TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:08 am

Now that I see the map, the route I did was the north side of Pants Pass, then scramble over the ridge to "Piss your Pants Pass", and descend it southward. That combines the easier sides of both passes. Whether the scramble over the ridge is just as hard as simply going down Pants Pass is still a question, since I did not descend the south side of Pants Pass.








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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Mike M. » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:13 am

WD, can you post an annotated photo of your scramble route to clear up the confusion?

In a 2015 post in the cross country section for Pants Pass, you wrote:
Sorry about direction mess up. Northeast-southwest crossing for Pants Pass, so by "north" I mean northeast or the Kern Keweah side (which you call east) and by "south" I mean southwest or Nine Lakes Basin side (which you call west). I went from the Kern-Keweah side to the Nine Lakes side. I did the traverse of the top to avoid anything steep or loose on the northeast side (in other words NOT the gully). The Nine Lakes Side was scree skiing deluxe. Very glad I did not have to go up it.
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:01 pm

It was 2008 so I do not remember 100% but I do not remember any "chute" ascending so I may have, as shown, gone up to the southwest and then traversed to Pants Pass. So is Pants Pass where I show it? It was late season and there was some lingering snow, but mostly talus, nothing particularly steep. The climb over the ridge to the north looks worse on the topo than it was. It was easy cl3 scrambling with one small step down to the pass that I used a cord to lower my pack, something I regularly do since I am short. The descent down scree to Nine Lakes Basin was pretty easy.
Pants Pass.JPG
I remember looking over the west side of Pants Pass and saying to myself "no way!"

Here is the ridge. The pass is hidden and is in front of the two subsidiary peaks of Triple Divide Peak that are shown. Not sure if the photo is taken from Pants Pass or a bit up the ridge.
Whitney08_070_PantsPass2_2458.JPG
Here is the lake where I camped on the east side
Whitney08_067_Camp3_2456.JPG
Whitney08_069_PantsPass1_2457.JPG
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Mike M. » Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:27 pm

WD, the route is intricate on the Kaweah side (east side) and it's hard to know for sure where exactly the "correct" pass is on the map.
pants pass map capture.JPG
Your red line traverses the slope to the head of a chute that I believe is the "correct" pass. (Secor calls this a notch and points out that there is another slightly lower notch to the south which would involve a difficult descent on the west -- the Nine lakes Basin -- side). Your red line continues north and has you jumping down to the sandy slope below "Piss Your Pants Pass."

Your original post mentions an easy scree ski down the slope after your traverse. That's what I experienced from Pants Pass; very loose but not overly steep on the west side. The top of the east side (Kaweah side) chute is steep; going down, the top 50 yards would give me the willies.

In the Cross Country Passes section of High Sierra Topix, lostcoyote added links to three video clips of a pair of hikers hiking over the pass from west to east. In the third video clip, the camera pans from the top of the chute down to the lake basin below. That clip offers a great vantage point for judging the location of the pass. I took three screen captures of the video clip (see below). Also, Rogue has some crisp photos from the Kaweah side of the pass confirming the location of the chute -- his photos are in the cross country pass section (but his photos are not labeled).
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Harlen » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:54 pm

Stanley Otter wrote:
... I am grateful for the trip reports everyone shares here. I acquired a case of Great Western Divide Fever after reading a series of TRs that came rolling off the presses in 2018...
And now you've returned the favor by providing this great TR, which I and many others I'm sure, are currently mining for future trips. I think I've found a section of this great trip of yours that can even suit Bearzy and me.
I am inspired by your photos from around Shotgun Pass. I would love to ski into those areas, but I found on your maps that they lead to S.N.P. However the second set of inspiring pics-- those from around Boreal Plateau and Rocky Basin Lakes might just work for us. How about this route: Horseshoe Meadow --- Big Whit. Meadow --- up to R.B. Lakes --- off trail onto Boreal Plateau --- ski the Main Divide north to Cottonwood Pass? Do you think we can stay near enough to the top of the M.Divide to be legal enough? It looks like a pretty broad ridge.
What do you think Stanley? And thanks for the inspiration. Ian and Bear.
Last edited by Harlen on Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:45 am

I've been traveling with gloriously bad internet connections, so I am glad to see all possible routes over Pants Pass/Piss In Your Pants Pass have been clarified. I'm going back someday. ;)

Ian,
It took me a moment, but now I remember you travel with Bear and have to take care with regulations re dogs. Yes, the Boreal Plateau is broad with room to roam. My route went up to a half kilometer north of the actual national park boundary in the Siberian Outpost and right on the boundary in the Boreal Plateau. I have attached a couple more images of my route with some commentary -- the map shows my planned route and I did hike it that way with the exception of hiking around north of Funston Lake and camping on the west side the first night. I did not take any photos of the terrain leading up from the Rocky Basin Lakes to the Boreal Plateau, but I do remember noting that it would be a pretty straightforward Class 2 hike, maybe some mild scrambling (to me that means using hands for balance). On the map below, it would have been approximately where indicated south of the southernmost lake in the basin. Now, that's without snow, mind you. :nod: I hope this helps a little bit.
Dennis
Boreal Plateau.jpg
001 At Park Boundary.jpg
002 Looking West.jpg
003 Looking East.jpg
005 Wider Shot.jpg
004 Looking Southwest.jpg
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