Gemini, Seven Gables
By: Igor Mamedalin, Suzanne Thomas-Mamedalin
After securing a permit reservation for eight and a trip list of thirteen 'want-to-gos', we let time do its work. At 8:30 AM on Friday when the boat sailed across Florence Lake only four were onboard: the leaders, their daughter, Tanya. and Vi Grasso. Two other participants, Dale Van Dalsem and Nancy Gordon, went in a day early. Florence Lake was low that year, due to dam re-enforcement construction, and our boat ride was shorter than usual. On the boat I had a discussion with a leader for a Sierra Club National Outing about the prevailing restrictions on mountaineering activities within the club; he considered the Angeles Chapter's Sierra Peaks Section to be an 'outlaw' band sneaking around the Sierra with concealed ice-axes, crampons and ropes. Viva Zapata!
Our initial plan was to catch Mt. Hooper or Mt. Senger on the day in and the other peak on the day out with the middle day devoted to pursuing 7-Gables and Gemini. However, as we hiked up toward Senger Pass in the heat our energies ebbed and the pace slowed. We did not reach camp at the southwestern end of Marie Lake until around 5 PM. Nancy Gordon was there to greet us. That day Nancy and Dale summited Mt. Hooper before Dale marched off over great distances to bag Recess Peak. After setting up camp and enjoying happy hour with dramatic views of 7-Gables, we began to await Dale's return. As darkness began to set in we could discern the sound of a locomotive huffing its way around the lake; shortly Dale arrived in camp, exhausted but successful.
Saturday morning we skirted the southern end of Marie Lake, cut over a short ridge and then proceeded to the meadows at the inlet: to Medley Lakes. From here we headed primarily east up a canyon that led to the saddle/ridge between 7-Cables and Gemini. Exiting the canyon prematurely we rewarded ourselves with a bonus bump before reaching Gemini. We were graced with another clear and warm day in the great Sierra! From Gemini we retraced our steps, minus the bump, to the low point on the ridge leading to 7-Gables where we decided to have lunch. After lunch we contoured across the southern slopes of 7-Gables and then up a series of shallow chutes to within shouting distance of the summit. Here, following a compendium of route descriptions drawn from Bill T. Russell, Jim Murphy, Fred Camphausen. Norm Rohn and Dave Dykeman, we found the 'key' chimney which was led by Dale to the summit. After duly registering our accomplishment in the summit register, we departed from this fine peak by way of the easy class 2 slopes to northwest. The slopes promptly dropped us at the lower of the Medley Lakes from which we contoured around west toward our camp at Marie Lake. That evening everyone was a bit tired but satisfied with the day's accomplishments.
Sunday morning Dale signed out to claim Mt. Senger on his own. Nancy and Vi headed out early for the boat while the leaders dallied around camp into the late morning before hitting the trail back. On the way back we spent some time trying to find the Blaney Hot Springs at the southern end of Blaney Meadows; when found, they proved to be disappointing -muddy. Getting back to Florence Lake we waited for the boat for a long time -long enough for Dale to catch up with Mt. Senger's summit under his hat. During our wait an impatient backpacker jump started a beached motor boat and set off to find the Sierra Queen meeting her halfway across the lake. Everyone was back at the cars by 4:30 PM preparing for the long drive home. Many thanks to everyone for a great trip and to Suzanne and Dale for a great assist.
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