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Royce Lakes

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Royce Lakes

Postby oleander » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:13 am

Hi,

What are the reasonable x-country approaches to Royce Lakes? (We are comfortable with Class 2 or not-too-hairy Class 3.)

Looks pretty straightforward approaching from the north or the east. But what if we're approaching from the south (up the French Canyon trail), or from the upper Merriam Lakes basin or the Bear Lakes basin? Contour lines look pretty nasty both at the lower Royce Lakes outlet into French Canyon and on the passes over to Merriam or Bear Lakes.

- Elizabeth



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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby Vaca Russ » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:46 am

Elizabeth,

We have hiked to Royce #4 from Honeymmon Lake. It is a piece of cake. Just take the trail about a mile past Honeymoon to about the 11,000 foot contour line and go x-country south over the little ridge with the tarn.

The rest of the route is pretty straight forward. I remember a little boulder hopping but nothing that would stop you.

As for answering you question..."approaching from the south (up the French Canyon trail), or from the upper Merriam Lakes basin or the Bear Lakes basin?"...maybe somebody else can help out. I know RiseToADry may have recently studied something maybe in that area, kinda, if you know what I mean. :wink: :wink:

Hope you have fun. It is a beautiful place!

-Russ
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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:41 am

check out viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9628

You're not going up the outlet of the Royces. Pic 6 I think. I agree with Russ that if you're in the french trail, you're going up and around. If you're at the Bears, there are passes there to do it.

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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:45 pm

You can enter from the southeast after heading up the trail a short ways
towards Pine Creek Pass and then skirt the outlet creek emanating from
the smaller lake east of Lake 11656.
From Merriam Lake you can directly get to Royce Lakes via Royce-Merriam
Saddle, but even though it is a class 2 it has a steep, snow filled chute on its
northeastern side that should only be done by folks with ice axe
experience and good self arrest knowledge.
Feather Pass up from Merriam Lake will get you into the Bear Lakes Basin
and either Granite Lake Pass (the more difficult one, especially with snow)
or Italy Pass back to Granite Park region. If you decided to use Italy Pass you'll
have to include another class 2 pass (Dancing Bear Pass) to gain direct access
to Jumble Lake beneath the pass.
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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:25 pm

Here's a rough map of the area. Feel free to download it, mark it or use your own map to talk about the area and what you're thinking. Just mark it and repost or use your own. Best to communicate with proposed routes over maps at this point.

Capture.JPG


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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby paul » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:42 pm

Coming up French Canyon, the easy way is to go almost to Pine Creek pass and then aim for the lakes. Very gentle. From Merriam the easiest is to drop down into French canyon, then same as above. Maybe a little more elevation to gain/lose, but it's easy walking.
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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:49 pm

Or why not use our very own HST Map which includes all the x-country passes
in the area. HST Map
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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby kpeter » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:23 pm

I camped in Granite Park at almost exactly 11,000 near the trail. Then, on a dayhike, walked nearly due south and then SE to reach Lake 11725. It was fairly easy, got steep in a few sections, but not even class 2 in my opinion.

Then wandered downstream along the chain of Lakes until just above the falls.

From the falls we simply contoured our way back to Pine Creek Pass. It was easy. The Lupine was spectacular on these open, wet, south facing hillsides.

Based on this experience I would say the easiest way would be to go to Pine Creek Pass and contour over the the lakes. But going from Granite Park at 11,000 is quite doable. I have not tried going directly uphill from Honeymoon.
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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby rams » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:43 pm

Don't know if this helps, but it shows some of the terrain below Royce Lakes basin in French Canyon. Merriam Peak is the obvious, prominent one on the left (taken 2 weeks ago from Pilot Knob). Pine Creek Pass is either on the very far right or just a bit out of the picture on the right.

merriam.jpg
Merriam from Pilot Knob
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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby snowblind » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:35 pm

I went over the saddle b/t Merriam and Royce recently and really do not understand the need for an ice axe (I know Secor suggests it)...maybe this is due to the dry conditions but I found the snow pretty limited. YMMV.

The walk from French Canyon via Pine Creek pass is very easy and straight-forward (class 1). I found the lowest Royce lake the most interesting.
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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:53 pm

Snowblind wrote:
maybe this is due to the dry conditions but I found the snow pretty limited.


Have been over this pass in June with a lot of snow, so as you mentioned this past
weak winter has made it easier this year.
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Re: Royce Lakes

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:13 pm

snowblind wrote:I went over the saddle b/t Merriam and Royce recently and really do not understand the need for an ice axe (I know Secor suggests it)...maybe this is due to the dry conditions but I found the snow pretty limited.

There is little doubt that this is a function of two consecutive dry winters. I went over the saddle in August on 1982 (as a part of climbing both Royce and Merriam while moving camp from the Royces to Merriam Lake) and there was so much snow you might argue that an ice axe wasn't necessary (I had one). The reason was that there was so much snow there was abundant runout (ie low angle snow at the bottom) should one fall on the steeper upper slopes (an ice axe would still prevent a lot of involuntary elevation loss, however).
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