“Mount Stephen Jay Gould”

Gould and Darwin Bench

“Stephen Jay Gould” is the peak west of Mendel at the north end of the Evolution ridge. As for Darwin and Mendel, the most direct way to reach it is from North Lake via Lamarck Col. There was a good crowd at the trailhead, with people headed for Gould, Tom Ross, Mendel, and Lamarck, all sharing a common approach.

I started off with Tommey and Pat, both strong hikers. Pat hung with me until the col, which did not surprise me once I learned that she runs a 19-minute-and-change 5k. That’s probably about what I can do these days. I left her on the boulder-hopping descent, though, reaching the outlet of the second lake in 3 hours.

After filling my water, I chose a line up the endless variety of moraine to the Mendel-Gould cirque, then crossed a bit of glacier to the base of an ugly-looking chute on Gould’s east side. It was more or less a repeat of the standard route on Mendel: sand and loose rock, with more 3rd class near the top. I reached the high-point at 10:00, then went over to check out the ridge to Mendel. It didn’t look that hard — there is a ramp on the left side to the saddle, and class 3-4 climbing on the other side — but I had already climbed Mendel, and didn’t want to get rained on.

I heard the expected cry of “rock” on the descent, and met most of the others near the bottom of the loose chutes. I took a different route back across the moraine, which was equally slow but at least took me by some interesting ice formations in the rapidly-disappearing Mendel glacier. Running much of the way down Lamarck Col, I reached the parking lot in 6h55, fast enough to enjoy a leisurely, dry lunch. The rest of the Gould crew are probably safe but soaked.

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