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Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

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Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby wanderin.jack » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:02 am

Looks like the stars might be aligning in 2014 for me to get into the Kaweah Basin and the Wrights Lake Basin. Going in at Roads End over Colby Pass then into the Kaweah Basin. Hope to also have enough time to get up into the Wrights Lake Basin on the Bighorn Plateau. Then head north on the JMT and coming out at OV.

Any beta on the Kaweah Basin and the Wrights Lake Basin would be appreciated.


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Re: Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby maverick » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:22 pm

HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:01 pm

I've never climbed into Picket Creek from the Kern-Kaweah River but once you are up there it's pretty easy to make your way into Kaweah Basin. You move up Picket Creek for about 0.7 miles and jump over the obvious low saddle there and then just head into the basin.
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Re: Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby Jim F » Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:11 pm

Hi Jack,

As RoguePhotonic notes, once you ascend from the Kern Kaweah River into the eastern end of the Picket Creek Basin the travel over the obvious saddle into Kaweah Basin is easy.

At the eastern end of Picket Creek Basin, just before it steeply drops down to the Kern Kaweah River, there is a beautiful lake with stunning views to the east across the Kern Trench. Wright Lakes Basin will be well visualized from this lake. The campsites at the lake are sensational considering the stunning views to the east.

From this lake I mention above, I have dropped down to the Kern Kaweah River without much difficulty (steep, but class 2) by going due north. I see no reason you could not make it going the opposite direction, but you would really have to pay close attention to where you were headed and planned to top out. I would definitely take a map and compass.

By the way, once you get into the Kaweah Basin remember that you will eventually have to get out of it. If you exit over the passes, that can require some planning. The rock on the Kaweah Peaks Ridge does certainly live up to its reputation: really loose.

Happy Holidays,

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Re: Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby John Dittli » Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:29 pm

There's a great high route from the upper K-K via lake 10,875 into Picket then Kaweah Basin creeks. The descent down the latter, back to the Kern-Kaweah near Rockslide "Lake", is an intimidating knee pounder that requires some route finding; steep walkable slabs for the most part, then some brush down by the river (if you're lucky, you'll find one of the coolest swimming holes in there).

Not much to say about Wrights; there's an old horse trail here and there. If you are headed north (toward Kearsarge) might as well hop over the pass a couple miles north of Tawny Point (pretty casual) and beeline it to Forester.
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Re: Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby lambertiana » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:09 pm

From just below Gallats Lake on the Kern-Kaweah, it is pretty straightforward and barely class 2 to get to Picket Creek. Go up the diagonal line in this slope that is essentially at the top of the talus, near the middle of this picture:
Image

When you go around the corner and beyond the view of this picture, you will be in a broad gully. Continue in the same approximate diagonal traverse, and you will get to the slabs just below the above-mentioned (and spectacular) lake on Picket Creek. Either head straight up the slabs, or continue on the ledge system until you come around another corner and can see Picket Creek crashing down, where you then go straight up. From there you will be in a very small gully, head uphill (north) and then drop over the small rim to the lake. From that lake just head up the drainage and eventually go up and over the divide into Kaweah Basin.

I took Pyra-Queen Col out of Kaweah Basin. Most of the ascent was on solid larger rocks, only the very top of the eastern approach was loose. The drop down the west side was a different story, very loose, especially the initial chute.

If you are interested, full trip report and pics here:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9372&p=69781#p69781
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Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby wanderin.jack » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:46 am

Wow, thanks folks. That's some great info and will take me some time to absorb.


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Re: Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:18 pm

I have only been to upper Wrights Lake Basin, from Rockwell Pass (to the north). There is a good use-trial over that pass, taking off from the Shepherd Pass Trail. The trail becomes apparent as you go higher. I sort of just bumped into it. The uppermost lake is stunning, and has some big fish. The lakes just below Rockwell Pass are not very scenic (old burn area - looks a bit like hell), but fishing is good. The southern string of upper lakes are pretty but I fished each and did not get a bite. That does not mean there are no fish - I did not spend a lot of time at each lake. I personally prefer Wallace Lake Basin.
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Re: Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby sekihiker » Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:48 pm

Having been up and down the creek that drains Kaweah Basin a few times, I have never found the Class 3 barriers mentioned in Secor. It seemed pretty straightforward Class 2 all the way from Rockslide Lake into Kaweah Basin. If you do take that route, though, don't miss out on visiting the lovely lakes on lower Picket Creek. It's easy to cross from Kaweah Basin into Picket Creek canyon via what our HST High Sierra Map calls Picket Creek Pass.
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Re: Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby thegib » Thu Dec 26, 2013 11:46 am

When you descend Colby and reach the K-K river you either descend to ~9600' and traverse to the lowest lake on Picket Ck (very pretty), or, you ascend the K-K just a bit and cut south to the lakes NNE of Lawson Pk and cross the ridge at 12k. Then you descend Picket Guard Ck. The traverse from PG ck to K basin is trivial (in difficulty). Route one is 1200' gain and route two is 1700'.
FWIW I think PG creek is prettier than K basin so I like walking its length. I also think the lowest part of K basin is its prettiest part.

The terrain throughout Wrights lake drainage is some of the easiest x-cntry you'll find. The mistake I make on this route is thinking I can leave K basin, get to the trail, descend to Junction meadow and ascend way up into Wallace or Wright basins in a day. The trail-less descent always slows my partner way down. Your results may vary.
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Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby wanderin.jack » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:34 am

I'm assuming that it's fairly easy to climb Tyndall from inside the Wrights Lake basin. Is that true?


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Re: Kaweah Basin / Wrights Lake Basin beta

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:43 am

Technically easy but miserable. Tons of talus. I climbed the north side (NW rib - anyway the classic route cited in Sierra Classics) - a wonderful exposed Class 3 slab climb (rock shoes help) and descended to the uppermost Wrights Lake. I thought the descent route was pretty miserable. Never have gone up it. As you get lower there are some cliffy areas to avoid.
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