California Mountain Adventures - The Seven Gables Loop

in hive-114105 •  6 months ago  (edited)

7gables cover.png

Welcome to this edition of

California Mountain Adventures!!

In this adventure I head up into the Sierra Nevada mountains for a backpacking loop all around and to the top of...

Seven Gables!!


I made the long, loooong drive up highway 168 passed Shaver and Huntington lakes over Kaiser pass and all the way out the treacherous one lane road to the Vermillion Valley Resort at Edison Lake. I met my buddy Rogue Photonic there and we camped in the backpackers camping area and enjoyed a night at the resort. The next morning we drove over to the Bear Creek trailhead. The trail started with a short climb over Bear ridge and then followed up Bear Creek passing lots of beautiful waterfalls, pools, meadows, and Aspen groves. About 10 miles in we merged with the John Muir Trail for a few miles before leaving the trail and heading up the East Fork of Bear creek. We found a nice spot by the creek and setup our first camp.

Views from the road to Edison lake

Bear Creek

Blooming Leopard Lillies in the meadows

Pools in Bear Creek

Waterslide at Bear Creek

The East Fork Bear Creek

The next morning we climbed up the East Fork into the Seven Gables lakes basin. The basin was an amazing area filled with beautiful lakes ringed in lush meadows and smooth granite all surrounded by huge jagged peaks. We made our way across the basin and climbed up to the largest lake in the basin... Vee lake! We setup camp on the northern shore and discussed discussed climbing Feather peak, but decided against it due to a storm that hit us with some light rain as well as the fact that our buddy Alpine Mike was supposed to be meeting us there and we didn't know when he was going to arrive as he was coming from a completely different route than us. So I did some trout fishing in the lake while we waited and soon enough... we see a hiker coming down and around the lake. It was Mike! Mike setup his tent and we enjoyed our first night as a trio.

Climbing into Seven Gables lakes basin

The Spirit of America Peak towering over the basin

Seven Gables lakes

Seven Gables lakes

Seven Gables lakes

Rogue hiking across the basin

Our camp at Vee lake

Catching a Golden trout

Rogue and Mike getting some photos

The next morning we packed up and left Vee lake. We hiked across the Seven Gables lakes basin and climbed up to the lake at Gemini pass. We dropped our packs at the lake and made the climb up the steep and loose scree and ice filled northeast chute. From there we got onto the north ridge and climbed up it to the summit of Gemini(12,880')!! We hung out on the summit for a bit enjoying the awesome views and then headed back down to the lake at the pass. I got down first and while I waited for Mike and Rogue I took an icy cold dip in the lake at the pass. It was SO COLD! Yet afterwards it felt totally refreshing! Feeling fresh I descended into the East Pinnacles creek basin passing Jawbone lake, Council lake, Poacho lake, and Negit lake all the way to Big Moccasin lake. Big Moccasin sits right on the edge of a huge drop off overlooking Piute canyon. We setup camp at the lake and enjoyed another lovely evening surrounded by the beauty of the High Sierra.

Blooming Shooting Stars

Seven Gables lakes

Seven Gables lakes

Selfie on the way up Gemini pass

Gemini pass lake

Overlooking Seven Gables lakes

Climbing up the northeast chute

Looking down the chute

The summit of Gemini from the north ridge

Looking at Seven Gables from the summit of Gemini

Me on the summit of Gemini

Lichen and blooming Skypilots at the top of the chute

Gemini pass lake

Gemini pass lake

Dropping into East Pinnacles creek basin

Me at Jawbone lake

Overlooking Big Moccasin lake

Rogue and Mike getting some pictures overlooking Piute canyon

Dusk at Big Moccasin

Full moon shining over our camp

In the morning we left Big Moccasin lake, headed down passed Little Moccasin lake, and then traversed around the Pinnacles ridge. A long rugged ridge topped with gnarly crags making it look like a huge granite sawblade! We made our way west around the ridge enjoying the huge views over Piute canyon and then started making our way up the West Pinnacles creek drainage. We hiked up into the basin passing another set of beautiful lakes. We hiked by Pemmican lake, Spearpoint lake, Big Chief lake, Old Squaw lake, and then found a nice spot to make our camp at Wampum lake. After camp was setup we set off to climb Turret peak(12,091'). From Wampum it was a short climb onto Turret's north ridge and then and easy climb up to the summit rocks. We signed the summit register and enjoyed the views for a bit and then started back. Not far from the summit there was a tiny lake with the perfect 15' high overhanging rock. And although I knew it was gonna be SO cold I had to jump in! After that Rogue, Mike, and myself made our way back to camp for another beautiful night in the Sierra.

