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Kaweah Basin questions

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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim2 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:46 am

Day 7. (continued)
Several snow patches on the south side of the lake came right down to the water, so we traversed around the north side of the lake. Leaving Lake 11,682 and the smaller lake just to its N/W, we dropped down to the next lake and from there headed in, first, a N/W and, then, a W arc, staying away from steep drop offs, until we came down to the Heart-Shaped Lake and our cache. There must have been a forest fire over in the Kings Canyon area because, as we walked north from Lake 11,682, the views of both Lion Rock and Triple Divide Peak were somewhat obscured by smoke. The talus this day, which we were on from the upper Kaweah Basin all the way to the second lake past Lake 11,682, made this a long and tiring day.

Day 8. Heart-Shaped Lake to Nine-Mile Creek.
The walk back over Kaweah Gap, past Precipice Lake and down to Hamilton Lake was easy and it was a treat to not be walking on talus, even though our packs were now back at full weight. The walk after lunch at Hamiltion Lake, down the canyon and up to Bearpaw, was hot again in the afternoon sun. Bearpaw was vacated for the season. We planned to stay at Buck Creek campsite but it was occupied so we continued on to Nine-Mile Creek campsite.



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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim2 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:00 am

Day 9. Nine-Mile Creek to Wolverton.
This was a relatively uneventful day. We noticed again how dusty the trail was from heavy use. The 2.2 mile uphill trail from the High Sierra Trail to the Alta Trail would not have been necessary had we parked at Crescent Meadow, but we took it easy and it is a well-constructed trail, mostly in the shade of a beautiful forest. We arrived at Wolverton at 2PM and went over to Lodgepole for showers. Driving out of the Park, we were delayed for a full hour at the road re-construction project. Around 6PM we walked into the bar/restaurant at the Harris Ranch where the Monday Night Football scene was in full swing. What an environmental contrast, sociologically speaking, to our previous 9 days. Welcome back to civilization!

Reflections:
1. Special thanks to Maverick and Wandering Daisy for suggesting very workable routes.
2. The Picket Creek Drainage and Kaweah Basin are beautiful to look at, but difficult to walk in due to all the talus
3. Picket Guard Lake is definitely one of the gems of the Sierra Nevada Range.
4. It was very helpful to have lightened our packs before going over the three "passes."
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby maverick » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:22 am

Very cool Pilgrim 2, happy to hear you had a good time, got to visit a very special place
that is not highly visited offering some of the best scenery, plus solitude in the Sierra!
And that PGL is a very, very pretty, and a special place!
Yes, entering the drainage further east was a good call if you were strapped on time
with the days being shorter it is not a place you would want to have to find a camp site
though once over and down the drainage a bit there are 2 small lakes that are quite
pretty to stay at if need be.
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby rlown » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:31 pm

Nice report, pilgrim2.. any pics and did you fish?
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:02 pm

Nice report and trip. I'm surprised you saw someone at 10875. That is quite a remote area and a wonderfully rugged and interesting place. (for Russ): not a place to go to if fishing is the main priority, however. Very few lakes in that region hold fish.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby pilgrim2 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:40 am

Sorry, rlown, no pictures. Neither of us has developed any skill with photography and we did not bother to bring cameras along. There are so many stunning photos of the area by Maverick and others, we left the photo business to those who know what they are doing.

We were not actively looking for trout, but at Picket Guard Lake, in the late afternoon and evening, many trout were feeding and breaking the surface. It's difficult to say anything about the size of the fish.

Pilgrim
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby copeg » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:24 pm

Thanks for returning and posting the report! Judging by your report, I think I enjoyed 'Picket Guard Lake' as much as you did. What a gem (where fish would jump a few feet out of the water just to have a shot at a lure). Bummer there aren't pics, but a good read nonethess.
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby ERIC » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:22 pm

pilgrim2 wrote:Sorry, rlown, no pictures. Neither of us has developed any skill with photography and we did not bother to bring cameras along. There are so many stunning photos of the area by Maverick and others, we left the photo business to those who know what they are doing.

We were not actively looking for trout, but at Picket Guard Lake, in the late afternoon and evening, many trout were feeding and breaking the surface. It's difficult to say anything about the size of the fish.

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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby mattherrington » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:09 pm

This is the goldmine of info I've been looking for. trekking w/ my bro along the HST this August and I have no intention of going all the way down Big Arroyo just to trudge back up the river. I've got Secor's book but otherwise was flying blind and had no idea how well reputed the area was. THANK YOU ALL...
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:47 am

Hi Mattherrington

Welcome to HST!
Just a friendly reminder neither Pants Pass, Pyra-Queen Col, or Kaweah Pass should
not be attempted without any prior cross country traveling experience.
All three are gnarly cross country passes with Pants Pass being extremely steep, Kaweah
Pass having nasty loose rock on its northern side, and Pyra-Queen having lots of scree
on its western, and a long rocky section on its eastern side into the basin.
Sure it is one of the prettiest places in SEKI, but it is also one of the most isolated
because of the fact it is surrounded by a massive wall which makes entry into the
basin difficult.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby mattherrington » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:09 pm

Thanks Mav!

Just searching for conditions and saw my own post. We're both well seasoned I'm just getting around to being social and searching out conditions and route ideas.

That being said, of the three the path of least resistance (risk) is where I like to go with a pack. Pyra Queen looks the most appealing (along with a possible side trip up the SW face of Kaweah Queen) but I'm concerned about late season conditions, particularly with getting to the top dry and then having to descend in snow/ice down the shelf on the east side into the the big stuff. Kaweah pass proper is not happening per what I've read as it sounds like ankle turning misery (and it's further S than I'd like to go) and why go over pants when pyra queen is easier.

Clearly you're familiar. What's your take on late season conditions at PQ? Ie. If there is scattered snow at lake 11,682 and in the shade of Black Kaweah does anything typically still hang on the other side? Looking up from 9 Lakes Basin is where we'll have to pull the trigger between the two. We're a month out but conditions look crappy and i don't even like carrying poles, much less spikes and an ice axe. Thanks again for looking out. Cheers!
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Re: Kaweah Basin questions

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:09 pm

Mattherrington wrote "If there is scattered snow at lake 11,682 and in the shade
of Black Kaweah does anything typically still hang on the other side?

Yes there usually is some snow, and this year there may be a little more, but nothing
to difficult to get around.

" Looking up from 9 Lakes Basin is where we'll have to pull the trigger between the two."

You cannot see QPC from where you can see Pants, also Lake 11682 sits up on a bench
over 900 ft higher than the lake at the bottom of Pants Pass, which you have to climb
up to see, so you will not be able to make a determination from down from the lower
part of 9 Lakes Basin.
Also the chute you have to climb at the top of the ridge, after climbing the slope
starting from Lake 11682 is only visible once you get to it.
Here is a shot of smaller lake just below Lake 11682 with the sandy part in the middle
of the ridge leading up to the small chute (PQC).
http://WildernessApertures.com/img/v20/p700907979-6.jpg

Also, here some TR's that have close ups of the pass from both sides:
http://sierrahiker.home.comcast.net/~si ... td212.html
http://www.tumtum.com/climbing/trips/Si ... art2.shtml
Last edited by maverick on Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:19 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Reason: bold letter; added text
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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