Mount Gilbert, Mount Johnson
By: Greg Roach
This trip was supposed to be a provisional lead for Maria Roa but she got giardia and couldn't come, so I took over as leader and Rich Gnagy was the assistant leader. The other members of the group were Allan Conrad, Gary Craig, Terry Flood, Tom Randel, and Mirna Roach.
We left the parking lot at South Lake Saturday morning after shuttling some cars down to the overflow backpacker parking area and were soon up at the largest Treasure Lakes 10,688. It is about 4 miles and 1,000 feet elevation gain to here along a good heavily used trail. We then followed a use trail which goes up along the stream to the next higher lakes. In about a half mile cross the stream and climb over some rock slabs and you will be at the chain of three lakes at elevation 11, 175. There are good camp sites here and it is never as crowded as the lower lakes. We camped at the northernmost lake. After setting up camp we had some lunch and then continued up the drainage to Mt. Johnson.
We crossed a snow field as we climbed up past the next higher lake on its east side and arrived at the highest of the treasure Lakes. From here we then climbed directly up the northeast ridge of Mt. Johnson staying a little bit on the east side. Halfway up we came to a broad chute to the top of the ridge where we could look down the other side and see Treasure Col and Mt. Gilbert - the route for tomorrow. From the saddle we continued on up the ridge staying on the east side until right below the high point. Then up to the summit where we enjoyed the view. This route is very straight forward. We were back in camp in time for an early dinner.
The next morning we were off early to climb Mt. Gilbert. This time we passed the next higher lake in the drainage on its western side and headed up the canyon towards Treasure Col. The snow was very hard as we came to the first snowfield. Those of us who had crampons put them on here and we cut steps in the snow for the people who did not think they would be necessary. Treasure Col is located about 0.3 mile northwest of Mt. Johnson. There was snow on the lower half of the chute leading up to the col. The rock on the side of the chute was loose and we found it better going in the middle of the chute. We stopped at the top of the Col for a snack and enjoyed the view. The southern side of the col is not as steep and we followed the ledges down the south side angling over towards Mt. Gilbert. The southeast side of Mt. Gilbert is easy class 2 with a plateaulike summit. The north and east sides of the peak are steep drop-offs. Some of us had fun climbing up on a large boulder on the east side of the plateau overlooking the drop-off. (see cover photo)
This was an enjoyable trip. The weather was perfect, the wildflowers were out, and even the mosquitos were not too numerous. Thanks to everyone who joined the outing.
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