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Gemini Lake Pass or Feather Pass

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Gemini Lake Pass or Feather Pass

Postby irrfin » Thu May 07, 2015 3:05 pm

My first post to HST! I’ll be posting trip reports from this summer and from other areas in the coming month/year.

I've been backpacking since I was 14 years old (1994) and have become a Sierras junky since moving to the west coast in 2006. I'm a teacher so I get 1o weeks in the summer to backpack. I spent winter break doing the Kalalau trail with my brother and wife for the 3rd time and spring break doing Havasu Falls for the 2nd time.

The week before July 4th, 2013 I did a solo 7 day loop trip starting at Bear Creek Dam to Lake Italy, White Bear Lake, Vee Lake and back. Since then I've done additional cross-country including some random trips in Yosemite, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Kings Canyon and even cross country in Henry Coe State Park (when the poison oak permits). I spend about 28+ days a year backpacking due to the flexibility of my job.

My wife and I backpacked 3 separate week long trips in the summer of 2011 starting in June so we are very familiar with snow and even cross country snow travel.

This August we are planning back to back week long backpacking trips. The first trip will follow the Roper Route from Mono Creek Trail to Muir Ranch.

My questions is regarding Feather Pass vs Gemini Lake Pass. The 7 Gables Lakes are a point of interest and seems to be the shorter route to Piute Creek from the Bear Lakes Basin. However, Roper's route follows the Bear Lake Basin west and uses Feather pass which would make more sense if we were continuing south on the HR. Another option seems to be Strough Pass; like Gemini Lake Pass there seems to be limited information and trip reports. All of these passes are rate class 2 and I am wondering if anyone has input or experience with these passes. Our priority is the shortest and easiest cross-country route from Vee Lake to Puite Creek heading east to Muir Ranch.

Our 2nd week will be following a re-ration at Muir Ranch. We will follow the JMT through Evolution Lake area and cross-country to Goddard and loop back to Florence Lake via JMT after the Goddard/Evolution Junction.

Level 4- Comfortable with trail and/or x-country travel, all terrain

6 Nights, 7 Days

Day 1: Mono Creek Trail
Day 2: Upper Mills Creek Lake
Day 3: Lake Italy or White Bear Lake
Day 4: Vee Lake or 7 Gables Lakes
Day 5: Gemini Lake Pass Area (?)
Day 6: Muir Ranch Area via Puite Creek
Last edited by irrfin on Thu May 07, 2015 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Gemini Lake Pass or Feather Pass

Postby ksenn » Thu May 07, 2015 4:23 pm

Hey!

Haven't done Gemini Lake Pass, but check out http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11670 if you haven't already.

I did Feather Pass last year while taking Roper's route from North Lake to Mono Pass. I found Feather Pass to be the easiest of the passes on that trip though it may be different going N-S. Merriam Lake is very nice as is the area just below it's outlet. It's all forested downhill walking to French Canyon and there's somewhat of a use trail, though hard to follow at times.
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Re: Gemini Lake Pass or Feather Pass

Postby maverick » Thu May 07, 2015 6:04 pm

Hi Irrfin,

Welcome to HST! Use the search feature, but this post speaks volumnes, especially with pictures included too: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11670
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Gemini Lake Pass or Feather Pass

Postby irrfin » Thu May 07, 2015 7:02 pm

Thanks for the links. I probably did look at the search results but not with enough detail. I'll bring back a trip report and pictures for a late August post.
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Re: Gemini Lake Pass or Feather Pass

Postby maverick » Thu May 07, 2015 7:20 pm

I'll bring back a trip report and pictures for a late August post.


Great, looking forward to it. If you get time, an intro would be nice :) : viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9329
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Gemini Lake Pass or Feather Pass

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri May 08, 2015 6:11 am

If you take Gemini your plan is to bail off into Piute Creek? I believe it's possible from what I have seen but it's certainly easier to drop down from Merriam Lake. Both passes are similar in terms of difficulty and both take you past a bunch of beautiful lakes.

I'd probably take Feather.
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Re: Gemini Lake Pass or Feather Pass

Postby snowblind » Sat May 09, 2015 9:27 pm

Another nice option that may work well is Ruskie Pass, which I prefer to Feather Pass. You head you up through Seven Gables Lakes and then it drops you between La Salle and Merriam Lakes. A nice bonus (at least the 2 times I have been there) is that the snow on the east side makes it a very easy trip down.
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Re: Gemini Lake Pass or Feather Pass

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun May 10, 2015 2:27 pm

I also have done Ruskie Pass. The only hard part for me was the very top on the Merrium Lake side - some short cliffy sections can be hard for short people. I was carrying a very heavy pack so that may have made it seem more difficult.

I recall that the trail down to French Creek from Merrrium is not the same as the trail marked on the USGS map. We went up the south? of the creek (going down the creek is on your left) and the trail at times gets quite a distance from the creek. I recall my husband's GPS wanted us to take a trail on the other side. The trail somewhat ends at the upper meadow which was no problem when we went up because the trail is very distinct down on French Creek, but may make it more difficult to find From Merrium Lake. There may well be two trails - one on either side of the creek. The one we took was suitable for horses.
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