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TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

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TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby zwoij » Wed May 18, 2016 3:21 pm

July/Aug 2014

A month before inadvertently hiking over Piss Your Pants Pass, I was hobbling with a torn meniscus in my left knee. We made it up Mt Whitney at the end of the High Sierra Trail, but we didn't make it to our other goal - the last lake on Picket Creek, in the heart of the High Sierra, and, according to a man who knows, one of the best places in Sequioa/Kings Canyon. Even so, the details of the trip turned out to be providential.

Why am I writing this now? Because I didn’t know High Sierra Topix existed back then. Now that I do, I have benefitted greatly from the trip reports and posts of others. Plus, Maverick the moderator just got me a great deal on a piece of gear, so I feel I owe some small contribution to the community. (For other types of adventures, by the way, I just started a humble little blog, http://www.explorationandcontemplation.com).

Around January 2014, my friend Brad called and asked if I wanted to join him at a preaching conference during the summer while he was on sabbatical (both of us are pastors). I declined, as I was already planning to attend one (all expenses paid in the Rocky Mountains, thanks to a generous grant by some anonymous proponent of better preaching). But, I responded, if he invited me to hike Mt Whitney with him, I would gladly do that. I didn’t know it, but he was planning to do exactly that as another part of his sabbatical. Did I really want to come along? Yes! I should invite myself to join people on their excursions more often.

I hadn't been backpacking in a lot of years, mostly because children happened – four of them. I got so excited about this trip I actually started to exercise, as in multiple times a week. I left the trip-planning to Brad, who is more experienced, especially in the Sierras, and I started scrounging together some old gear. As I looked around, everyone talked about going ultralight, and I realized how much things had changed. I like the philosophy of ultralight, but I also like the philosophy of ultracheap. My 20 year old REI backpack wasn't very comfortable, but being ultracheap, I tried my wife's slightly newer pack instead. It’s more comfortable than mine, but rather heavy. I didn't care. I was going to get to spend a week in the mountains. I think my total purchases were a $15 nylon shirt from Big 5 and a nice new sleeping pad from REI. That pad, however, was well worth the money; much lighter and more comfortable than the original Therm-a-Rest I had always used before. That pad made me realize what new, lighter gear could be like: comfortable.

You want to hear about the trip, not my cheapskate gear selection. Brad's plan was to hike the High Sierra Trail from Crescent Meadows to Mt Whitney, as normal, but with a couple days of cross country travel. I was completely inexperienced in cross country hiking and to be honest it made me kind of nervous, but I was willing to follow my friend. The goal: the last lake on Picket Creek, deep in the heart of Sequoia-Kings Canyon.

If this link works, you can see our actual route (I'm sure there are better tools out there for this king of thing. Someone please tell me): https://awhite4777.pythonanywhere.com/SierraMapperAlpha/default/mapper/s052/s081/s037/xSnd/s058/s023/s021/s011/s016/s018/m019

When Brad worked in SEKI for a summer, he met a man who calls himself Yogi (anyone here know Yogi?). Yogi worked for one of the concessionaires in the park, but took every summer off to set out on two week solo trips ranging across the park. Brad bought him a beer, spread out a map, and asked for some inside information: "What are your favorite places?" That lake, he said, was his favorite place in the world. For nearly 10 years, Brad had wanted to get to that lake on Picket Creek. But like me, children happened. Now was finally the time. We couldn't wait. (The report of the successful 2015 trip to the lake is here http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=15227&p=113911#p113911

My enthusiasm turned to depression when a 15 mile day hike in Yosemite in May left me using a friend's trekking poles like crutches for the last several miles. Thankfully, that friend is a physical therapist. He mentioned two possibilities: iliotibial band syndrome or a torn meniscus. I didn't like the sounds of either, but especially not the latter. When it didn't get better in a few weeks, a trip to the doctor and an MRI confirmed it. I’ll throw in the technical term for you medical nerds: a lateral cleavage tear in the posterior horn of the meniscus. I would need surgery. I called Brad and said, "I'm out." He would hike it solo.

