Seven Gables Trip Report on 3 Climbs


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Mountain climber
Aug 16, 2008 - 03:58pm PT
The Bulgarian-American route on 7 Gables (route E on the photo) was climbed in September 1999 by Stuart Polack and Walt Vennum who named it "The Golden Thread Arete." There is an account of this climb on pages 182-183 of the 2000 American Alpine Journal. Sincerely, Walt Vennum

Social climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Aug 16, 2008 - 04:21pm PT
Excellent TR. Sorry I missed the original post linked above. I especially liked the "next slide please". Cracked me up!

Aug 16, 2008 - 04:22pm PT
I recommend "B". There is good camping at the road end at Bear Diversion Dam. Gradual 17 mile hike from there with only one 1/2 mile semi-steep section about 2 miles in. Did this to the base of Seven Gables in one day with full packs and it wasn't too bad. Hiking along Bear Creek the whole way so water was never scarce. You could still have the mules carry your stuff in and just hike up from Bear Diversion. The road to Bear Diversion is negotiable in 2 wheel drive but rough in sections. Two wheel drives are probably responsible for the washboard sections due to spinning tires however.

My favorite mountain in the Sierra. Thanks for the TR Chris.


Aug 16, 2008 - 05:43pm PT
Looks like it was a lot of fun. Thanks.

Trad climber
Aug 16, 2008 - 06:37pm PT
Looks like a good place to bag some super long routes. Always catches my eye.

Social climber
Oakland, CA.
Aug 19, 2008 - 01:00am PT
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 16, 2009 - 12:48pm PT
There is a story about our climb by Dan Duane in the latest version of Men's Journal. They put the excerpt below on their web site but if you want to read the whole thing you have to buy the magazine:

From Daniel Duane’s My Father’s Mountain:

The 13,075-foot mountain towers over California’s central Sierra Nevada range, and I went up there to replicate the greatest climb of my father’s life. Back in 1988, when he was 49, he scaled one of the sheer rock faces on Seven Gables as part of an expedition with his friend Galen Rowell, a world-class high-altitude climber and adventure photographer. I had been invited along, but I was a novice at the time, only 20 years old, and felt intimidated, so I declined. Afterward Rowell published a report in the American Alpine Journal claiming several first ascents on major peaks, and he included a photo of my father high on Seven Gables, leaning away from the white cliff as he scouted the route above. For me, this was like being a novice surfer, hairing out of a Hawaii trip with your dad and his pro-surfer buddy, and then having Surfer magazine publish a shot of your pops getting barreled at Pipeline. In other words, it was hell, but awesome, too. Rowell gave my father an autographed color print of that image, and it hung framed in our family dining room, torturing me with self-reproach but also giving me the determination to become a better climber and maybe even a professional adventurer like Rowell.

Last year, I finally planned my own Seven Gables trip. I’d long since quit climbing, but this felt like unfinished business….

I had no interest in doing just any route on Seven Gables; I hoped to replicate Rowell’s photo of my father, but with me in his place, at the exact same spot on the mountain. That meant we had to sit there in the cold air, sip scotch, and hash out every nuance of our memories about the two men, from Rowell’s photographic motivations to my father’s actual climbing ability, to speculate about which route they would have picked. For me that meant unearthing and confronting some complicated feelings about both men, and myself.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 6, 2009 - 01:42am PT
C-Mac Bump!
Miss B

Santa Cruz, CA
Jun 21, 2012 - 10:38am PT
If I don't have a 4x4 vehicle do you think I could safely leave my car at the junction of the green and red road and walk the 4x4 road? How long is it?
Do you have any suggestions for other good class 3/4 peak ascents in the 7 gables area or near by? A non-climber friend wants to backpack somewhere in that region, but I'm determined to drag him up at least some peaks.

Thanks. Great TR.
this just in

north fork
Jun 21, 2012 - 10:59am PT
Seven Gables
Seven Gables
Credit: this just in
Credit: this just in

Here's a couple shots from recess peak. It's an easy peak that tops out just below 13000. I plan on going to the gables this summer and looks like the western slope is 3/4th class.

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Jun 21, 2012 - 03:21pm PT
Bump for a great report and beta that flew under my radar before!

