"gigantopterid" = an English noun describing large leaves with complex reticulate venation resembling the Cathaysian fossil seed plant genus Gigantopteris and North American genus Delnortea of the Permian Period, 260 million years ago"

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The Ionian Basin of the Sierra Nevada of western North America is captured by the two, upper images on either side of the page. The left-hand kodachrome is The Basin as viewed from Nietzsche Col, which is best climbed from the Muir Pass Hut.

Ionian Basin Lake 11837 is in the middle distance. The cream-colored pyramidal massif in the background is Mount Reinstein. Lake 11592 is the circular waterbody in center-frame. Diorites comprise Ragged Spur and Hansen Ridge to the left.

The right-hand image is Mount Solomons and the Goddard Divide as viewed from the shore of Lake 11837. Nietzsche Col, which is visible in the center-distance of the right-hand frame, is the point where USN Commander Mike Curran stands, overlooking the treeless basin.

Spanning more than 240 km the finest view of the Sierra Nevada Crest is from the summit of Mount Goddard (4136 m). While a complete panorama of the Sierra Nevada Crest might allow climbers to discern all the major peaks of the range from Mt. Lyell in the northwest to Mt. Whitney at the southwest, the image to the left captures only Mt. Darwin (left), Mt. Haeckel and Mt. Wallace (center), and White Mountain Peak (4342 m, in the far distance).

The large lake behind the Goddard Divide in the foreground is Wanda Lake of Evolution Basin. Another kodachrome taken from the summit of Mt. Goddard is shown to the right. This view, which is a few degrees east of the opposite vista, captures the Goddard Divide (foreground) and The Palisades (in the distance), including Polemonium Peak (4292 m), Thunderbolt Peak (4268 m), North Palisade (4341 m), Middle Palisade (4271 m), Mt. Sill (4314 m), and Mt. Bolton Brown (right-hand background).

The photograph on the left is the summit of Split Mountain (4285 m), which is one of the highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada of western North America. Beyond the eastern precipice of Split is the floor of the Owens Valley including the Big Pine Volcanic Field and alluvial fans of the Inyo Mountains. The highest point in this range, Waucoba Mountain (3390 m), is visible in the distance to the left.

The right-hand image is a westerly view from Goddard showing a cliff-face and couloir bisecting the north and south summits. Kaiser Ridge is in the distance. Mount Goddard and Split Mountain are signature landmarks of the high Sierra Nevada according to Hervey Voge (1954 [revised 1965 edition], A Climber's Guide to the High Sierra, Sierra Club, San Francisco, 298 pp.). Split was climbed by the author in a 1971 solo ascent of the north slope, which is accessed from Mather Pass on the John Muir Trail.

A 1970 group ascent of Goddard, which is a Sierra Club Emblem Peak, adopted the northeast approach from the Ionian Basin. The climb from the stone hut at Muir pass to Nietzsche Col is an easterly modification of Starr's Route incorporating base camp at Lake 11592. Ionian Basin Lake 11592 is the circular and biologically-barren waterbody at the headwaters of Disappearing Creek in the foreground of the image at the top of this page.

Charybdis, Scylla, and The Three Sirens are just out of the field of view in the image to the left, which was captured by the author in September 1970 while sauntering to the lip of the Enchanted Gorge overlook from our base camp at Ionian Basin Lake 11592. The Canyon of the Middle Fork of the Kings River is in the far distance.

Charismatic peaks of the Ionian Basin are Charybdis, Scylla, and The Three Sirens. Scylla was first climbed by David Brower and Hervey Voge in 1934 (page 135, Voge 1954, op. cit.). These three peaks guard the forbidding entrance to the Enchanted Gorge with its Chasm Lake set in bright-white outcrops of granite (shown in the left-hand image, above), and Disappearing Creek, which is entombed by massive black-colored talus blocks weathered from The Three Sirens. The photograph on the right is the western slope of the Sierra Nevada as viewed from the summit of Split. Arrow Peak, Bench Lake, and the Muro Blanco of the South Fork of the Kings River Canyon are visible to the southwest.

From a vantage point on the exposed summit of Split Mountain the view of the Sierra Nevada crest is terrific. Pinchot Pass on the John Muir Trail is the col in the center of the frame. The highest point to the south in this Ektachrome slide is Mount Whitney. First climbed in 1887 by a party of four led by Frank Saulque (page 201, Voge 1954, op. cit.), and later named Southeast Palisade by Bolton Brown, Split Mountain is a Sierra Club Emblem Peak.

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THIS PAGE WAS LAST MODIFIED ON JANUARY 1, 2017


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