Pine creek to Bear Lakes questions

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Upthere
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Pine creek to Bear Lakes questions

Post by Upthere » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:06 pm

Hey y’all,

We are doing pine creek to bear lakes basin this weekend . Our dogs are coming with us per usual, and we have 3 nights to do it. Hoping to see granite park and maybe Royce as well.

We’ve done Royce before with the dogs, all the way out and back to the car in one day. We didn’t do the pass that takes you directly up from honeymoon to Royce, but rather went up pine creek pass and cut over the southeast tarn to the lakes.

Are question is, with this info, what route do you recommend to take to make it easiest on the pups into Vee lake and all that goodness? We know of a few, and would like to avoid Italy pass because of the extra miles it poses versus other passes but just want to take the lowest class route to be safe, especially with the snow this year.








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notis
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Re: Pine creek to Bear Lakes questions

Post by notis » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:35 pm

My first thoughts are via Dancing Bear (but you said no Italy Pass) and BeaRoyce Pass (but might still be snow-filled--haven't checked the satellite images). Those would probably be the fastest ways? I know the traverse around the east side of the lake at the top of Royce Pass was really hard on my pup a couple years ago. A rock pile tumbled down to the shore line and the boulders were big. Paws bled :( If you do Royce Pass (to get to BeaRoyce...again it that one's even possible), then you get to avoid that difficult rock jumble.

Edit: some HSTer just took his dog up to Bear Lakes around July 4th. We saw the pup's tracks when we were there, too! His trip report is recent so you could check out that route. More snow might've made for easier travel for the dog, though.

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Re: Pine creek to Bear Lakes questions

Post by giantbrookie » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:44 am

This year in particular, I think the steep snow makes the shorter routes more technically difficult whereas the longer routes (say a route that uses Italy Pass) will be easier. The most direct route is the pass that goes from Granite Park directly into Bear Basin (directly to Black Bear), but this will almost certainly blocked by steep snow on its east side. I recall a post by Mokelumne Kid (?) on this a few years ago and given what we've been seeing in terms of snow/thaw conditions on high passes I think the expectation is that this pass will have very steep snow. This pass allowed me and my wife to get into Bear Basin on day 1 (from Pine Creek) but the fact we encountered no snow was because we went in mid to late September in a very dry year (1991). The Royce-Merriam saddle also features very steep snow in a year such as this, although the year I did it (en route to climb the two peaks) the steep snow had a comforting runout at the bottom. The bottom line is that a bit more distance will keep the technical difficulty down.
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Re: Pine creek to Bear Lakes questions

Post by SSSdave » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:48 am

Agree with GB, you won't be seeing Seven Gables this summer unless your dogs have crampons. I just looked at the latest caltopo High Res image and in that zone there is still tons of snow in crest areas on both sides of the divide. The whole huge talus field below that Black Bear pass is covered with snow. The upper Royce lake and half the next one are ice covered. Not only is that pass steep but it is impossible to climb the rock along the sides as it a cliff. And of course, going over longer Italy Pass cannot be done without more days.

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