This seems to be right up the alley for Pellucid Wombat or Vitaliy

Jun 21, 2012 - 04:58pm PT
Wow, timely. Was just admiring this formation from the JMT this weekend and wanted to look up more about it. What a coincidence!

Jun 21, 2012 - 06:11pm PT
I have gone to 7 Gables from the Hooper Creek diversion dam. It is always fun to visit Crazy Lake (which is right next to Foolish Lake) along the way. Climbing Mount Hooper via the north ridge is a fun scramble that seldom gets done.

I once dropped a water filter crossing the saddle north of Hooper and when I went back three years later, there it was lying in its faded stuff sack right where it fell.

It is about a 9 mile hike with some interesting cross country. It looks like your approach was closer to 12 miles.

Mount Hooper from the north.
Mount Hooper from the north.
Credit: Banquo
Hooper Diversion Dam to 7 Gables.
Hooper Diversion Dam to 7 Gables.
Credit: Banquo
Edison to 7 Gables
Edison to 7 Gables
Credit: Banquo

Trad climber
Jun 25, 2012 - 11:43am PT
I was talking with Eric Tipton, who with Bob Cable did a route in '98 up there...He told me that this is a must visit kind-of-place, on excellent rock in a primo setting....Their route he said follows a column from directly below the summit. I should have taken some notes, as we were drinking and the rest of his info is hard to recall...

He did tell me a funny story aboout the name, he was curious on what Clevenger and Fiddler did, emailed Fiddler about their line, and got back a email stating something along the lines of "oh our route is more aesthetic, and goes straight to the summit on the plum line. It sounds like you guys got a 'Consolation Prize' route" Thus the name

Im working on a master topo for the peak, so this thread and all its info is very helpfull. Thanks all

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 26, 2013 - 10:00pm PT
Got back a week ago from some climbing west of the crest. Can't say I can add much to the disambiguation of wtf goes on on Seven Gables. But I can say, just like everyone else, that it's a sweet peak. We tried to find the classic route. Can't say we succeeded in that mission. We did climb as close to the "Direct East Face" as we could imagine. Can't say it was classic. Nor does it seem consistent with summit register entries describing "Awesome, and no more than 5.7". In the end, what we climbed was 5.9+, loose, steep and direct. No fixed gear, no chalk, enough loose stuff in obvious places that it seems as though we got lost on new terrain.

This photo combines Chris M's above beta, the Moynier Guide, the summit register topo, and our own experience. Git some.
Credit: jedster

Here's the aforementioned summit topo.
Credit: jedster

Additionally, we made up a little video from the endeavor. Enjoy:
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Jul 26, 2013 - 11:57pm PT
^^^Great video, what a beautiful part of the Sierra. Thanks!
tinker b

the commonwealth
Jul 27, 2013 - 07:16am PT
one season working for outward bound based out of sierra summit i obsessed over this route. i couldn't convince anyone qualified to do it, untill i hit up my friend cj. he had 48 hours off. i had 72 hours so we rallied a car to car. starting at the bear creek trailhead we hiked in. sat at the little lake we sused out the route, full of doubt, but we were there and decided to check it out anyway. some fun climbing. cool ridge. we stumbled back to the truck nineteen hours later. hit the mono hot springs and slept. we. were both a little tired for the next course we had to work.
one of my favorite days in the mountains.

Social climber
san joser
Jul 27, 2013 - 11:58am PT
I like the video.

In the late eighties I climbed 7 Gables via the the 4th class route with a buddy. We were high school kids with no money, but we did have enough cash to spring for the ferry on Florence lake. From the far end of the lake we hiked over to the JMT and then North along the JMT over Seldon Pass. This is a good approach if you only have a 2wd car. It's paved all the way to Florence.

A striking feature seen from the Mono Hot Springs area is Bear Dome. It is shown on the map at the start of this thread. There is a great route called "The Bear Edge" (put up by Mark and Bev Powell I believe) that goes right up the middle of the dome. If you have a 4wd it's not even an hour to approach. No problem to climb it in a day and still get back in time for a burger at Mono Hot Springs and a soak in warm tub!

Trad climber
Nevada City
Jul 27, 2013 - 01:22pm PT
very, very nice work.

Sonoma County
Jun 29, 2017 - 04:32pm PT
looks like some fun ridge climbing
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