Sierra Nevada - Gable Lakes
One of the Gable Lakes
One of the Gable Lakes

On July 9-10, 1977, myself, Jim Nettleton and Tom Lanshaw made a 13 mile round trip backpack to the Gable Lakes.

I left Lone Pine at 6 a.m. and picked up Jim and Tom in Bishop about 7:15. We hit the steep trail up Gable Creek about 8 a.m.

We stopped in about a mile at a Tungstar Mine tramway tower to rest and take pictures.

NOTE: At some point about 8,000', near where we took the tram pictures, there is apparently an old abandoned trail that crosses Gable Creek and more or less parallels the tramway up to Hanging Valley and the Hanging Valley and Tungstar Mines. Probably constructed while building the tramway. It is listed as an alternate route to climb Mt. Tom. Also, when the mines were shut down, a temporary "road" was build down from the mines to Pine Creek. It was only a "down" road, being too steep to go up.

Stopped about 11:15 in a valley about a mile below the "cabin" on the creek for lunch and rest.

We made the cabin about 1 p.m. and talked to two boys who had been camped there for several days. They had had good fishing in the lake just above the mine to the south.

We hiked up the trail to the mine and spent an hour or so exploring the compressor, mill and related stuff before moving on to camp at the largest southern lake. We camped across the outlet and up the shore a short ways.

Only 100 tons of tungsten ore was taken from this mine and transported by pack animal. It is probable that the small mill we found was being used to prospect for gold.

Tom and Jim went fishing and pulled in 6 inch Brown Trout as fast as they could throw out flies.

After breakfast Sunday, Jim and I climbed over easy terrain up the lake basin to a saddle which leads over to Hanging Valley and Horton Lake - a possible route to climb Mt. Tom and or visit the Hanging Valley and Tungstar Mines. We then followed the ridge to its highest point - Peak 12,224. We had excellent views of the Gable Lakes and also Mt. Tom and the Horton Lakes.

The route to the saddle is also an alternate route to climb Mt. Tom as described in this Piero Scaruffi trip report.

Around 2 p.m. we descended directly to camp over class 3 terrain - contouring west from gully to gully. Not too difficult but required some care in route finding to avoid dropping down to dangerous parts of the gullies. Arrived at camp about 3:30 p.m. and headed down about 4 p.m., arriving at the car just after 6 p.m. It was a great trip.

NOTE: As of 2005, all fish have been removed from the Gable Lakes by the California Department of Fish and Game to protect the mountain yellow-legged frog.
Gable Lakes route map
The RED line is the route to camp. The GREEN line is the route climbed to Peak 12224 - up via the saddle on the south, then directly down to camp
Tungstar Mine Tramway on Gable Lakes Trail - 1977
Tungstar Mine Tramway on Gable Lakes Trail - 1977
Tungstar Mine Tramway on Gable Lakes Trail - 1977
Tungstar Mine Tramway on Gable Lakes Trail - 1977

Tungstar Mine Tramway on Gable Lakes Trail - 1977
Tungstar Mine Tramway on Gable Lakes Trail - 1977
Tungstar Mine Tramway on Gable Lakes Trail - 1977
Tungstar Mine Tramway on Gable Lakes Trail - 1977

Gable Creek - 1977
Gable Creek - 1977
Gable Lakes - 1977
Gable Lakes - 1977

Mine cabin on Gable Creek trail - 1977
Mine cabin on Gable Creek trail - 1977
Compressor at Gable Lakes mine - 1977
Compressor at Gable Lakes mine - 1977

Gable Lakes mine mill - 1977
Gable Lakes mine mill - 1977

Gable Lakes mine mill - 1977
Gable Lakes mine mill - 1977
Gable Lakes mine mill - 1977
Gable Lakes mine mill - 1977

One of the Gable Lakes - 1977
One of the Gable Lakes - 1977
Horton Lake from the saddle above Hanging Valley on the way to Peak 12224. The beginning of the road to Hanging Valley can be seen as it starts up the slope from the lake - 1977
Horton Lake from the saddle above Hanging Valley on the way to Peak 12224. The beginning of the road to Hanging Valley can be seen as it starts up the slope from the lake - 1977

Mt Tom from the saddle above Hanging Valley on the way to Peak 12224. The road coming up from Horton Lake can be seen near the lower right. The Tungstar Mine can be seen above the end of the road left of center. The Hanging Valley Mine can just barely be seen toward the middle left - 1977
Mt Tom from the saddle above Hanging Valley on the way to Peak 12224. The road coming up from Horton Lake can be seen near the lower right. The Tungstar Mine can be seen above the end of the road left of center. The Hanging Valley Mine can just barely be seen toward the middle left - 1977
Upper Horton Lake from from the saddle on the way to Peak 12224 - 1977
Upper Horton Lake from from the saddle on the way to Peak 12224 - 1977

Gable Lakes from the saddle on the way to Peak 12224 - 1977
Gable Lakes from the saddle on the way to Peak 12224 - 1977
Gable Lakes from Peak 12224 - 1977
Gable Lakes from Peak 12224 - 1977