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

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

Post by kursavwilage » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:24 pm

Thank you for the great report!
I also mistook Piss Your Pants Pass for Pants Pass back in 1985 and didn't know it until 20 years later after seeing the photo in R.J Secor's book that said " this is not Pants Pass". Good to see that you chose the same way that I did to get down the Kern Kaweah side. When I did it there was a lot more snow and that side looked like a snow slide to the death......








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

Post by Stanley Otter » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:02 pm

Mike M. wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:38 pm
Stanley, I can see how you made that mistake. Piss in Your Pants Pass looks like a piece of cake compared to Pants Pass when viewed from Nine Lakes Basin. Route wise, it's simple and direct. But decidedly a nasty route down the other side.

I've never hiked Pants Pass from Nine Lakes Basin to the Kern-Kaweah, just from the opposite direction. I don't think I would be comfortable hiking down the chute we came up (near the top) but Wandering Daisy and others have mentioned traversing the ridge E to a more amenable exit point (a long talus field where the slope is more gradual).

Back in the day, before the internet and before Secor's book, all we had available for route information were Roper's Climber's Guide, 15 minute topo maps, and old Sierra Club magazines. Roper did not give out a route description, just a class rating. As I recall, back in the 70's there was much debate about the actual location of Pants Pass and I was lucky enough to have a friend who knew a climber who hiked her up there when she was just a teenager.

Mike
I dug out my GPS track and imported it to CalTopo. I can identify the lake WD mentions, but I am not exactly sure which ridge above Pants Pass is the correct one to traverse for avoiding the chute on the Kern Kaweah side of the pass. To the north or to the south?
Pants Pass Area.jpg
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Stanley Otter
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:06 pm

sekihiker wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:58 pm
Stanley Otter wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:17 am
Holy sh!!!, you're right, of course. I just checked my copy of Secor, and I don't know how I got it backwards. Obviously not braver, just more directionally challenged. Would Will Robinson do something so foolish? I can't believe it... I'm experiencing a little after-the-fact-willies. Maybe I *do* have another Pants Pass in me, since I really haven't done one yet. For the record, here is a sequence of photos for Piss In Your Pants Pass.
I really enjoyed the reporting and photography of your ambitious hike. I've visited most of the places you went on your trip but over many different several-day trips. You had quite a challenge visiting so many places you had never seen before.

Piss Your Pants Pass was my first cross country pass and I thought it might be my last. See: http://www.sierrahiker.com/KernKaweah/index.htm When we crossed it, we figured it got the name Pants Pass because you had to slide down its east side on your pants.

It was many years later when I crossed the official Pants Pass and found it had its own challenges. See: http://www.sierrahiker.com/TripleDivideLoopI/index.html

I too, have enjoyed touring the Great Western Divide which I have documented at:
http://www.sierrahiker.com/CliffCreekLakes/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/CentralGWD/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/SouthernGWD/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/CoyoteLakes/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/FiveLakes/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/HighRouteSouth/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/KaweahBasin/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/MtBrewer/index.htm
http://www.sierrahiker.com/TripleDivide ... index.html
Thanks for the links -- I will dig into them before my next adventure to this part of the Sierra. That's quite a choice for your first cross country pass. Mine was Matterhorn Col, which I thought was bad enough at the time...
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Stanley Otter
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:10 pm

kursavwilage wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:24 pm
Thank you for the great report!
I also mistook Piss Your Pants Pass for Pants Pass back in 1985 and didn't know it until 20 years later after seeing the photo in R.J Secor's book that said " this is not Pants Pass". Good to see that you chose the same way that I did to get down the Kern Kaweah side. When I did it there was a lot more snow and that side looked like a snow slide to the death......
With more snow I'll bet making your way south along those cliffs was pretty scary, too.
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the mountain temple's silence.
Nobody else here!
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by grampy » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:03 pm

What an awesome trip AND report !
I read it through twice; found your CalTopo track link the 2nd time, but would need to read it twice more just to fully comprehend your entire trip. Lots of inspiration for future exploration. Thank you !

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

Post by Mike M. » Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:33 pm

I dug out my GPS track and imported it to CalTopo. I can identify the lake WD mentions, but I am not exactly sure which ridge above Pants Pass is the correct one to traverse for avoiding the chute on the Kern Kaweah side of the pass. To the north or to the south?
The chute that leads directly to Pants Pass from the east (Kern-Kaweah side) is easily seen from the tarn north of what you call "Wandering Daisy's Lake" (Lake 11,380 on my old 15" map). I have not done the traverse she suggests but assume it involves traversing S and crossing the ridge at a lower point, where the slope of the SE ridge lessens, allowing for a safer descent through abundant talus.

Mike M.

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

Post by rs44 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:09 am

Incredible trip report and photos! I think your summertime fever is spreading :)

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

Post by kursavwilage » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:52 pm

Stanley Otter,

Actually what forced me out to the left was fear and adrenaline after I slid down the hard packed snow chute and stopped only after slamming into some rocks. After that I climbed out of the chute to the left in desperation hoping to find a way down. I didn't encounter much snow out to the left but was always worried about getting stopped by a cliff... Eventually I found my way down and yelled up to my partners to just follow the route I took down. The whole basin below the pass was covered in snow and I remember sitting on some rocks below the pass looking back up at what I just scrambled down thinking " now I know why they call it Pants Pass." I'll have to see if I can find the old photos I took with my old Canon AE1 program....

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

Post by Flamingo » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:12 pm

Hi @Stanley Otter -- Thanks for sharing this great trip report. I appreciate your *ambitious* route, and your willingness to re-route to avoid danger. This thread has been one of my favorite HST reads of the winter.

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

Post by Harlen » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:23 pm

Stanley-- you've done it again!! Fantastic TR; well written, insightful, and filled with wonderful photos, for instance, the ones all around Crabtree Lakes. Thanks a lot for posting these great trips. Ian.

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