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Kaweah basin cross-country route

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Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby shtinkypuppie » Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:23 pm

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
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Kaweahbasin.jpg
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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:56 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 6:15 pm

The gap just east of Lawson Peak is easy enough. For a photo of its north side, go to: http://sierrahiker.home.comcast.net/~si ... index.html
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Re: Kaweah basin cross-country route

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:09 pm

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 2:08 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 6:00 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 10:22 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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