SHR day 7: Lake Italy to Mosquito Flat; Hilgard, Gabb, Dade

SW to Seven Gables from Gabb

SW to Seven Gables from Gabb

(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.

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