Depression began to set in as I gave up the dream of a six day hike. I iced, strengthened (mostly glute-strengthening exercises recommended by me physical therapist friend), rested, and prayed. And mourned the loss of my good health and mobility. Was this the beginning of getting old? Surgery would be planned after the summer. Would I be able to hike again after a surgery? Would I be able to play my favorite non-mountain sport, ultimate frisbee?

Somehow, a week before the start date, I was suddenly feeling much better. I tried out a short day hike in the Cascades (my home turf growing up) and the knee felt good. I debated whether I should go on the trip or not. What if the pain flared up again when I was 30 miles from the nearest trailhead? What if I forced Brad to follow some excruciatingly slow pace? I decided I could hike in the first day and if it hurt I would turn around and hobble out on day two.If I continued after day one I was in it for the duration. I called Brad and said, "I'm in!"


Day 1 - Crescent Meadow to Lower Hamilton Lake

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Burly Uber-Athletes or Nerds in the Mountains? I think the answer is obvious.

Brad left the Bay Area at some insane hour to pick me up before dawn in the Central Valley. Even so, we didn’t get a particularly early start. We hiked a pleasant 14 or so miles on day one. Nothing too remarkable. During a break by a little waterfall we spotted a bear, the only one we would see the whole trip.

Around the time we found our camping place for the night, I asked Brad what he had brought in the way of reading materials. "I printed out the Sermon on the Mount to memorize on the trail," he said. "Really?" I responded. "So did I." Brad was incredulous. Without discussing it, we had both chosen to print and memorize the same three chapters. Perhaps all pastors naturally gravitate towards the Sermon on the Mount when backpacking, but to me it was another sign that I couldn't ask for a better backpacking friend. As I mentioned at the beginning, the details of the trip were providential.

Dinner was tacos: corn tortillas, instant refried beans, quick brown rice, and cotija cheese. Seasoned with a little extra chipotle, it was a delicious backpacking meal. My proud invention.That night I left my borrowed trekking poles (told you I was ultracheap) laying against a rock outside the tent. During the night we startled awake to the sound of a trekking pole being dragged against the rock. "Hey Bear!" said Brad, and my heart thumped. Bears at night scare me. "Hey deer!" Yes, it was deer. I jumped out and scared away the deer, several of them. In the morning the strap on the pole was still soaking wet with deer saliva. For the rest of the trip I stowed the poles just underneath the edge of the tent.

Day 2 - Lower Hamilton Lake to Nine Lakes Basin

Lower Hamilton Lake boasts the toilet with the most spectacular view in the world. A half wall around part of the toilet leaves the mountain view unobstructed for your enjoyment while you use the facilities. I happily used the toilet in the brilliant morning light.

Climbing up around Hamilton Lakes was spectacular. The trail is impressively carved, or rather blasted, into the cliff. As we hiked, we talked about attempts to take our kids backpacking. I made the mistake of taking my two older ones to Dinkey Lakes several years ago during the peak of mosquito season. Neither I nor they had gone backpacking since. Brad's secret is to feed them Jolly Ranchers. “When you make it to the top of that hill, you get a Jolly Rancher” works wonders, he said. A few minutes later we ran into a family of hikers, including a boy who was nine or ten. They said they had a rule that their kids had to be able to hike their age in miles in a day. That seemed like a good, but perhaps ambitious goal. I mentioned Brad's Jolly Rancher trick and the father said to the son, "Tell him what you have in your mouth right now." Apparently it's not a secret at all.

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Precipice Lake was a beautiful place for a rest, although we don’t have the photographic skills or equipment of Ansel Adams to capture its beauty.

