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July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

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July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby Flux » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:21 am

Well, I had this elaborately awesomely leisure plan to stroll into Bear Lakes, Gables, Royce, and French Canyon for 10 days and fish and bag peaks. Well now that the trip is 2 weeks away I am a bit concerned. It is highly likely that many of those lakes are still frozen and it will be virtually 100% snow coverage back there.

Now I am not heartbroken just yet and we still may wander back there, but visions of early season fishing and bombing around those areas seem to be a bit optimistic. While the weather is turning for the better finally, the fantastic amount of snow is not going any place too quick.

I am trying my best to find Beta and the Backcountry Conditions 2011 thread is a big help. Pictures floating in from the PCT thruhikers are also helpful to gauge the situation.

I am simply wondering what other folks who may have hit the backcountry might be thinking about this type of trip right now in that particular area. Good or bad, lay it on me. We had considered having our packs transported up the first pass by pack train, but I am getting no response from those folks. Not great, but hey, you get what you get and maybe I have to wait until Fall. Biggest concern is to me is seeing the lakes open up. I sure do want to fish back there.

French, Gables, Bear Lakes, Royce.........Thanks in Advance.



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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby windknot » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:41 am

Just my opinion, but I would have to say that this area is a no-go until mid-July at least. Sorry!
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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby Ozark Flip » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:18 pm

I'm with Matt on this one.
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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby Cross Country » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:26 pm

I agree with windknot, mid July is optimistic. Mid August sounds reasonable. On a really high snow year, but way lower than this (I believe 1973), I went to the lake under Eagle Scout Peak at 9500 feet. On July 28 it was almost completely frozen over and the fish were having nothing to do with the lake, and this lake has a Western exposure. They were big fish in a little creek.
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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:36 pm

Go late August or Sept. when everything will be the way you envisioned your trip to
be, also by Sept the hordes of skeeterz will be gone, and all the fish will still be there
waiting for you to catch them.
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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby Cross Country » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:42 pm

I'd like to 2nd what maverick said about the fishing with an emphasis. My experience of late season on a high snow year is that I almost always had really good fishing.
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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:07 pm

It will be difficult to cross the creek at the 9500 foot JMT crossing. Bring your wetsuit. Likely as soon as the last nearby snow bridges melt through, any PCT thru hikers are going to be sorry. Likely little perplexed communities will grow there on each side of the stream.

In 1998 early August, lakes up the east fork were still all or mostly covered in ice and snow. Throughout High Sierra crest basins, I predict a lot of twentysomethings backpackers will get educated this summer.
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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby Flux » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:47 pm

I appreciate all the input and yeah, the optimism is waning for sure.

We have been planning this one for months so it's a bit of a let down, well before it dumped 20 feet in a month. We may still head back for a few days depending on the outcome of my buddies hike today, or maybe just go for it. Not really sure yet. We could always just boot in there to bag Humphrey's and knock around for a couple days looking for fishable lakes. Worst case we go for a long walk with a fishing pole and I have done that plenty.
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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby Flux » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:04 am

FIY, we cancelled and are probably just looking for some lower altitude easy walk ins where the fishing is reasonable and the views are outstanding with a cold beer in one's hand. I'm gonna take the time and just bomb around the east side looking for fishing holes and nice spots to relax.

Shame, but the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby Cross Country » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:31 pm

The fact that you changed you plans because of the conditions make me love you like a brother. We are BP, and wilderness brothers. Smart man.
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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby Flux » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:45 am

I did as much research as I could, but it was the June 23rd aerial photos that convinced me. Thank goodness for that thread because you couldn't even see a lake outline let alone open water in French. I also heard talk that Royce may not even melt out this year. Who knows??

10 days of postholing just to see frozen lakes is not my idea of an epic Backcountry Fishing/Peakbagging expedition. Now I just gotta find a little place where I can can Beerpack to where the fish are waking up.
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Re: July 9th Trip To Seven Gables & French, are we SCREWED???

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:03 am

If your goal were only scenic with no fishing, and if you were experienced with snow, I think the trip would be OK, as long as you were willing to change route if stream crossings were high. Even with all that snow, you would be able to find small patches of dry ground to camp on, particularly if you used a bivy sack. I often camp on the top of a flat rock in my bivy. I have been out several times so far and the snow is hard and easy to walk on in the mornings. I personally like to go out early season in the snow, but accept the restrictions of shorter distances, stopping early afternoon, and taking no chances on crossings and accept the fact that I will have wet feet every day. It is not everyone's cup of tea and I am an experience snow condition mountaineer. I am just saying that snow in the high country is not a trip-stopper per se. The unique scenic value of snow on the mountains is worth the discomforts for me and I have enough experience to have good judgement on when to turn back. Since fishing is a large part of your trip, I agree that you should wait.
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