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The Evolution Loop

  • Deer in LeConte Canyon
photo: Davey McCoy
  • IFMGA guide Jed Porter lives in his sleeping bag on the Evo Loop.

The Evolution Loop

SKU: EvoLoop

The most scenic and classic backpacking loop in the High Sierra, the Evolution Loop is one breathtaking vista after another.

We offer this guided journey in three itineraries:

  • 3-day Ultralight
  • 4-day Backpacking
  • 5-day Backpacking (custom private only – Click HERE)

 


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  • Description

    On both sides of the Sierra Crest above Bishop, California lies a magical network of trails and passes that encircle the Evolution Ridge. The “Evo Loop” is an incredible journey through alpine lakes, craggy peaks, lofty passes, Yosemite scale valleys, and granite landscapes, in the very heart of the High Sierra. We offer this guided journey in three itineraries:

    • 3-day Ultralight
    • 4-day Backpacking
    • 5-day Backpacking (custom private only)

     

  • Itinerary - 3 day
    TRIP ITINERARY: Evolution Loop 3-Day Utralight Fastpacking
    DAY 0 Meet at the SMG office in Bishop in the afternoon to check in, review the itinerary, check gear, and finalize packing and other logistics.
    DAY 1 Start at the South Lake Trailhead and hike up over Bishop Pass, into the amazing Dusy Basin. Descend to camp in the granite paradise of LeConte Canyon in the Middle Fork of the Kings River drainage.
    DAY 2 Ascend LeConte Canyon to Muir Pass and into Evolution Basin, featuring glaciated granite playas and unparalleled ambience in the Range of Light. At the Darwin cutoff we leave the John Muir/Pacific Crest Trail to ascend to camp in a very special place known as Darwin Bench.
    DAY 3 A steep cross country ascent from Darwin Lakes leads to to Lamarck Col. Descend past Lamarck lakes to the North Lake trailhead. Shuttle to South Lake and/or Bishop.

    Additional Information


    3-DAY ULTRALIGHT INCLUDES:

        • SMG guide(s)
        • Lightweight, yet delicious and nutritious backcountry meals (dinners & breakfasts)
        • Group camping and cooking equipment
        • Wilderness permits and associated permit fees

        3-DAY ULTRALIGHT DOES NOT INCLUDE:

        • Lunches, trail snacks, and hot drinks for camp. Bring your own that you prefer.
        • Personal or rental equipment
        • Other personal items
        • Transport before or after trip

        3-DAY PREREQUISITES:

        • Excellent mountain fitness and ability to hike 15-20 miles per day with a multiday backpack on mountain trails at moderate to high elevations.
        • Adventurous spirit and desire to experience the mountains on foot.
        • Prior lightweight backpacking and/or fastpacking experience
  • Itinerary - 4 & 5 day

    4-Day Evolution Loop:

    TRIP ITINERARY: 4-day Evolution Loop
    DAY 0 Meet at the SMG office in Bishop in the afternoon to check in, review the itinerary, check gear, and finalize packing and other logistics.
    DAY 1 Start at the South Lake Trailhead and hike up over Bishop Pass, into the amazing Dusy Basin to make camp. 8 miles / 2100' gain
    DAY 2 Descend into LeConte Canyon and then up the Middle Fork of the Kings River to camp in the upper drainage. 10 miles / 2500' gain
    DAY 3 From upper LeConte Canyon, cross Muir Pass into Evolution Basin, featuring glaciated granite playas and unparalleled ambience in the Range of Light. At the Darwin cutoff we leave the John Muir/Pacific Crest Trail to ascend to camp in a very special place known as Darwin Bench. 10 miles / 1900'gain
    DAY 4 A steep cross country ascent from Darwin Lakes leads to to Lamarck Col. Descend past Lamarck lakes to the North Lake trailhead. Shuttle to South Lake and/or Bishop.

    Additional Information


    4-DAY INCLUDES:

    • SMG guide
    • Backcountry meals (dinners, breakfasts, hot drinks, & lunch sandwiches)
    • Group camping and cooking equipment
    • Wilderness permits and associated permit fees

    4-DAY DOES NOT INCLUDE:

    • Trail snacks
    • Personal or rental equipment
    • Other personal items
    • Transport before or after trip

    4-DAY PREREQUISITES:

    • Good fitness and ability to hike 10+ miles per day with a multiday backpack on mountain trails at moderate to high elevations.
    • Adventurous spirit and desire to experience the mountains on foot.
    • Prior backpacking experience is strongly recommended
     

    5-Day Evolution Loop:

    The 5-day loop is a suggestion that allows the option for you to either: a) extend the experience of being in the Evolution Basin, in the heart of the Sierra, with a half day break from the heavier packs; or b) to complete the "full" version of the loop which extends the overall length of the journey but keeps to relatively easy trails. It is possible to make the decision on the route while you are out there. For this reason, this itinerary is currently only offered on a custom private basis. Please click HERE to request prices and availability for your group if you would like to schedule a 5-day (or more) version of this trip.

    TRIP ITINERARY: 5-day Evolution Loop
    DAY 0 Meet at the SMG office in Bishop in the afternoon to check in, review the itinerary, check gear, and finalize packing and other logistics.
    DAY 1 Start at the South Lake Trailhead and hike up over Bishop Pass, into the amazing Dusy Basin to make camp. 8 miles / 2100' gain
    DAY 2 Descend into LeConte Canyon and then up the Middle Fork of the Kings River to camp in the upper drainage. 10 miles / 2500' gain
    DAY 3 From upper LeConte Canyon, cross Muir Pass into Evolution Basin, featuring glaciated granite playas and unparalleled ambience in the Range of Light. Camp near Evolution Lake. 7 miles / 1400' gain
    DAY 4 2 options: a) Have a morning to enjoy the Evolution Basin with a day hike, fishing, swimming, relaxing, or a climb of a nearby peak. Move camp up 2 miles and 1000' to Darwin Bench in the afternoon. b) Continue to do the full Evolution Loop. This option descends into Evolution Valley to Piute Creek then up to camp at Hutchinson Meadow. 13 miles / 2000' gain
    DAY 5 a) A steep cross country ascent from Darwin Lakes leads to to Lamarck Col. Descend past Lamarck lakes to the North Lake trailhead. Shuttle to South Lake and/or Bishop. 7 miles / 1700' gain b) Hike up to Humphreys Basin, up over Piute Pass and down to North Lake. 7 miles / 2200' gain
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