We passed through the very pleasant Kaweah Gap. Coming down into the Big Arroyo (filled with smoke from the El Portal fire), we veered north (left) off the trail into Nine Lakes Basin. Brad pointed to far off Pants Pass and said, "Tomorrow, we go over that." Looking at the steep pile of talus I said, "That? There is no way anybody could hike over that." "You'll see," he said. "There's always a way once you get up close." I have to confess, the thought made me tighten up inside.

Day 3 - (Piss Your) Pants Pass
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Sure enough, there was indeed a way over the pass. And I enjoyed it, in spite of (or because of?) my nervousness. At the top Brad consulted his data, which said to climb over a short stretch of class 3 rock to another notch, where the descent would be easier. But the top of our pass had no second notch. So we just headed down. We practically skied down the even steeper east side, collecting shoefuls of rocks on the way. Image

At the bottom, Brad consulted the map. The goal, after all, was to get into the Picket Creek Basin and work our way down to the lake. After a minute of studying the map, he realized we had come over the wrong pass. Pants Pass was farther south, and not as obvious a pass as the one we took. Months later, in planning for our 2015 trip, I checked out an older version of RJ Secor's guide to the Sierras. I turned to the section on Pants Pass and found this picture. I had a good laugh, and emailed the picture to Brad. Secor's description of the pass is thankfully inaccurate. The east side is not a cliff.

Piss Your Pants 1.jpg

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But having taken the wrong pass meant we had to climb up a considerable slope consisting entirely of large boulders. Not the most fun terrain, although I didn’t mind. It did set us back some time on the clock, though. We stopped for lunch at a lake that sits right at 11,400 feet, with a lot of miles ahead of us. I ate my sodium bomb of a lunch: Triscuits with salami and sliced parmesan. While I ate this “electrolyte replacement” food a pack of clouds rolled in. There wasn’t much prelude to the three hour symphony of rain, sleet, and thunder that followed. Brad asked, “Is there anywhere we can take shelter?” There wasn’t a tree for miles. As far as we could see the ground was broken up rocks so we couldn’t even set up the tent. Then I remembered we had passed a small overhang of rock on our way to that lake. We raced back and ducked under the ledge. We found it fit two people and two packs. Could it have been more perfect? I adjusted some rocks so that the drip of water wouldn’t splash inwards and get my feet and legs wet. The area just in front of our shelter became a pond as the rain continued to pour.

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At one point during the storm I looked at Brad and said, “I’m having fun!” He looked at me surprised. “This adds to the adventure,” I explained. We got out the stove and brewed coffee and tea. It wasn’t exactly a hobbit hole, but it seemed almost as if we were meant to take a three hour break from the storm there.

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As the rain lightened, we stepped out and marveled at the clouds pouring over Triple Divide Peak and dissipating almost immediately in the Kern-Kaweah Valley. Shortly after the sun was shining and it was as blue and beautiful as it can only be after a rain storm. Unsure whether we could make it over the pass directly above us, we decided to contour around the peak on the north side of the pass to see if we could drop in to the Picket Creek drainage farther east. We discovered that we probably could, but it would require a steep descent/ascent or an arduous contour around a deep bowl containing a lake fed by a waterfall. It was a nice view looking down. Since I hadn’t been dreaming of Yogi Lake for ten years, and still slightly nervous with cross country passes, it was easier for me to accept a detour. We ended at a pristine lake looking down on the Kern-Kaweah Valley. It was one of my favorite places: serenity, solitude, beauty. We arrived with just enough time for a quick dip before nightfall and dinnertime.

Our feast was cumin-seasoned quinoa plus potatoes, with pistachios and raisins thrown in afterward for texture, crunch, and sweetness. Anything tastes good after a full day in the backcountry, but I prefer real food and I enjoy cooking. I eat stuff like this at home, only the potatoes are fresh, not dehydrated, and we throw in plenty of other vegetables.


