Leor Pantilat - Bishop Pass & Dusy Basin

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bishop Pass and Dusy Basin

By Leor Pantilat

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvrA2hrvCQQ]

I have been to the Palisades twice before but never via South Lake so I figured this would be a great opportunity to see Bishop Pass and Dusy Basin. I started at around 6:30 am and headed up the nice trail, coming across spectacular reflections in the tarns near Long Lake. I continued up through more lakes and then the final switchbacks up to the pass. From the pass, I headed up the talus slopes to the summit of 13,891 ft Mount Agassiz. The talus was not very loose helping to make relatively fast time up the slope, arriving at the top 2:40 after beginning at South Lake. I spent nearly an hour on the summit snapping photos and chatting with a couple from Bishop who arrived at the summit 30 minutes after me. The views in the morning sunlight were amazing!  Check out many more photos here.



Eventually, I got going again and made quick time back to Bishop Pass and then into Dusy Basin. Part of the appeal of climbing Columbine Peak is the traverse across Dusy Basin, famous for its alpine lakes with views of the sheer walls of Mount Winchell, Thunderbolt Peak, and North Palisade towering above. I picked a route across the Basin and took many photographs of the lakes near Isosceles Peak, which is aptly named. I continued on through boulders and slabs to Knapsack Pass where I began the climb up Columbine Peak. I went up the arete directly from Knapsack Pass which proved to be more difficult than the advertised class 2/3 climbing for a sustained period (almost until the summit). I found out on the descent that the easier route is on the south side of the ridge, but some class three climbing is still unavoidable. To get to the easier route, follow a use path around the base of cliffs towards Barrett Lakes/Palisade Basin from Knapsack Pass. At the point where a gully is crossed begin heading up and the easier route is apparent (gravel and talus). Taking this route on the way down saved some time and energy and I was happy to not have to down climb some of the sections I had done on the ascent.


Columbine Peak features the best view of the west side of the Palisades subrange and a great vantage point of other surrounding peaks, Palisade Basin, and Dusy Basin. The return trip through Dusy Basin was just as spectacular and I stopped to take many photos. Once atop Bishop Pass I jogged the remainder of the way back to the trailhead at South Lake, arriving 9:26 after beginning. This is a fantastic area and I hope to return soon for more photography, climbs, and adventure runs.

Many more photos here!

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