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Royce lakes basin

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Royce lakes basin

Postby Willythedog » Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:16 pm

Howdy, first time post. Been browsing around HST which seems to have best of both worlds (backcountry fishing and peak baggin) and figured here would be a good place as any to ask this:

Goin to royce lakes basin in 2 weeks, planning to climb Merriam, Royce, and Feather peaks.

Anyone have any knowledge of that area this time of year? I'd really rather not bring snow equipment but I hear the saddles require at least an ice axe year round.



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Re: Royce lakes basin

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:42 am

Hi Willythedog,

Welcome to HST! Please read: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205
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: Royce lakes basin

Postby Willythedog » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:34 am

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 4- Comfortable with trail and/or x-country travel - although i do get a bit lost occasionally haha

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
cool with everything, i try to avoid deeper river crossings because i suck at / cant swim

What is your main interest?
Fishing
Mountaineering
Fishing while drinking
Drinking while fishing

I was going to hike up to pine creek pass and then go cross country to the royce lakes. Was planning on hitting merriam and royce from the saddle between the 2 and then hit feather from the saddle between feather and royce.
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Re: Royce lakes basin

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:51 pm

Usually you can skirt around the northern side of the snowfield going up to
Royce-Merriam Saddle later into the season. It's a close call on whether this
can be done yet, but given the drought conditions 3 years in a row it may be
doable now without an ice axe.
Hopefully someone who has done it recently, either this year or last year, around
this time, will chime in about their experience, and on the conditions they
encountered.

This recent TR will give you some idea of the conditions in the area: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11252&p=84972&hilit=merriam+royce+saddle#p84972

Climber on another site reported this from their climb 6/10/14:

This is a great looking peak and the climb to the saddle over consolidated snow
was fun. I did Merriam first, Royce second. Merriam is the better climb.


June 10, 2014. I left camp at 5:45 am and reached the summit of Merriam Peak at
8:40 am. I was back at the Royce-Merriam saddle at 9:40 am and proceeded on to
summit Royce Peak. I was on the summit of Royce at 10:45 am, and back at the
saddle at 11:44, where I took a nice lunch break. I was back in camp at 2:15 pm
and spent a leisurely afternoon reading. An 8:30 hour day.
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: Royce lakes basin

Postby Willythedog » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:40 pm

Thanks for the reply. I'll probably end up bringing the ice axe but ditching the crampons.

Can't wait for this solo trip, but for now it's off to penner lake in Tahoe national for a group 4th of July backpack / fishing **** storm. Hope it's not ridiculously crowded. I'll post a TR in the fishing section.
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Re: Royce lakes basin

Postby KathyW » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:39 pm

We did it in the middle of August 2007 (a low snow year) without axe/crampons. We were able to skirt around the snow when it was icy in the morning. By the time we came down the snow was soft so we didn't have to skirt around it.

It is a tough call on the gear. If you don't carry the gear and can't get around the snow when it is hard, you can always just wait for it to soften up. We only did Royce on that trip. I might go back and do Merrian sometime.

That is a really pretty area - have fun!
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Re: Royce lakes basin

Postby Willythedog » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:54 pm

Thank you both for the info, I'm looking forward to it. Just gotta bide my time for another week and a half till I get up there
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Re: Royce lakes basin

Postby Willythedog » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:29 am

So, got back from this trip yesterday. First time being up in that area, gotta say its pretty nice, even though the switchbacks up from the valley sucks. I got in to the parking lot Thursday night, apparently during the afternoon it was storming pretty good, with 1/2 inch hail and lightning. Good timing i suppose.

Image
Pine Creek on the way up

Image
Pine Lake

After you get up the switchbacks it flattens out for a few miles. I took the Pine Creek Pass way on the way in. Not too many mosquitos at Pine Lake, got eaten alive at Upper Pine Lake, very few up at Royce Lakes.

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Tarn where you hook a right to go easy cross country to the Royce Lakes

Image
The Royce - Merriam Saddle. Definitely do not need ice axe nor crampons

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Merriam and Royce Peaks

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Took the easy way up Merriam first on Saturday morning.

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Took the easy way up Royce next.

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Merriam from halfway up Royce

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Had to skidaddle off Royce because these things were moving in

Image
Rained on and off through the night, woke up next morning to bright blue skys. Then before you know it, rain clouds come in again

Image
Going down Royce Pass on the way out

Image
It was hailing quite a bit, enough to make the ground look white. Then it turned to rain. Then lightning struck. From what i hear, to determine how far lightning is, you divide the number of seconds between the flash and the bang by 5 and that should tell you the distance in mileage. Well, it was literally 1/2 second between the flash and the loud bang so im guessing what? like 1/10? 1/8? of a mile away? Fun. At least i was in a wooded area.

Image
Pine Creek on the way out, raging a bit from the rain we got

Fishing report, or lack thereof on the way.
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Re: Royce lakes basin

Postby cefire » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:37 am

Rain or no, looks like you got some nice pictures! :thumbsup:
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Re: Royce lakes basin

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:58 am

Wow, it's strange to see the Royce-Merriam saddle without a snowpatch completely blocking it (ie requiring ice axe). It was the usual steep snow in August 1982 when I climbed those two peaks and I was glad I had an ice axe although the snow was configured so that there was good runout in the case of a fall on the upper part. I'm glad the peak climbing part of the trip worked out even if the goldies in those lakes were uncooperative.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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