The day in
Over the 4th of July weekend I headed to the Sierra Nevada outside Bishop, CA, for a quick trip up to Royce Lakes. The hike up from Pine Creek TH is sustained, but not overly steep, and within 5 (?) hours or so camp was made on the high plateau east of the lowest Royce Lake. It was a clear and windy day and I spent the remainder casually wandering the shores of the 2 lower Royce Lakes, and gawking off into the distance at the big views to be had from camp before crawling in and dozing off to the sound of wind buffeting the tent.
Morning broke clear and windy again, and after snapping a dawn pic I dozed off for a couple more hours before rising and heading out. My goal was to summit Merriam and Royce. Well, as is often my case, I got sidetracked. Sorta. I headed over to Merriam's south face and gained the south ridge, and then got lost in marveling at the big views it afforded. I contemplated dropping down into Merriam Lake's basin for as long as I could spend before then gaining the Merriam/Royce saddle, but laziness (Lose all that elevation just to have to gain it back ? pffft. That sounds like work), and more importantly the desire to come back to Merriam Lake another day to spend a night or 2, won over. So instead I stayed high. Bad choice. That easy going ridge got nasty. Very broken. More than I was comfortable with. After a couple down and ups across chutes and ribs, I decided to bail about 100' vertical from the summit. And anyway, I will be returning to Merriam Lake some day, so I'll do it right then. I regret nothing. So I backtracked the way I had came and spent the remainder of the day wandering around the upper 2 Royce Lakes and more of the high plateau from Treasure BM and south. Midway thru today clouds started to build, and I closed the day out watching the shifting light flow across "French Bench" to the south east, as well as Mount Humphreys and Glacier Divide. Just after the last light faded it started to rain light and intermittent and I eventually drifted off to sleep.
Mount Humphreys & Glacier Divide
The day out
This morning broke still and slightly cloudy. Soon the clouds started to pile up and a slate gray sky dominated. As I sauntered back out the way I had came, mosquito's made their first appearance. If you stopped, they were thick. If you walked, they were thick. So deet was applied and I was able to take my breaks and relax without losing more blood. Then back to the car and stupid 105 degree heat in Vegas. At least I got to cool off for a while.
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