Pinnacles ridge from Big Moccasin lake

Little Moccasin lake

East Pinnacles drainage

Pemmican lake

Blooming Shooting Stars at Pemmican lake

Spearhead lake

Old Squaw lake

Wampum lake

Wampum lake

Blooming Indian Paintbrush

Climbing onto the north ridge of Turret peak. Looking at Big Chief and Old Squaw lakes down below.

Turret peak lakes

The north ridge of Turret peak

Lonely wildflowers on the north ridge

On the summit of Turret peak. Senger peak behind me on the left and Seven Gables on the right.

Rogue Photonic on the summit of Turret peak

Chilling in my tent

Evening at Wampum lake

The next day we packed up camp and headed for Mt. Senger. But once we had a view of the route, and saw the big drop into the upper Senger creek drainage and the brutal climb up the other side, both Rogue and Mike decided they were gonna skip the climb and head straight to Sandpiper lake. I love a good sufferfest so I headed for the peak. The climb was a combo of a steep loose scree chute and a class 3 ridgeline. Once on the summit I was SO glad I had decided to make the climb! The views were epic in every direction! I had a good long lunch break on the summit and then started my descent down to Three Island lake and down through the Medley lakes and then met back up with Rogue and Mike who had already setup camp at Sandpiper lake.

Looking at Mt. Senger

Climbing Mt. Senger

Climbing Mt. Senger

Mt. Senger summit register

Views from the summit

Three Island lake

Three Island lake

Medley lakes

Medley lakes

Sandpiper lake

Our camp at Sandpiper lake

Overlooking the lake from our camp

Sunset from camp

The next day our mission was the summit of Seven Gables(13,160')! We left Sandpiper lake and started climbing toward the peak. We climbed the northwest slope up to the west ridge and then followed the ridge up to the epic summit rocks!! We took lots of pictures and had some lunch while enjoying all the awesome views from the summit. On the way down I made a side trip up to the nearby Spirit of America peak(12,640)! The views were way awesome, but I couldn't hang out on the summit long because a thunderstorm was building so I quickly made my way back down. Once back at camp the thunderstorm moved in, but that didn't stop me and Rouge from going out for some mid storm cliff jumping into the lake!! Later the storm calmed down and we enjoyed our last night together.

Overlooking Sandpiper lake

Blooming Bigelow Sneezeweed on the slopes of Seven Gables

Climbing the northwest slope

Standing on the west ridge

Views looking east from Seven Gables

Views looking west from Seven Gables

On Seven Gables

Standing on the summit block

Sitting on the summit block

Rogue on the summit

Approaching The Spirit of America peak

Selfie on The Spirit of America peak with Seven Gables lakes and Vee lake way down below

Watching the storm move in over Sandpiper lake

The next morning I woke up pre dawn. Getting an early start for my long hike out. Leaving Rogue and Mike who had plans to continue on up the Hilgard branch to Lake Italy... but I had to go. I hiked down passed Lou Beverly lake and then worked my way back down Bear creek. Stopping for a refreshing swim in the creek before hiking over Bear ridge back to the trailhead where we started!

Lou Beverly lake in the early morning light

Bear creek

Cliff jumping in Bear creek

Hiking back over Bear ridge

And that's going to be it for this

California Mountain Adventure!



all photos by @derekrichardson

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Oh my gosh what a beautiful place! I am always astounded by what California has to offer <3

Yep! California has such an amazing variety of scenery. The coastline, the deserts, and the incredible mountain ranges!

What a super long post but I really enjoyed it. I'm wondering how long did it take to complete the Seven Gables Loop. Must have been a magnificent experience out there. From the camp site by the lake to the views from the highest peak. Not to mention the fishing. I would really enjoy this adventure if I get a chance but thank you very much for sharing your adventure.