Day 4 – Kern-Kaweah River, to the Kern River, to the PCT Junction

We spent part of the morning reading with the sunlight warming our backs. It was a beautiful reading room. Brad is a great companion, but while reading and admiring the scenery I found myself suddenly longing to share the experience with my wife. She would love to go, but a medical condition would make us uneasy about her being so removed from help. Our contemplation concluded, we made our way down to the Kern-Kaweah River, at that point a tranquil stream. Near the edge of the stream we noticed many piles of manure from what must have been pack animals, which was surprising. It’s hard to imagine someone packing in to such a remote and trail-less location. A little farther down the river twists its way through meadows in great horseshoe bends. At some point we joined the trail that descends from Colby Pass to the Kern River.
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The river then becomes a classic mountain stream, with happily splashing cascades rushing into pools and riffles. As we descended, the change in plant life was marked. We passed through a grove of aspens, one of my favorite trees. In that area the river was also at its most beautiful. The water flowed into calm pools of rich emerald green. Trout congregated in the clear water. It’s strange how that place pressed itself into my soul. I have thought of its beauty often since then - in the shower, or laying in bed – and it fills me with joy, peace, and longing so sharp it’s almost painful. Perhaps you know what I mean. We only lingered a few moments, as this was the one place during our whole trip where the mosquitoes were a nuisance.

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This is a poor picture of a place that is beautiful beyond description.

At one point the trail veers away from the river to climb up through a notch in the rock wall on the left. It reminded me vaguely of the trail to the Tiger’s Nest monastery that my in-laws saw on a trip to Bhutan, but not nearly so dramatic. The trail down from that point was dry and rocky, almost gravelly, with the foliage seeming more fitting to southern California than the Sierras.

We crossed the Kern River, me slipping off a log and soaking my shoes (should have just waded through barefoot), then walked down to Junction Meadow. The smooth trail through the pines made me wish for a mountain bike to. We saw two strange animals at Junction Meadow: humans. We had gone two full days without seeing another person, and it was wonderful. Remoteness, effort, solitude, beauty – which one takes precedence in my enjoyment of the mountains? Each of these enhances the other, which is why I am now as enchanted with cross country adventure as my friend who first introduced me to it. The two humans we happened to meet at Junction Meadow were a father and son. They had gotten caught in the previous afternoon’s storm near Colby Pass, and had pulled out their tents to take shelter. I found it interesting that the father and son used two separate tents.

Jon Krakauer’s book Eiger Dreams includes a chapter “On Being Tentbound.” Krakauer tells of a couple guys who were tentbound for several days waiting out a storm. One man said he laid in his sleeping bag and acted like he was reading, but really he was “working up a silent rage about the way my tent mate chewed his candy bar.” The moral is: choose your tent mate well. Perhaps this father and son think that the other has a most infuriating way of chewing. (I can’t stand it when my kids chew anywhere near me ear, which seems to happen daily). Brad and I found that after six days in constant company (and sharing a tent) we didn’t tire of each other. We talked a good amount, but were also completely comfortable with long, probably hours-long, stretches of silence. Brad prefers short rest breaks more often than I do, but we hike at a similar pace. I feel blessed to have such a good companion on the trail.

After a short rest, we raced up the trail leading to the PCT, which we had seen angling up from the Kern River towards Wallace Creek on our way down the Kern-Kaweah. The only person at the camp was a young woman from Switzerland. She came and asked if we knew how she could get back around from Whitney Portal to the west side. I was surprised that she hadn’t considered this detail before setting out. But my wife was picking me up at Whitney Portal and she was welcome to a ride as far as Visalia, where she could get a shuttle back to the park and pick up her car.

