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Hiking up the sides of Big Arroyo and Kern River Canyons

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Re: Hiking up the sides of Big Arroyo and Kern River Canyons

Postby fourputt » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:08 am

I’ve done the Chagoopa - Big Arroyo route 6 times (four descending, twice ascending which is harder) and the Cal Topo squares correctly. From Mineral King it’s the most direct access to the Kern and is mentioned in Steve Roper's "Climber's Guide to the High Sierra."

A person I know who “went west” from Moraine Lake said they ran into difficulties. A navigational aid descending is to aim for the Willow Creek-Big Arroyo confluence from the rim due south of the midpoint between the Sky Parlor junction and Moraine Lake.



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Re: Hiking up the sides of Big Arroyo and Kern River Canyons

Postby SSSdave » Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:20 pm

Topo shows your route might cliff out between 9000 and 9080 feet. Tomba caltopo route is the obvious choice on the newer 7.5m USGS map. A great example of an area where those who don't make use of topos are apt to find themselves looking down a cliff after climbing down so far that climbing back up to escape would be painful. Head southeast from Moraine Lake directly towards the top of the big S in Sequoia (crosshairs on this mapper.acme topo)

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.44922,-118.45038&z=15&t=T

then slide southwest to avoid another steep band 200 feet lower. Be sure to take a look at the satellite tab also and zoom in max.
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Re: Hiking up the sides of Big Arroyo and Kern River Canyons

Postby Optimus-00 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:36 pm

fourputt wrote:I’ve done the Chagoopa - Big Arroyo route 6 times (four descending, twice ascending which is harder) and the Cal Topo squares correctly. From Mineral King it’s the most direct access to the Kern and is mentioned in Steve Roper's "Climber's Guide to the High Sierra."

A person I know who “went west” from Moraine Lake said they ran into difficulties. A navigational aid descending is to aim for the Willow Creek-Big Arroyo confluence from the rim due south of the midpoint between the Sky Parlor junction and Moraine Lake.

I led a Sierra Club group up the wall in 2011, and we essentially went up the slope opposite Willow Creek's main line. That was based on verbal advice from Gordon Peterson, long-time backpacker, who gave me his best recollection from his attempts to locate the old trail. We found the going tough, but never exposed or dangerous, just loose and brushy at times. Mostly a three-steps-up, two-back sort of ascent. We were up on top in about two hours, this was a group of eight people, two of them a bit slow. It would have been a fairly quick and safe descent.

And I'm going back there this coming summer, to see if I can improve on the route (and also get into Kaweah Basin). My general feeling is that the further one is willing to go to the east along Big Arroyo before ascending, the easier the going will be. Within reason, of course.
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