Seven Gables & Gemini From Lake Thomas Edison

  • Updated: September 04, 2013
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

August 31st to September 3rd, 2013
Seven Gables (13,080')
Gemini (12,880')

Seven Gables was one of the trips I'd planned last summer only to have it derailed by the mystery illness that took me out for a good chunk of the season.

The trailhead at Lake Thomas Edison is a bit of a drive from OC but after hearing repeatedly how spectacular it was camping back there I was determined that the trip was going to happen this summer.

This time I decided as long as we were doing the long haul (the drive + 13 miles hiking in) I might as well add nearby Gemini and push it out from 3 days to 4 making it a relatively laid back affair as they go.

So after the usual last minute shuffle two vehicles set out headed north at 3:30 pm on a Friday.  The drive out was long but consisted of the usual amount of fun.  (Bravo Farms, the best gas station / petting zoo along the 99!)

Eventually we arrived at Lake Thomas Edison and spent the night bivy'd at the Bear Ridge trailhead (Not to be confused with the Bear Ridge Diversion Dam trailhead which was the one we'd actually be hiking in from)

We woke up the next morning and after dropping the other vehicle near the entrance to the jeep road we were off.

The road was actually a bit rough though pickups and an explorer seemed to make it no problem.  Jeff's Fit wasn't going to make it however.

Fortunately we had the party jeep.

And yes this was another kilt trip.  Somehow despite my glorious award winning Memorial Day Massacre kilt wearing summit shot the others were somewhat less enthusiastic about my fashion choices.

However I persevered secure in my awesomeness.

We took off along a pleasant trail that climbed gradually over 13 miles and 3k gain or so.  It felt a lot easier than it sounds.

Most of the others we ran in to along the trail were either PCT / JMT hikers or fishermen.

We did have an unfortunate amount of smoke from the nearby Yosemite fire.  It got worse as the day wore on and by the end of the day we were all clearly smelling smoke every time we breathed in.

We had a tentative plan to camp at either Lou Beverly Lake or Sand Piper.  Upon arriving at Lou Beverly we found an awesome camp along the north shore with a nice view and decided this was to be home.

(Oh and as a side note the turnoff from the main trail to Sandpiper / Lou Beverly isn't signed real well.  We walked past it initially)

The smoke was heavy but seemed to taper off a bit once the sun went down.

We had a nice relaxed night in camp complete with an epicly long game of Cards Against Humanity.  The only bummer was the lack of a campfire yet again due to fire restrictions.

Fortunately the next morning dawned refreshingly clear of smoke and we got moving an hour or so after sun up.

We followed a trail up to Sandpiper Lake where we found another group camped in the hills to the north west of the lake.  Having seen both of the sites I was rather happy we stayed below.

We filled up our water here and set off up the western slope climbing into the large drainage northwest of the peak.

There was a bit of bushwhacking involved here and there.

Things leveled off a bit around 11,400' and the going got a bit easier.  We could see the group that had been camped at Sandpiper was climbing behind us though they came up a bit further to the north.  When we talked to them later it didn't sound like that was any better.

The views were nice and the while the weather looked increasingly questionable it held.

Right below the actual summit there's a brief slightly exposed bit that turned back a few folks from the other group.

We of course were having none of that.

The location with the summit register isn't the very very top however as there is a small summit block requiring a bit of an exposed move to get up and down.

I of course ran up to check it.

This is very exposed.  My mother was not happy.

The move to get up is easy enough if you don't dwell too much on how your foothold looks pretty much detached.  Coming down is a slight bit airier.

With the weather looking a bit less than friendly we headed back down before too long.

We arrived back in camp in daylight and promptly attempted to go swimming in Lou Beverly.  While it's a pretty lake it also turned out to not be very deep.  The deepest spot we managed to find was only a bit below our waist though you occasionally sunk down in the mud making it look a bit deeper.

The only way to really get fully in the water is to crawl along the muddy bottom which didn't quite live up to the dreams of a dip in an alpine lake.  Jeff and Kristen both claimed to have leeches on them but I didn't get anything near as cool.

The lack of a campfire was once again a bit of a bummer but we settled into another record length session of the well loved Cards Against Humanity: A Game For Horrible People and wasted away the hours demonstrating just how horrible we all are.

The next morning we got moving again with the sun.  This time we were headed a bit further back which meant the somewhat questionable weather was a bigger concern.  We booked once we got on the trail.

We walked past Sandpiper and climbed a prominent ridge you can see in the picture above.

It was generally pretty easy going and straightforward.

Granted there was a slight bit of bushwacking here and there...

We followed the ridge dropping down to the right where it was easier going and then climbing up to the peak.

Gemini actually turned out to be a nicer climb than Seven Gables partially due to the fact we took the chute in the middle of the picture below instead of the somewhat easier route around to the right.

We never got into anything that was really 3rd class but it was a fun scramble up.

And from the top we were basically there.

Seven Gables actually looked rather impressive from here.

There's a 3rd class traverse between the two peaks which actually looked like it might be fairly interesting.

When I eventually go back again I'd like to do this route.

We decided to come down around the southern side of the peak as as expected it was a little easier but not as fun.

We hurried back down with one eye on the clouds but again they didn't produce any rain.  And again no headlamps getting back to camp.  *sigh*

We had a 13 mile hike out and a long drive home after that so we planned to be up and out early.  The rain that had been predicted finally decided to make an appearance right about as we were going to get up,

It wasn't much, more just an annoyance in that now our tents and other gear would have to be dried out when we got home that night.

Unfortunately it didn't want to stop so we packed up slightly soggy tents and set off down the trail.

We did most of the hike out in a single shot but we took one extended break at a rather nice spot where we could kick back on the rocks and soak our feet.

And because no trip can be allowed to go too smoothly...

Exiting the parking area I tried to take a slightly too aggressive shortcut down off the rocks.  One slightly bent trailer hitch later I was looking at an alarm on the Jeep dash claiming I had a flat on the back drivers side.

On the plus side I now know how to work the jack on the jeep.

The ride home after that was fairly uneventful.

You Might Also Like