Spire Lake Route info

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Softstep
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Spire Lake Route info

Post by Softstep » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:50 pm

Hi Folks,
Im new to the fishing forum. A friend and myself were considering the cross country route to Spire Lake. Ive read an older trip report but
was hoping someone could give us some more accurate info on best route, where to leave the trail etc. Thanks very much Trying to decide between the Gem Lakes area or near the Bear Lake area








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Re: Spire Lake Route info

Post by giantbrookie » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:57 pm

Not sure why this was not answered before. There are at least three approaches to get to Spire, depending on your tastes. You need to be very comfortable with off trail travel and being able to do small scale terrain reading adjustments beyond the topo (and whatever route info you've read) when up there. The details for route over Peppermint Pass (the one under Bear Creek Spire) can be found in the Peppermint Pass info in Secor's book. I have gone over leaving the Little Lakes Valley trail from Gem Lakes (2015) and I recall actually peeling off much earlier (1996) from the upstream end of Long Lake going up toward the Treasure Lakes and then up to Dade L. and over. It is also possible to go up Morgan Pass and then hit the gap through passing over Finch then going past Split L. to Spire. This is how I exited Spire & Split in 1996. It is also possible to do this from the Pine Creek side going up via Bear. I've thought of doing this but haven't had the kind of trip route where this was convenient. One thing to keep in mind is that there is some small scale route finding that is necessary on both the Morgan Pass and Peppermint Pass approaches. Peppermint Pass, for example, is listed as class 3 in guidebooks (both Secor and Roper), but abundant class 2 routes can be found (and my trips across have been entirely class 2). That having been said, the fact that it is listed as class 3 means that if you pick the route wrong Peppermint can get nasty (loose class 3 or worse) and the class 2 is not very pleasant anyway as you get near the top (sharp, angular, loose, metamorphic talus). The Morgan Pass route is actually easier technically but you have to really hit the right bench as you traverse across topography: too high or too low can get you into steep terrain that may go above class 2 and will certainly be unpleasant. The bottom line is that getting to Spire is not physically daunting (my wife and I were hardly world class athletes when we did Spire and Split as an overnighter going in Peppermint and out Morgan), but good on-the-fly as well as pre-planned (topo) off trail route finding is key.

I guess what I am saying here is that if you want more information on getting over Peppermint Pass than is available in print (such as Secor) or online (such as my Topix report in 2015) then it is probably not a good idea (ie not safe) to go there.
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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Spire Lake Route info

Post by robertseeburger » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:38 am

I would add also that I published a trip report in September 2016 going there. I also found Peppermint Pass only class 2, although some of it was tedious.
But I don't recall any class 3 at all. I think there are a variety of approaches to get to the pass from the North. I remember looking over at Treasure Lakes and thinking that going up the creek from Long Lake to Treasure Lakes might have been better than the route I did, which was cut over from about half way between Gem and Chickenfoot Lakes and up the ridge between Gem and Treasure Lakes. But the route I did was doable and relatively easy. The trip report I did had a picture of the Eastern approach from Bear Lake also, so you can see the terrain. It is relatively easy to go down from Spire to the trail from Morgan Creek.

I would add one thing.. I just read the Eastern Sierra Trout Guide and it showed Bear Lake as fishless, and I can report that this is not true.. definitely saw decent size trout there. And one beautiful campsite. Easy half hour walk from the trail (obvious exit point where the trail/road makes a large switchback.)

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Re: Spire Lake Route info

Post by maverick » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:12 am

Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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: Spire Lake Route info

Post by Softstep » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:58 am

Thank you for your information. My hiking buddy and myself ended up going down below Morgan Lakes and cutting off trail at the creek below Bear Lake. Getting to bear lake was
not too bad as we stayed left of the creek, and YES, there are definately fish there.
As we hit the lake there was a feeding frenzie going on, so my buddy immediately got
his lure in the water and was catching 12inch -slightly fatty Rainbows about every other cast. Fun fish as they would jump out of the water and spit out the lure when they could. We released all of them to fight another day. We then stumbled on the campsite you mentioned. Ive seen stone chairs etc., but not a whole living room with
couch, 2 side tables, fireplace with firewood stacked and ready to go! Nice
We left the lake and started up towards Split Lake and we came to a point where the 1/2 mile of Moraine starts. We decided to try going to up to the left of this area but we realized, no picnic up to Spire. Even though its only about a mile and 1/2 its not easy going and you were so right about choosing the right approach. We thought about it and decided to return to Bear Lake and use it as a base camp and day hike
without packs up to the other lakes. Im glad we did as that little Bear Lake turned out to be a great spot. Final thought, Spire Lake= no easy way in or out
ps- we took the old mining road down to the Pine Creek trailhead area. Not my favorite as this old road is an obstacle course of large Shale boulders etc that block the road at various points all the way down.

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Re: Spire Lake Route info

Post by SSSdave » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:03 pm

Suspect Peppermint Pass is rated 2-3 because the north facing side is due north and for much of summers has a corniced snow field. Getting around that snow before most of it melts out can require negotiating steep areas. During my 1984 visit, a normal snow year there were unpleasant snow fields on both sides of the pass. Personally I like the Finch route because the rib one must escape from near that lake is guarded by a not so obvious steep slot to monkey down. At this time of the equinox, Spire is one of the highest Sierra Nevada lakes unblocked towards the rising dawn and sun thus spectacular light is possible.

David

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Re: Spire Lake Route info

Post by Softstep » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:43 am

Going to look at that for the future. Yes being in our early sixties ,we are fit but cautious so Peppermint just didnt seem inviting
Thanks again for the info

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