OverviewThe Four Gables is a seldom climbed peak located at the head of Horton Creek Canyon. From the east it is an imposing mountain, with a smooth wall of vertical cliffs stretching from the south end of the canyon to the north, almost like a giant dam. From the west the mountain is quite different, being nothing but a talus pile.
This peak offers some nice views of Bear Creek Spire, Tom, and Mt Humphreys from the summit, and the solitude and beauty of Horton Creek Canyon make this peak an enjoyable climb. The eastiest route from the east is class 2, but the east face offers some technical climbs, such as the The Beagle (IV, 5.9), and from the north one can attempt the Northwest Ridge (V, Class 5).
Note: I'm trying a new table format here but I don't have my guidebook with me at the moment, so the route TH listing may not be accurate.
Getting ThereHorton Lakes TH
If you're hiking in from this trailhead, then the crux of the climb is probably in gettingto the trailhead!
Take HWY 168 west from the center of Bishop. Head about 7.5 miles and turn right onto Buttermilk Road. At this point, the paved road becomes a passable dirt road. As one gets closer to the mountains the road gets more rough. A 4WD vehicle is needed to make it all the way to the trailhead, and having high clearance would be a benefit. Continue on Buttermilk Road past several forks and turn-outs. When in doubt, take a more traveled right fork. At some point, you will reach the marked intersection of Buttermilk Road and the Horton Lakes trailhead road. Turn right here and follow it for another mile until it reaches a small dead tree forest. If it was challenging for your vehicle to get to this point, you may want to leave it here on the shaded pullout where you can still turn your car around. From there hike the final half a mile to the Horton Lakes trailhead. If you have a 4WD vehicle, continue driving along the worsening road a little further as it turns back across the slopes heading north until you reach the locked gate. Park here to approach any of the eastern, southern, or northern routes to the peak.
Piute Pass TH
This trailhead is used to climb Four Gables via the south slopes and is easy to get to.
Take HWY 168 west from the center of Bishop all the way to North Lake. The trailhead is located at the North Lake campground (9,320 ft). The South Slopes route can be reached from this trail via Desolation Lake.
Red TapeA wilderness permit is required for all overnight stays in the Horton Creek drainage from May 1 through November 1, and there is a quota. To find out more about getting a permit, check the Inyo National Forest website.
When To ClimbThis peak can be climbed year-round, although the East and South Ridges might be more enjoyable with a spring snowpack covering the talus.
CampingOne can car camp at the trailhead, but there are nice camping spots along the trail through the occasional flat meadows passed. One can also camp along the shores of Horton Lake, but to get even closer to the peak one can also camp at Upper Horton Lake.
Of course, there is also camping in the wilderness area to the West.
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