Favorite/Least Favorite Passes?

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calipidder
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Post by calipidder » Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:54 am

I like the climb to Kearsarge Pass - busy trail, but the scenery is so great and the grade is so comfortable that I don't notice the climb so much.

I think Glen pass is my favorite on the JMT.

I really like Red Peak Pass in southern Yose.

Chiquito Pass has to be a joke - that's a pass?








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maverick
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Post by maverick » Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:06 pm

I like passes that give me some sorta challenge, most class 2's are
very easy technically. Examples are Arrow Pass, Red Pass
Lion Lake, Harrison, Knapsack, Seven Gables, Kuna, and Sluggo Pass
to name a few.
Quentinc I understand you comment about the loose stuff, but the
top of Milly's is fun.
I to have had boulders the size of my car move under me even though I
weigh 150 lbs or starting to slide down a very steep talus/scree field and
not being able to stop only 30 feet down, it was a little unnerving.

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Post by giantbrookie » Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:13 pm

I remember a thread like this, perhaps on the old board. It is certainly a fun one to muse about.

Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
Lamarck Col. Yes, it's popular, but the view cresting out has always said to me "welcome to the Kings Canyon backcountry". It's a real gateway to the land of dreams.
Sawmill Pass. A nasty low altitude and hot beginning, but this one finishes so well with the stellar Sawmill Lake short of the top and Woods Lake once over the top. It isn't as famous as fellow 6000+ers (ie over 6k gain) such as Taboose or Shepherd, but it has a lot to offer, once you get to the first water (a pretty long way up).
(Unnamed). Pass between Cloverleaf Lake etc and Convict Creek drainage to the Ram Lakes basin. Part of a very cool xcountry route, especially if combined with the Genevieve outlet. You also gotta like a pass that is not in Secor or Roper. It's fun to do one that nothing is written about.
(Unnamed). Glacier Divide, 1.5 mi E of Pavillion Dome. This pass is also not listed in Secor. The north side blind descent is intricate and dramatic. Nobody seems to wander around the Glacier Divide this far west.
Virginia Pass. The pass west of Green Lake out of the Green Creek drainage. This is an easy one but a very pretty one with relaxed class 1 cross country.
(unnamed on topo--appears to be called "Granite Bear Pass" based on posts below) The surprisingly underpublicized pass from Granite Park to Bear Basin. It is easy class 2, but spectacular with a big rock tower above it on the east side.
Peppermint Pass(?) I think that's the name of the col that takes you from Little Lakes Valley to the basin that holds Spire and Split Lakes. It's nothing special in degree of difficulty, but the view is utterly savage. The route is beneath the north face of Bear Creek Spire.
Cataract Col. Of course I had to list this one as it is the gateway to my favorite mountain fortress: the Dumbbell Lakes. This pass can be formidable if cornice festooned as it was when my wife and I crossed it. The view of Amphitheather Lake when ascending from that side is amazing (plus the view back to the Palisades). When you punch through the top and see the Dumbbells it really is like breaking into paradise. For sentimental reasons this may be my very favorite pass.

Unfavorites:
Lucy's Foot Pass. The treacherous super steep talus on the north side earns its reputation
Kaweah Pass. Scariest loose talus I've ever encountered. Perhaps Lucy's Foot would have scared me as much if I was taking a full pack over it (dayhiked Lucy's en route to climb Ericsson).
Haeckel Col. Spectacular route north of Mt. Haeckel with amazing views, but the class 3 moves on the top are exceptionally awkward with a full pack. The top of the pass is a knife edge (a cruel surprise when you expect talus of the west side after surmounting class 3 on the upper east side). I was also in horrid physical shape when I did this one, so that may color my views a bit--in a different frame of mind this could easily be on the favorites list. On paper the most direct route between Bishop Creek and Evolution, but you can get to Sapphire Lake faster via Lamarck Col. (I didn't realize that in 1977 when I went this way, though).
Shepherd Pass. What? Put this classic in the unfavorite bin? Yup. I like challenging hikes, but I'm not a masochist for masochists sake. The 600' foot drop after the first crest out is very demoralizing. I remember looking at all the places they SHOULD have routed the trail and whining about it when I was climbing. I still managed to make the pass on day 1 on a very weak knee (a few months after my first knee surgery in 1978), though.
Last edited by giantbrookie on Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by cgundersen » Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:49 pm

Hi everyone,
Daydreaming instead of working.......anyway, I'll second John's vote for Cataract col as a splendid beastie (up or down) with fantastic scenery. The pitch makes it look like you could almost hit water (Amphitheater)with a good running leap (from the top). I've not encountered a cornice there, but I think some of the coolest cornices I've seen were on the peaks facing that route out of Cloverleaf that you also mentioned. As for the unnamed shortcut into Bear Lakes basin, I've heard a couple folks refer to it as Granite-Bear pass (for obvious reasons); the gentle sand/gravel on the west side of that route is a huge improvement over the rock hopping approach to the Bear lakes via Italy pass. Yeh, and everyone I've met groans at the depressing downhill segment of Shepherds, but that view of Milestone when you finally reach the top (almost?) compensates.
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Post by mountaineer » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:05 pm

What is that cross-country pass west of Sawtooth, the one that drops you right down to the shore of Spring Lake? I think it is named Glacier Pass or something like that...THAT is a pass in early season! The wall of ice and snow onthe north side that need to be negotiated is awesome. One time, I was kind of lazy so I tied up my pack tight and let it go then slid down after it. I didn't stop for at least 2-300 yards.

In that same area...Black Rock Pass is cool. the views of Spring, Cyclamen, and Columbine lakes as you climb higher are unforgettable. When you get to the top the view across to the Kaweahs is pretty cool too.

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Post by maverick » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:23 pm

Yeap, its Glacier Pass. The scenery east is pretty from Black Rock
Pass as are the views toward the 3 tiers of lakes, here you go
Mountaineer.Image


Did someone mention Catarct Col and the cornice on top?
Image

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Post by mountaineer » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:30 pm

That's what I'm talking about!

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Post by maverick » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:47 pm

GB I think Ive gone over that pass to Ram Lakes your referring to way
back, I really liked Glen and Glennette Lakes though Franklin was
pretty nice with that glacier above it.
The pass you're referring to on the Glacier Divide I believe is Snow-
Tongue (class 2) and the pass from Granite into Bear Basin is Granite
Bear Pass(class 2), though you have the 2 Royce Passes a little further
south (class 2 and class 1).

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Post by giantbrookie » Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:51 pm

maverick wrote: The pass you're referring to on the Glacier Divide I believe is Snow-
Tongue (class 2)
The pass I went over on Glacier Divide in '97 was far to the west of Snow Tongue. The pass is about 1.5 mi due east of Pavillion Dome. On the north side one ends up descending the drainage that is west of the one that Ramona Lake in. The reason for doing this western pass was that I wanted to explore that big lake L11200+ (fishless) south of the divide as well as the unnamed lakes (chain of several plus 10886) I hit right after going over to the north (also fishless).
Last edited by giantbrookie on Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Cloudy » Tue Sep 18, 2007 5:04 pm

Black Rock Pass! Yes, that's a beautiful one. I crossed that one a couple of years ago during iffy weather. The clouds would come flying up the valley and pour over the pass as fog. Take a couple of steps back down the other way and they were flying just above your head. You could stick your hands into the clouds! Ah, life's little treats. The view of Columbine, Cyclamen & Spring lakes was stunning. I've never come up the horribly long switchbacks though, it's always been from the Little Five Lakes side.

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