Day 5 – PCT Junction to Guitar Lake

We heard our friend clanging the door of the bear box at some pre-dawn hour. We slept in. we didn’t have very many miles to cover that day anyway.
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The hike to Guitar Lake was excellent: the high alpine meadows, the view back across the Kern River to where we had crossed the Kaweahs…the highway of people. Actually, I didn’t mind the crowd. We passed two people hiking the other direction, one after the other, who exemplified the old and the new way of backpacking. The first was a jolly, bearded man toiling under an enormous load, a think wooden staff in his hand. We asked where he was coming from. He said, “Oh, I’ve been wandering all over the place.” The very next hiker speedwalked past with pursed lips. His pack was smaller than the packs my kids take to school. How could he possibly survive on what he had in that pack? I wondered. Maybe he was attempting a Fastest Known Time on the John Muir Trail. I can’t help wondering which of the two enjoyed his trip more.

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Timberline Lake was an excellent spot for lunch. I don’t know why I waited until day 5 to break out the instant hummus. My sister put me on to the idea, saying, “I think there was a time when I liked it.” Months spent on the trail as a wilderness counselor with troubled teens ruined her appetite for instant hummus though. I had never had it before, and enjoyed it immensely on multigrain tortillas.

The bin of wag bags near the Crabtree ranger station was thankfully empty, as this meant we didn’t have to haul our excrement up and then down Mt Whitney. In the afternoon we set up camp at Guitar Lake, which was a bustling center of activity. I was just about to remove my last bit of clothing for a quick swim in a secluded corner of the lake when a ranger walked by. I smiled at her, and when she disappeared got my bath. Just a rinse feels wonderful after a day, or in this case, two days of hiking.

We ate some good meals on this trip, but this dinner was the pièce de résistance. Whole wheat macaroni with smoky artisanal sausage (cured by my sister’s farmer friend), olive oil, and real parmesan cheese. The only things that could have improved it were garlic, onion, sun dried tomatoes, and pine nuts. I may take some of those ingredients on future trips.

The thing to do, we found out from a group of teenagers spending a week in the mountains together, is to get up at 2:00am and aim to reach the summit of Whitney by sunrise. So after enjoying the alpenglow we headed for bed.

Day 6 – Guitar Lake to Mt Whitney to Whitney Portal to home

And barely into the next day we got up. Not quite 2:00. More like 2:30. We packed up as quick as we could in the cold and got hiking. We saw headlights bobbing in the dark, making their way up switchbacks that we didn’t think could possibly exist when looking up at the wall above Hitchcock Lakes the afternoon before.

At the trail summit people left their packs in the care of a friendly group of marmots. One guy shivered among the rocks waiting for someone to meet up with him. I dropped my bear can and my pack felt so light I decided to just take it with me to the summit. A tourist from Germany who had made up quite early from the east side said he felt drunk. Unfortunately the only way to cure the intoxication brought on by lack of oxygen is to go down. I think he made it to the summit though. We got glimpses of the sunrise through the windows in the rock near the top. At the final push to the summit I felt weak and lightheaded for a moment myself, but it passed. The view from the peak was smoky in all directions. In fact, on our way east from Crescent Meadows, people who had been on the trail for any longer than us kept asking where all the smoke was coming from. The Big Arroyo apparently has a particularly good topography for collecting smoke. We had heard just before embarking that a fire had started near El Portal, just outside Yosemite. That fire was still pumping smoke into the atmosphere six days later. The view could be clearer, but we enjoyed the summit nonetheless. I took out the stove and brewed a cup of tea. I should have had something fancier than a bag of English breakfast tea (loose leaf at least) at the highest point in the lower 48 states, but it was satisfying. One of the teenagers we met at Guitar Lake had carried a Dr. Pepper for a week in order to drink it at the top.

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A couple finishing the John Muir Trail were at the summit with us. We couldn’t avoid hearing the woman complaining bitterly about how her boyfriend was being a real f*&$*#$%@#$ or something along those lines. An interesting attitude upon reaching the summit of Whitney. Someone at the top looked familiar. She said, “Can I still get that ride?” Our friend from the Swiss Army. She really counted on her good luck! I called my wife from the summit and told her when we would be at Whitney Portal around 1:00 with an extra passenger. It seemed plenty of time, but ended up requiring us to push the pace a little on the way down.

