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Info Rqst for Hike: Piute Canyon to Seven Gables Lakes

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Info Rqst for Hike: Piute Canyon to Seven Gables Lakes

Postby mmccormack » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:23 am

I am planning a back country trip and am looking for some advice. I am looping between Florence Lake, East Pinnacles, Seven Gables and Thomas Edison Lake. My question pertains to the cross country route from East Pinnacles Creek originating in the Piute Canyon to the Seven Gables Lakes. It appears from the maps that it is doable. However after consulting the Secor book, could not find any relevant information on this route. I have done most of the Roper High Route, and hence am comfortable in very rugged terrain with difficult route finding. Short sections of Class 3 are fine, while longer difficult Class 3 I may tend to avoid.

Thanks for any input you might have.



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Re: Info Rqst for Hike: Piute Canyon to Seven Gables Lakes

Postby SSSdave » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:50 am

Will continue to suggest those asking for information about terrain and routes provide a link to an free online topographic map so discussions can be more meaningful. The http://mapper.acme.com site is the one I usually link to:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.30075,-118.80886&z=15&t=T

The least steep route I see on the map is from that noname lake northeast of Gemini across its north saddle and down the obvious rib. Given 12k elevations likely to have remnant cornice snow fields right at the top till later season. Note the 11400 designation is an USGS mistake as the text ought to read 11800. Between 11500 and 11700 looks to have a certain at least class 3 cliff band I personally would not gamble on finding out about unless someone else already tried it. Class 3 carrying a backpack is of course dangerous. I also don't see a single place east or west in that basin where one might escape out thus the only likely exit is by going back down south towards Piute Creek. I likely have some pics taken from the Vee Lake outlet zone of those slopes I might dig out.
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Re: Info Rqst for Hike: Piute Canyon to Seven Gables Lakes

Postby treadwell » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:17 pm

There might be some helpful info in this post.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4895&p=30229&hilit=pinnacles#p30229
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Re: Info Rqst for Hike: Piute Canyon to Seven Gables Lakes

Postby maverick » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:03 pm

The 2 routes over from above the Aweetasai Lake area are Gemini Lake Pass which
Dave is referring to, and Stough Pass, both class 2.
Gemini is the easier from what I witnessed looking down from the top of Stough.
You may need an ice axe because of the higher than normal snow fall this year, I
was there in Aug several years ago and it was a normal year, and there was snow
in the gully, not some thing to do when icy, and without an ice axe.
Here is the small lake northeast of Gemini:
http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_photos/ ... gemini.jpg
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Re: Info Rqst for Hike: Piute Canyon to Seven Gables Lakes

Postby mmccormack » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:28 pm

Thanks for posting the Acme mapper location. I had not thought to do that yet. I had also thought, based on my own topo map review, that it had the potential to be some pretty difficult terrain. That was why I was hoping to have someone that has done it before comment on the potential route.

The other post that was mentioned, referencing the hiker that went through the area... That hiker had accessed the East Pinnacles drainage but did not go over the saddle into the Seven Gables Lakes area. So there was not useful information for my particular query in that regard.
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Re: Info Rqst for Hike: Piute Canyon to Seven Gables Lakes

Postby mokelumnekid » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:31 pm

If you can swing it, west Pinn is much nicer IMHO.
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Re: Info Rqst for Hike: Piute Canyon to Seven Gables Lakes

Postby mmccormack » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:21 am

Thanks for the suggestion on West Pinnacles. After review, I have decided to route up West Pinnacles over to Seven Gables via the standard passes along that route. Excellent suggestion. Thank you.
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Re: Info Rqst for Hike: Piute Canyon to Seven Gables Lakes

Postby mmccormack » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:45 pm

I am back from my all to short a trip into the backcountry. The route we eventually settled on was up Bear Creek from the Diversion Dam, to Seven Gables Lakes up and over Seven Gables Pass into West Pinnacles and then down into Piute Canyon to Blaney and Florence Lake. The car shuttle was actually a stashed mountain bike.

The first night into we ate dinner at the Mono Hot Springs Campground, then drove the car after sunset and night hiked in on the dirt road to the diversion dam, where we slept for the night. The next day was spent hiking to the first of the Seven Gables Lakes. The next day we climbed Seven Gables Pass, traversed below Gemini and then descended into West Pinnacle area. We got an early start, enjoyed the beautiful lakes and mountains of the West Pinnacles, had a light lunch and then descended from West Pinnacles straight down to Piute Creek. It was a challenge to say the least. The last of the lakes is in a very narrow gorge before the hanging valley plunges 1700 feet to Piute Creek on steep slopes. We saw one use trail, not sure where it went, but followed the WP creek down steeply until it was clear that getting off the creek itself was a good idea. We then downclimbed what turned out to be a multitude of cliff faces, keeping ourself on Class 2 and at times Class 3 sections. Finding a route down was very difficult and required some down and traverse scouting. We eventually found a small ledge, all the time working a bit east, that then took us over to a very steep jumble of rocks amongst precipitous drop-offs. It was our good fortune, as the prospects of climbing back up that jumble of monster rock was disheartening.

Anybody have a similar experience of getting out of West Pinnacles to Piute Canyon? Getting into west Pinnacles from Piute Canyon must be quite a challenge, I can't believe many make it into this remote section of the high country.

I had read in an earlier post from a fellow hiker that had done a high countour east bearing traverse out of the last lake would get us out of there. So that was good to know. We did find a rusted Sierra Cup on the slopes from a previous explorer who no doubt encoutered the same difficulties. In all it was rather exhilerating and adreniline boosting. We got off the slope in time to hike the six miles down to Blaney Meadows and cross the river for a relaxing soak in the hot springs.

The next day we hiked out the 5 miles, caught the water taxi and I hopped on the mountain bike I had stashed at the Florence Lake resort and rode the 9 miles back to the Bear Creek Diversion Dam turnoff.

I appreciated the suggestions and input I gathered from this list in my trip planning.

Mike McCormack
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Re: Info Rqst for Hike: Piute Canyon to Seven Gables Lakes

Postby mokelumnekid » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:46 pm

My take (based on having done it) is to not drop straight down West Pinn into Piute Canyon. Go to Pemmican Lk area. and circle counter-clockwise around the end of the Pinnacles toward E. Pinn creek holding elevation below the Pinnacles. It is a bit scrappy, but no biggie. Once around the southern tip of the Pinnacles, and a ways along toward East Pinn, you can contour down into Piute Canyon no prob. This delivers you into Piute Canyon more easterly than a direct West Pinn descent, but travel is so fast in Piute Canyon that is negligible. Going the other direction (up to to Pinn Creeks from Piute Canyon), which I have not done, would be to start heading up from Hutchinson Meadow for a nice long rising route.
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