Thanks @watersnake101! This was a seven day trip. Seven days for Seven Gables. lol!

What a beautiful adventure you had! I was mesmerized by the photos in this post. Thanks for the virtual tour!

My pleasure. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

How beautiful the mountains. You adventure seemed awesome.

Thank you @justclickindiva.

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Oh dear. This is paradise. I envy you.

It really is a mountain paradise up there!

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Absolutely fabulous, one with nature. Excellent photography to give us an idea of the sheer magnificent beauty on these hikes you take.

If I got up there you would never be able to drag me down, the shale gives me wobbly legs just looking at it. Getting up never was the problem, not to the heights you achieve, coming down...

Thanks @joanstewart! I'm happy you enjoy my photos! And yes, going down can very often be even scarier than going up. But unless I wanna live out my last moment starving on a lonely peak, getting down has gotta be part of the deal. lol!

Hiya, @LivingUKTaiwan here, just swinging by to let you know that this post made into our Top 3 in Daily Travel Digest #757.

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Beautiful creek💙

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Heres 117 SAND, which are $0.0095 UD So... I basically just gave you $1 in EOS, well, after 75% curation ;D and you must wait 2 weeks like a paycheck ;D

But SAND is worth 18.63 EOS, 9085 SAND or 76+$ USD in Volume today!

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I see you aren't afraid of heights, lol. If I stood at the edge of a rock cliff like that, I'd probably get dizzy and fall off! What a great set of photos you've given us to enjoy. Thank you for sharing!

Thanks @free-reign! I'm glad you enjoyed my photos! You are right, I'm not afraid of heights. It's a requirement for being a serious mountaineer. Getting scared or nervous on the mountain is bad and can be quite dangerous. Keeping your mind calm and focused is key for a successful climb.

I'd love to be able to enjoy mountaineering, but gravity pulls at me really hard, lol!

A perfectly sunny day, with photos of an extremely charming landscape. It has to be great to camp and have a full moon. I imagine the depth of the sky and the brightness that all the stars reflected. I have traveled with you, my friend, because every image has been impregnated in my mind.
Thanks for sharing every detail.

Thanks for joining me in the adventure @oneray!

It was really exciting

Waaoooo its amazing...congratulations for excelente post...

Thank you @carolinacardoza!

Amazing post. California is so big, so magestic

Thanks @hlezama! California really is a big place with a large variety of ecosystems. Beaches, deserts, forests, rivers, agriculture, cities, and of course my favorite... the high elevation mountains!

What a fantastic trip! That looks so absolutely beautiful.

Thanks @wwwiebe! The Sierra Nevada is a really beautiful mountain range.

Amazing nature , tree Tuesday , skies and life all these tags in one blog and leaving me jealous ! Thanx you for Taking me on the trip with this blog

Hehe! Thanks @brittandjosie. I'm happy you enjoyed it! It was an awesome adventure.

Wow! A marathon post of pure beauty here my friend,
Glad that you guys enjoyed the trip and the freedom in your shots can certainly be felt.

A Golden Trout!! I used to catch them every so often in the streams of Pennsylvania. BEAUTIFUL fish :-D Catch and release all the way. I so want to fish Bear Creek now :-)

Wow!!!!!! Oh how I miss hiking the mountains in California. Your photos are unbelievable, what an adventure :)

Thank you @birdsinparadise! It was a really awesome adventure!

What a beautiful trip @derekrichardson 👍


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Thank you @wonderwop!

Wow, that was an epic adventure indeed, @derekrichardson. I really enjoyed reading about it!

So you did get up over 13,000 feet. I was wondering, when I think the first summit you reported was 12,880. The air can get a little thin up there!

You are brave to jump into those icy cold mountain lakes — especially the one when there was a thunderstorm! But I bet it was refreshing.

Great views. I went backpacking in the Sierras many years ago, and this takes me back! Amazing post.

Thanks @jayna! Yep, I got into some thin air! Luckily I've never had any issues with altitude sickness. The lakes were all freezing cold, but it's always worth it afterward. Totally refreshing!

I’ve never had altitude sickness either, but I’ve backpacked with people who were incapacitated by it. It’s horrible for those who do experience it!

Wow that was some trip you had, looks stunning!

It was indeed!