On the way down we didn’t bother counting the famous 99 or however many switchbacks there are. But I did look down at the flatter section of trail alongside a little lake with eagerness for a gentler slope. I marveled at the number of people heading up the trail. Did they only give out 300 permits a day? It seemed like a thousand people were climbing the switchbacks. There was a blind man, being guided at every step by a couple young men, “There’s a step up here. Okay, now your left foot.” There was a man with a handicap in one of his legs, who took one step with his good leg and then pushed the other side up with long poles. I admired the endurance and determination of these two men. At one point a rock the size of a large grapefruit crashed down on the trail about 20 feet behind me. On my head, that rock would have been deadly. Where did it come from, some careless hiker on a switchback above, or was it just its time to obey gravity’s irresistible call?

At the little lake I stopped to take off a layer and fill up on water. Rather stagnant and murky water, but still wet enough for my thirst. When we got back on the trail I soon realized the gentle section of trail lasted about 100 yards, then plunged steeply, unrelentingly downwards, this time without the benefit of switchback and smooth surfaces to walk on. The trail leapt down stairsteps of broken rock, requiring that every step be taken with care. Place right foot here. Reach left foot to that spot. Plant poles here and lower your whole body down after. That descent was a killer.

Several miles down we caught up to our friend. I noticed she was lugging an enormous pack. She guessed it weighed sixty pounds. “Hey, you’re in the Swiss Army, right?” I asked. “Do you have a knife somewhere in that pack? Does it happen to be a Swiss Army knife?” “Yes, I have a Swiss Army knife, but it’s just a standard issue,” she replied. I thought a standard issue Swiss Army knife was the real deal. She was surprised when she learned that Brad and I are both pastors. She said she literally knew no Christians except for maybe a few 80 year old women.

The three of us were enjoying a beer and burger at the café in Whitney Portal when my wife drove up. She had to hunt for parking, it was so packed. Brad was staying the night at the campground then soloing back across to the west side over the next several days. His plan was to strike a use trail along one of the creeks leading to Tulainyo Lake, I believe. We drove him on a couple errands in Lone Pine and said goodbye.

Brad told me later that during the night at Whitney Portal he awoke at 2:00am to the sound of roaring thunder and torrential rain. In the morning people were descending the Whitney trail dejected. There was 6-12 inches of snow at the summit in early August!

Conclusion

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The trip has remained imprinted in my memory. I have revisited our camping spots in my mind as I lay in bed at night. I have journeyed again along the Kern-Kaweah River in my daydreams. I have stood looking across the valleys, rivers, and walls of mountains we crossed to reach our high point. When Brad talked about the lure of the rocky High Sierras, I doubted they could be as beautiful as my forested Cascades. But now I can only repeat the words of John Muir at the end of his first summer in the Sierras.

“I have crossed the Range of Light, surely the best and brightest of all the Lord has built. And rejoicing in its glory, I gladly, gratefully, and hopefully pray I may see it again.”

I was indeed blessed to see it again in the summer of 2015 on several day trips and another six day adventure with Brad. A report of that trip will follow in the not too distant future. And for other adventures, see my humble little blog http://www.explorationandcontemplation.com.
Last edited by zwoij on Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:43 pm, edited 14 times in total.



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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby ERIC » Wed May 18, 2016 7:27 pm

Had more time to look at this after work. Think I've got you sorted out.
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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby ERIC » Wed May 18, 2016 7:49 pm

Very nice report, thanks for posting!

