TR: North Col - Gabbot Pass - Mono Pass Aug 26 - 31 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: North Col - Gabbot Pass - Mono Pass Aug 26 - 31

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TR: North Col - Gabbot Pass - Mono Pass Aug 26 - 31

Postby manny » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:03 am

A bit late, but here it is. Photos at: ... directlink

North Col - Gabbot Pass - Mono Pass Loop along with Mike King

First day started at Mosquito Flat - beautiful trailhead and starts out at 10,200'. No smoke from the Rim Fire which we saw from hwy 120 the day before. Made out way to Dade Lake via Treasure Lakes. Some people were getting there via Gem Lakes - I'll have to try that some time. We are not the fastest backpackers out there, so that was it for day 1.

Day 2. Made our way toward the crest toward North Col and realized that we were headed straight for Cox Col and needed to be up on the ridge to the right of Cox Col. After making our way up there, we headed for the top which was easy going. For descending down the western side, it's easier to be a bit to the south of the top (Secor says "southeast of Peak 13,160 (13,040+)"). So, head to the north of Cox Col and go over at the southernmost point that is most comfortable for you. That will make it easiest on the western side (my observation). We headed down northwest the made our way toward Toe Lake. There were some sections that were very loose and sandy. I just accounted for that on every step and made it without incident. We camped to the north-east of Toe Lake since we were headed for Gabbot Pass the next day. It was very windy but dry. So, we did not set up our tarps.

Day 3. Easy walk up to Gabbot Pass. Great view of Mt Gabb and made out Ridder and Banner from the top of the pass. Followed Roper's guidance and made our way to the tarn on the northern side of the pass. Kept losing the use trail and winding up bogged down in the boulders, but that' part of the fun of getting off trail. Again, followed Roper's description and found our way to Upper Mills Creek Lake and camped there.

Day 4. Tried a little fishing and confirmed that there are Goldens there. The wind kept me from doing much more, so we headed down the trail. Made our way down to Lower Mills Creek Lake. Beautiful spot! Would like to go back on another trip. We kept losing the path, so we were slowed by heavy brush and boulders in some spots - not too bad though. After making our way down through the Second Recess, we crossed Mono Creek and camped near the trail junction.

Day 5. Made our way up the Mono Creek Trail past the Third and Fourth Recess, and the basins to the north: Laurel/Grinnell, Hopkins, Pioneer. Might not be an interesting trail, but very nice scenery. Crossed Golden Creek and headed up to Trail Lakes for our final night out. I've camped there a few times and always enjoy the view from there.

Day 6. Getting close to Labor Day weekend and there were a lot of backpackers out on the trail. I was surprised that there were plenty that were on their way out. I thought that everyone would be going in for the long weekend. Guess we were not the only ones wanting to avoid the crowds. Once we were over Mono Pass, we could see (and smell) the smoke from the Rim fire. There was plenty of haze in the Little Lakes Valley. We found out that Tioga Road was closed in Yosemite and our options (for getting back to Mike's house in Clovis) were hwy 108 or head down 395 to Mojave the Bakersfield. We chose the longer southern route to avoid the smoke.

Heading down 395 south of Bishop brought back memories from the late 70s when I was backpacking the Eastern Sierra from the LA area. Great drive with beautiful scenery and cute little towns.....

Again - see pictures on Picasa: ... directlink


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Re: TR: North Col - Gabbot Pass - Mono Pass Aug 26 - 31

Postby macpaulster » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:53 pm

NIce report, thanks for sharing. Enjoyed the photos too.
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Re: TR: North Col - Gabbot Pass - Mono Pass Aug 26 - 31

Postby cgundersen » Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:16 pm

Hi Manny,
I'm slowly catching up on TRs and enjoyed your photos. Thanks! You guys did a great job getting up and over North col; it's not an easy slog! But, I'm a bit surprised that you missed the very broad log across Mono creek at the base of second recess. It's pretty easy to find as you hunt for places to cross the creek (and it's almost exactly opposite where the Laurel trail runs into the main trail). And, it looks like you were lucky not to have had more problems with Rim fire smoke. Hope 2014 is equally good!
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Re: TR: North Col - Gabbot Pass - Mono Pass Aug 26 - 31

Postby Ska-T » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:20 pm

Very nice trip, Manny! Thanks for the detailed explanation of North Col.
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