(I’m finally done with the backpack, but will probably skip writing up most of what I’ve done since. — ed.)
I woke to cooler temperatures and, thinking of the previous evening’s lenticular clouds, I felt that the weather might be changing for the worse. Rather than spend another day going over Gabbott Pass and through the Mono Recesses, I decided to pack straight out to Mosquito Flat. After quickly dispatching Mount Hilgard, I packed up, bid farewell to the couple across the lake, and made my way around the northwest side toward Gabbott Pass.
I hadn’t figured out how I would reach Rock Creek yet, but it looked easy enough to cross the ridge west of Bear Creek Spire. As I got closer, I saw an apparently-climbable route near Dade, hopefully leading to the standard hourglass route on the opposite side. If I were right, it would be easy class 2 from there to Dade’s summit, and a convenient descent down a loose chute to Treasure Lakes.
Dropping my pack, I set off to dispatch the deceptively-close-looking Gabb. While it is an easy boulder-hop from the southeast, well left of the pass, I for some reason headed more straight toward the summit, and quickly found problems. Like much of this part of the Sierra, this part of Gabb is a talus pile partially covered in loose sand and gravel. The talus I had chosen grew larger toward the ridge, frequently forcing me to backtrack when the climbing exceeded my one-handed abilities. I reached the ridge north of the summit, and was nearly turned back by some exposed, dicey class 3-4 climbing. Caution, creativity, one-handed fist jamming, and a bit of awkward writhing got me to the summit. I gratefully took the easy way down.
My apparent ramp worked, dropping me above a lake at the top of the hourglass, though it was infested with more miserable sand. After tagging Dade’s summit, I made my way down the completely dry hourglass, finding it incredibly loose; going down worked, but it may not be physically possible to climb it without snow. From the base, I made my way to the Treasure Lakes, where I washed up as best I could, thinking that being semi-clean would probably improve my odds of finding a ride back toward Onion Valley. As it turned out, this was unnecessary, as I met Jonathan and a friend while hanging out in the parking lot, bumming a ride, shower, and dinner.