(BTW I went ahead and deleted the technical issues response posts since it appears you now have things sorted out)
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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby dougieb » Thu May 19, 2016 10:18 pm

Excellent trip report. Every time I head to the mountains I am reminded how it feels to be in awe.
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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby Jason » Fri May 20, 2016 8:52 am

That was awesome! Thanks for taking the time to post that report.
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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby sekihiker » Fri May 20, 2016 10:51 am

Your trip reminded me of a trip I took in 1970 that went over "Piss Your Pants" Pass. My hiking partner later became a pastor. Perhaps his career choice had something to do with the descent of that pass. For the report, see: http://www.sierrahiker.com/KernKaweah/index.htm

I hope you get a chance to visit the lakes at the base of Picket Creek valley. It will be well worth the effort. Had you turned south at the base of "Piss Your Pants" Pass" you could have ascended to (what I called Picket Col before I knew it had the name) Lawson Pass then gone down the Picket canyon to the lakes. My three day trip to Kaweah Basin used Lawson Pass as well as the "official" Pants Pass. For that trip report, see: http://www.sierrahiker.com/KaweahBasin/index.html

An area with lakes and beauty similar to lower Picket Creek, you might consider visiting the lakes east of Finger Pass on what I call the West Fork of Goddard Creek. To see how I got there, visit: http://www.sierrahiker.com/ELeConte-Whi ... index.html I didn't include in that report photos of the lovliest areas because I was afraid it might attract too many visitors. Whoops. What am I saying?

By the way, my avatar photo for HSTopix was taken on Piss Your Pants Pass on the above mentioned trip.
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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby zwoij » Fri May 20, 2016 11:06 am

sekihiker wrote: I hope you get a chance to visit the lakes at the base of Picket Creek valley.


We did make it to Picket Creek in 2015. I'll write up that trip report sometime too. And we took Lawson Pass, although I didn't know the name until now. I have already seen some of your fine trip reports, including around the Kaweahs.

Thanks for the tip on another beautiful area. I hope to have a chance to check it out!
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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby balance » Fri May 20, 2016 6:04 pm

Greetings zwoij

Thanks for the nice trip report. Glad you were blessed with the good health to make the trip.

But yuck. Deer saliva. Brutal. No one could have blamed you for turning back after that encounter. :nod:

I'd like to suggest, based on experience, how to make the Sierra Nevada accessible for your wife. There are places where hiking just a few miles can get you to a very nice location. A little research can uncover these locations. It might take some extra gear, but with the right planning you can both be warm and comfortable, clean and well fed up in the mountains. And resorting to bribery might be useful: As in spending a night on the way back at a bed and breakfast or casual resort. Frankly, though I'd skip such luxuries on my own, I really don't mind some hot tea and a fluffy comforter with the right companion after hauling my gear around the mountains. I know you'd both enjoy sharing the beauty and inspiration of the high country: The world the way our Creator made it.

Peace.
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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby copeg » Fri May 20, 2016 8:51 pm

Thanks for posting such a great narrative of your trip. Those lakes along Picket Creek are priceless (good to hear you made it later on another trip - looking forward to another trip report). I recall climbing piss in your pants pass from 9 Lakes Basin - knew it wasn't Pant's Pass but it seemed so alluring at the time - turned around at the top looking down the other side (some nasty snow on the other side a few hundred feet down at the time)
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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby KevinDo » Sat May 21, 2016 3:03 am

Wow great report! Now you got my interested in this lake! Been out to precipice lake once but never went past it...Guess I missed out an a lot!
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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby zwoij » Sat May 21, 2016 8:47 am

balance wrote:I'd like to suggest, based on experience, how to make the Sierra Nevada accessible for your wife. There are places where hiking just a few miles can get you to a very nice location.


Yes, I am considering some of the easier to access options, both for my wife and children. She does indeed love the mountains, but mostly we stick to day hikes. Maybe someday we'll feel confident with her joining me on something longer.
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Re: TR: HST, Piss Your Pants Pass, Whitney

Postby zwoij » Sat May 21, 2016 8:49 am

KevinDo wrote:Wow great report! Now you got my interested in this lake! Been out to precipice lake once but never went past it...Guess I missed out an a lot!


It's worth it! But quite a few more miles past Precipice Lake. I'll tell all about it on the report of our 2015 trip.
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