Four Gables, Pilot Knob #2
By: John Cheslick
Leaders: John Cheslick and Patty Rambert
The previous week I had been on a week long SPS trip with Keith Martin and Patty Rambert to Mt Goddard and unfortunately it rained everyday and th~ group never made it to Goddard. I was hoping Patty and I were going to have better luck on this three day trip. It turned out that the weather was fantastic with clear skies all three days.
We started for Puite Pass at 8 am after shuttling the packs to the trailhead.
Even though I had a permit for eight, we started out as a group of six due to some late cancellations. (A note for newcomers, get on the waiting list for a trip if it is full and be prepared to go on short notice. If the wait list is short, you will most likely get on the trip.) Our group consisted of Patty and myself, Gary Schenk, Mary Jo Dungfelder, group photographer, Larry Hoak and Colette Simonds.
Piute Pass is one of the easier Sierra passes, with minimal gain and miles to the pass. We were at the pass in about four hours and to our campsite at the south shore of Desolation Lake in another three hours. We were going at a slow to moderate pace all day and one could certainly make better time. However, we were in no rush since our objective for the day was Desolation Lake. On our way to the lake, Larry decided to call it a day and wound up hiking back down to Piute Lake for the night.
Sunday morning, four of us left for the peaks at 6:30am. Ourplan was to follow the south shore of the lake towards Four Gables, up the drainage to the peak, back down to Desolation Lake. The route to Pilot Knob was to go to Wedge Lake, then to the north shore of Square Lake, north of the lake, then west, then north of 11,402, then traverse to the saddle east of Pilot Knob. The route works well and involves minimal up and downs. However, it took longer to do this segment than I had estimated.
During the day we meet numerous people out climbing. We meet three woman, two of whom were out backpacking and climbing for the first time. They had climbed Pilot Knob yesterday after hiking in and were climbing Four Gables on Sunday and then hiking out. We also meet about a half dozen people at the saddle near Pilot Knob. I was surprised to see so many people so far from a trail.
We were on the summit of Four Gables at 9 am and were on the summit of Pilot Knob for a late lunch at 2:15. We were back at camp at 5:30, an eleven hour day including breaks. This is a desolate but beautiful area of the Sierra. We were treated to some wonderful alpenglow on Mt Humphreys both nights.
Monday we got an early start and were back to the cars in four hours and home in LA right at the beginning of rush hour.
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