfit. In addition to the Sierra camo white shown, Zinc Oxide is applied to all exposed skin surfaces. Molly is doing some yoga moves to get some water in the background.
The Mendel right couloir. It looked even sicker than the descriptions.
A perfect shady spot for a lunch break.
Mt.Darwin looking nice
Going up Lamark Col. J.D. is on the Col in the picture. He put on a blue jacket so we could see him in his Sierra camo touring outfit.
Molly enjoying some more rock scrambling.
The Mendel Couloirs from Lamark Col
From Lamark Col at 1:30 pm, we skiied 3500 feet of near perfect corn to North Lake. The skiing was so good I missed any chance of taking any skiing shots. This was a fantastic way to spend a day in the Sierra and still make it back for cold beverages and fine dining in Bishop.