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Kaweah Basin questions

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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby LMBSGV » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:22 pm

Maverick, your description of the light and clouds and the Kaweahs is gorgeous. I noticed the quality of light on the Kaweahs in 2003 when I visited 9 Lakes Basin, Precipice Lake (where I got lucky with the light for about 5 minutes), and especially my final night at the upper Little Five lake. That evening, the clouds turned a wondrous crimson over the Kaweahs. I ran with my tripod and camera to the overlook over the lower lake to get a photo. I got two off before the light changed. The results were one of the main things that convinced me to get a grad neutral density filter and a telephoto lens. And this was nowhere near as amazing as what you describe. This is one reason I’m now rather obsessed with getting into the basin for an extended time this summer.



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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim » Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:03 pm

Hello All,

A question: If I go over Pants Pass from W to E and would like to head down Picket Creek, what is a good route to get from the base of Pants Pass (East side) to Picket Creek? From the maps it looks best to head S/E from the large lake closest to the eastern base of Pants Pass, up past two smaller lakes to a saddle and over the saddle into the Picket Creek drainage, but I have not been there and maybe there is a better route.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

Pilgrim
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:18 pm

Hi Pilgrim

Welcome to HST.
That is the route I took, though it is time consuming because of the rocky terrain, but
the beauty of the Picket creek drainage is worth all the work.
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:41 pm

Image

This is the route I took. This is not saying it is the best or only route.
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:27 pm

Thank you very much, Maverick.

I am planning to follow the route you suggested on your posting of 2/22/10 at 1:24PM, that is: over (W to E) via Pants Pass and then, after the Picket Creek drainage, the lakes near Red Spur, then to Kaweah Basin, and back out (E to W) over Pyra-Queen Col.

Pilgrim

PS It is really quite amazing, having access to someone with your knowledge and obvious love of the mountains and this area in particular. Thanks again!
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:43 pm

Thank you, Wandering Daisy. I had not noticed Picket Guard Pass. The large lake 1/2 way between the eastern foot of Pants Pass and Picket Guard Pass might be a good camp spot too.

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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:46 pm

WD,

Thanks, too, for posting the fine map with the route!

Pilgrim
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:43 am

Your welcome Pilgrim, and thank you for your kind words, I am here to help whenever
I can.
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim2 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:36 am

September 30, 2010

Field Report: 9-day out and back loop from Wolverton through the Kaweah-Kern and Picket Creek drainages and Kaweah Basin.

Dates: Sunday, Sept. 19 - Monday, Sept. 27
Weather: Beautiful, clear skies and sunny, all 9 days
Reporters: "Pilgrim" (70 yr. old Jesuit Priest), "Pilgrim's Hiking Buddy" (58 yr. old Business Man)

Day 1. Wolverton to Buck Creek Campsite
Normal day of hiking. Beautiful forest and vistas. Trail very dusty due to heavy use.

Day 2. Buck Creek Campsite to Hamilton Lake
The crew at Bearpaw was in the process of breaking down the camp for the season. Walking from the footbridge up to Hamilton Lake was a bit warm in the afternoon sun. The crews (trail construction and trail maintenance) at their Hamilton Lake campsite were also breaking down for the season.

Day 3. Hamilton Lake to Heart-Shaped Lake
We were carrying 42 lb. packs. At Heart-Shaped Lake we cached approx. 15 lbs. each of gear and food to reduce our packs to approx. 27 lbs. each for the next four days. This helped substantially in the subsequent scrambling over three passes.

Day 4. Heart-Shaped Lake to Lake 10,875
We followed the route suggested by Maverick, that is: going out via Pants Pass and returning via Pyra-Queen Col. Pants Pass was loose and frustrating, but we got to the top three hours after leaving Heart-Shaped Lake. (We ascended the north notch on the west side, traversed the ridge to the south, and descended the south notch to the east side.)
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim2 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:56 am

Day 4. (continued)
We had lunch at the pass and enjoyed the view looking out east over the upper Kern-Kaweah area. At the lake at the eastern base of Pants Pass we looked south at the pass over into the Picket Creek drainage, but we were not up to it and we felt that crossing it would leave us in difficult terrain (upper Picket Creek drainage) for a camp that evening. So, we followed Wandering Daisy's very helpful suggestion to enter the Picket Creek drainage further east. So, we headed to Lake 10,875. At Lake 10,875 we camped at the western end of the lake. We could see 2 or 3 others camped at the eastern end of the lake. They were gone the following morning. (These were the only other folks we saw in our four days "off trail.")

Day 5. Lake 10,875 to Picket Guard Lake
Following Wandering Daisy's suggested route, we left Lake 10,875 heading east, trying to contour around the nose to the west of the two lakes in the basin just west of Picket Guard Peak. When we rounded the nose and got our first look at Picket Guard Peak Pass (leading south over into the Picket Creek Drainage) we sort of gulped. The dark grey/black wall looked worse than Pants Pass. But, as we approached closer and got some depth perception, we could see a route up. And, unlike Pants Pass, the footing (and hand holds) were firm and not loose. It did take both feet and both hands to reach the top of the pass.
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim2 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:14 am

Day 5. (continued)
We took a slightly right-tending route to the top. The view into the Picket Creek drainage from Picket Guard Peak Pass is stunning. We had lunch at the pass and enjoyed the vista. Coming down from the pass to Picket Creek and walking east along the creek, we came apon a beautiful, multi-stepped water fall/slide that was dazzling in the afternoon sun. Continuing east along the creek we then passed the first two lakes and came to Picket Guard Lake - definitely the "Pearl of Great Price." The lake is a gem of Nature! That evening we enjoyed a full moon rising over the Whitney Range to reflect itself on the lake's surface, an exceptionally beautiful scene. The well-positioned campsite at the lake appeared to be very infrequently used.

Day 6. Picket Guard Lake to Upper Kaweah Basin
Leaving Picket Guard Lake and walking to the second of the two lakes to its S/W, we then crossed the low, obvious saddle leading south over into the Kaweah Basin, just N/W of the Lake With the Island in it. We then proceeded in a S/W direction, first along the creek and then along the wooded ridge, until we came to the end of the tree line. Here we made camp. The Kaweah peaks and ridge line are spectacular. The base of the ridge line was covered in snow.
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim2 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:29 am

Day 6. (continued)
Even though the sky was cloudless, it seemed that every hour or so a different aspect of the range would present itself. This was a short hiking day for us, good for resting, looking at the scenery and washing up.

Day 7. Upper Kaweah Basin to Heart-Shaped Lake ( A hard day!)
Leaving the tree line of the upper Kaweah Basin, we proceeded up the basin over various configurations of talus fields. Our route to the base of Pyra-Queen Col was highlighted by two features: some delicious snow-melt water for drinking that presented itself just at the perfect times, and a couple of accommodating stretches of snow which gave us a welcomed break from talus walking. Coming to the top of Pyra-Queen Col (we took the obvious ramp up the eastern side), it looked like we were faced with a vertical drop on the western side until we located the ramp leading south off the pass on the western side. We had lunch on the pass and enjoyed the spectacular views on both sides of the col/pass. A Monarch butterfly appeared as a good omen just as we arrived at the pass. The view of the north wall of Black Kaweah was most impressive as we walked down to and around Lake 11,682.
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