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Kaweah basin cross-country route

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Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby shtinkypuppie » Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:23 pm

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Howdy all,

I am planning a trip into Kaweah basin for late May this year. Right now, the plan is to go in via Timber Gap, Blackrock Pass, and Kaweah Pass, and then come back out the same way. Looking at the topo and satellite, though, it looks like there might be a way to swing around over Picket Creek Pass, go up Picket Creek, hump over the divide coming off Lawson Peak into the upper Kern-Kaweah, then over Pants Pass into Nine Lakes. I haven't been able to find any info on the crossing of the Picket Creek/Kern-Kaweah divide. Picture attached to clarify. Anyone familiar with the area?

(I know I can go over Pyra-Queen, but that looks a little rich for my blood, especially this early in the season)

Thanks in advance!
Eric
"It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the Earth, and in contemplation of her beauties to know wonder and humility"

- Rachel Carson



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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:56 am

The pass you want to cross from Picket Creek I did last year. The South side begins with typical small to medium talus hoping. You aim to the right of the pass where when close to the top you will encounter some class 3 rocks but it's not too difficult. The North side of the pass is easy class 2.

Considering your goal is Pants Pass you probably should cross the next saddle to the West. I have not done it and know little about it other than people have crossed there. It would give you more direct access to Pants Pass.

This set if you scroll down a bit has photos of crossing that pass.

Going from Kaweah Basin to Picket Guard is just an easy little hump to cross.

Pants Pass stick with the route of aiming for the small saddle to the South side of the pass. Reach the top of that and traverse the ridge to the top of the real pass. Much better than climbing the steep sandy col.
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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby sekihiker » Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:15 pm

The gap just east of Lawson Peak is easy enough. For a photo of its north side, go to: http://www.sierrahiker.com/KaweahBasin/index.html
Last edited by sekihiker on Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:09 am

Yes the gap east of Lawson is not very difficult, but would comment on what you wrote
about Pyra-Queen Pass, it is the easiest pass of the 3 from the west, and Kaweah Pass
being the nastiest. As Rouge mention the top sandy section of Pant Pass is very steep
but can be avoided, and that steep sandy section makes it the second most difficult pass
from the west.
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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby shtinkypuppie » Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:08 am

Thanks all for your replies.

Maverick - Judging by the descriptions and the topo map, Kaweah pass looks much easier than Pyra-Queen. Would you mind elaborating on why you prefer Pyra-Queen?
"It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the Earth, and in contemplation of her beauties to know wonder and humility"

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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:00 am

Kaweah Pass has allot of larger loose rock. I was almost killed on the upper section of it when several large rocks took off in front of me and I fell into one of them and was unable to move off/out of it's way as it pushed me down hill towards a small cliff. It stopped about 4 feet away from the edge. Lower down Kaweah there are some medium sized talus fields that give the best foot holds but are quite precarious when they will give way or not.

Pyra Queen on it's west side is mostly a tedious scree climb lower down. The upper section is quite steep but does not pose much of an issue unless snow is present.
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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby jmherrell » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:22 am

I have crossed Pyra-Queen Col twice but have not crossed Kaweah Pass.

I have heard some scary stories about Kaweah Pass.
1. My hiking partner crossed it once, said she would never do it again.
2. Two guys I met by Pickett Creek said it was the most dangerous pass they had ever done.
3. A lady I met on another trip in the area said she was resting on a pickup truck sized boulder below Kaweah Pass and went for a short ride.

A few details about Pyra-Queen Col:
1. There is a steep gully leading down to Lake 11682. On one trip it was full of hard snow and a fall would have sent me on a long trip down to the lake. I chose to do the long climb to get around the top of it.
2. I cannot make sense out of Secor's directions. "Climb the chute that leads up diagonally from right to left ..." The scree chute at the top goes left to right.
3. Dropping down the east side there is a long "wall" blocking the way. There may be a way around the right end but rather than risk a long backtrack I have chosen to go to the left making for a long tedious talus descent.
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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby frozenintime » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:41 pm

i stumbled on this old thread while looking into kaweah basin, and wanted to resurrect it with a question or two.

first:
it seems that folks may be talking about two different spots here.
there are several col's along the ridge between lawson and picket guard peak.

as far as i can define it, the first (closest to lawson) is at ~12310 ft and has that distinctive string of tarns on the north side. this seems to be the one that sekihiker is talking about. it looks to have a relatively easier south side.

the second is at ~12030 ft, with peak 12386 directly to its east. this seems to be the one the original poster is referring to on his map, and maybe rogue is as well? it looks to have a relatively easier north side.

anyway, there may be some confusion above, or at least i'm confused! i'm not totally sure which col maverick and rogue are referring to, or if the original poster ever went, etc.


second:
of the multitudinous paths in and out of kaweah basin, which one is the easiest? (or, better put: least hard;)
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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby maverick » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:34 pm

anyway, there may be some confusion above, or at least i'm confused! i'm not totally sure which col maverick and rogue are referring to, or if the original poster ever went, etc.


second:
of the multitudinous paths in and out of kaweah basin, which one is the easiest? (or, better put: least hard;)


The route indicated on the map, in red, is the easiest route from the north into the Picket Drainage, I have also access this drainage by using the col closer to Lawson, west of col indicated on the map, it is a class 2/3.

Easiest access into Kaweah Basin is from Rockslide Lake from the east, follow the outlet creek emanating from Kaweah Basin, do not follow the creek to closely, otherwise you can run into some class 2/3 stuff about halfway up to the first small lake (small lake before Island Lake, which was the location of the 2015 Meet-up) at the entrance to Kaweah Basin.

From the west, PQC is the easiest (relatively speaking). It could be a while before the snow melts out of the chute leading to the top of QPC this year, so an ice axe and/or crampons may be useful, especially during the morning hours.

Use the search feature, you will find several TR's into Kaweah Basin. :nod:
For example:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13203&hilit=kaweah+basin#p98725
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=14207&hilit=kaweah+basin
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9372&hilit=kaweah+basin#p69781
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=15242&p=114025&hilit=kaweah+basin#p114020
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination, and where the trail ends is where our adventures begin.

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 cross-country route

Postby frozenintime » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:20 pm

thanks for clarifying the lawson ridge, maverick.

i've read those reports and others over the last year. but the thing about you wise sierraphiles is that your definition of 'easy' and 'hard' has been warped by your years of service to the mountains. so instead of asking whether a specific route is 'easy,' i thought that asking what the 'easiest' of them all is. that might get me closer to a place where i can start considering kaweah basin. for instance, the 'tree escalator' route (great name) sounds (relatively) easy re: route finding, terrain, exposure, etc. but it's a bit hard to tell from the descriptions whether i should believe that!

on my first sierra trip, my wife and i tried to ascend the east side of kern canyon at whitney creek. the internet made it sound like a modest challenge, and i did a bunch of research - but we ultimately spent an hour sliding down scree and tangled in manzanita before giving up. :)
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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby maverick » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:25 pm

but the thing about you wise sierraphiles is that your definition of 'easy' and 'hard' has been warped by your years of service to the mountains. so instead of asking whether a specific route is 'easy,' i thought that asking what the 'easiest' of them all is. that might get me closer to a place where i can start considering kaweah basin.


Wise man.

on my first sierra trip, my wife and i tried to ascend the east side of kern canyon at whitney creek. the internet made it sound like a modest challenge, and i did a bunch of research - but we ultimately spent an hour sliding down scree and tangled in manzanita before giving up. :)


Unwise man. :)
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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby frozenintime » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:41 pm

i contain multitudes.
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