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BeaRoyce Pass (unofficial)

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BeaRoyce Pass (unofficial)

Postby robertseeburger » Fri May 15, 2015 4:03 pm

TITLE: BeaRoyce Pass (unofficial)

GENERAL OVERVIEW: This pass provides direct access from the Royce Lake Basin to the upper reaches of Bear Lakes and Vee Lake. It is a relatively easy pass and offers a good alternative for those wishing to do loop trips visiting Lake Italy, Vee Lake and Royce Lakes, without severe elevation gain and loss.

CLASS DIFFICULTY: The pass is class 1-2. The primary difficulty is the steep sand on both sides of the pass.
The sand is quite tedious, losing half a step for each step gained, and this may not be for everyone with a pack at 12,500 feet.

LOCATION: The pass in the John Muir Wilderness. It is about one mile due east of Bearpaw Lake, and between Peak 12918 on the north and Feather Peak on the south.

ELEVATION: 12,560+

USGS TOPO MAP (7.5"): Mount Hilgard - On the HST Map

From Bearpaw Lake on the west, head due east as if you are going over Feather Pass.
At 11,700 and before arriving at a small lakelet, head straight for the obvious pass. Ascend over easy slabs and sand. For the last 200 feet, the sand becomes quite steep and tedious but the climb is not otherwise difficult.

The view from the top to west of Seven Gables is excellent. At the same time, it is the same view you get from
multiple other locations, just a little higher.

On the east side, the primary difficulty is rounding the uppermost Royce Lake. I rounded it on the east side both times I have done the pass and there is moderate talus. Upon inspection, the west side may be easier depending on snow conditions, but I have not tried. After rounding the lake, head over easy slabs until you get to steep sand for the final 200 feet. This is similar to the west side. The view of Royce Lakes from the pass however is unique and I consider it one of the truly fine Sierra views.

I have done this pass two times over the years, the most recent in 2012. It was a little more difficult as a 56 year old than as a 24 year old, but still relatively easy. I have never seen the pass written up, but both times I have seen footprints. Both times I used the pass just trying to manage the number of days I had with seeing Royce and Vee Lakes. I have looked up at the talus on Granite Bear Pass and decided not to attempt it.
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Last edited by ERIC on Sun May 17, 2015 8:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Changed title text to bold lettering

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