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Kaweah Pass

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Kaweah Pass

Postby Mike M. » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:34 pm

Here's a question for Sekihiker (Bill Finch) or anyone out there who knows this area: Kaweah Pass has a reputation for being gnarly on the north side, as you descend into Kaweah Basin over loose and unstable rock. What's it like to hike up this pass from the north (i.e., from Kaweah Basin)?

Mike



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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:02 pm

Kaweah Pass is a slow going, loose, rocky pass. The rock is very unstable making
ones footing a nightmare, hiking poles can help with ones balancing act some of
the times. It is somewhat easier to ascend from Kaweah Basin, especially since
there are two sets of cliffs that come into play when one descends it coming in
from the south, and can take some route finding to find the correct route to
circumventing these small cliffs/drop offs.
Once at the top the route down to Chagoopa Plateau is very easy in comparison
like night and day.
Kaweah Pass is one of those passes better done with a layer of snow on it so to
alleviate much of the difficulties encountered on it.
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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby Mike M. » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:44 am

Maverick, have you hiked over the pass from the north side? I've read many accounts of hikers coming down from the south, but none from hikers coming from the north. I know it's done, I just have not seen it written about anywhere. Charles Hayden has a post on the web where he mentions meeting a group at the top of the pass who had just come up from the north. But there's no mention of how that went for them.

My experience with that kind of loose rock is that it's easier to go up than down. Also, it's easier to route find going up than down.

I've hiked in the basin and have done Pants Pass and Triple Divide Pass several times over the years, but never Pyra-Queen or Kaweah.

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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby maverick » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:42 pm

Yes Mike, once. Which is why the recommendation of ascending instead of
descending it. QPC is easier though it is rocky itself up to the col on the eastern
side, but not nearly as loose as KP.
The chute on the western side is the crux on QPC.
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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby Mike M. » Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:00 pm

Maverick:

Any photos along the way that you can share? What was it like? Loose enough to lose your footing as you climb up? (Unstable rock is the main complaint I see when reading accounts of hikers coming down into the basin.) Too steep and loose for your taste?

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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby maverick » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:01 pm

PM sent
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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:26 pm

I second Maverick's opinion of Kaweah Pass. I went from north to south. I'm very sure I hit about as optimal a route as possible but I still consider it the worst off trail pass I've crossed-- and I've crossed a lot of tough ones including steep, loose class 2 passes (Pants, Lucy's Foot, to name, two) and some class 3 ones (including Haeckel Col). Kaweah Pass is the most dangerous of those, in my opinion, by a long shot.

Why? Sure it has steep loose rock, as do many passes, but it is the size of the loose blocks (some quite large) and the area of loose stuff that starts twitching and shifting as you go across that is unmatched by anything I've encountered in the Sierra. We'd step on talus blocks and see and hear things twitching and shifting 50' or more up the slope! Totally unnerving. You really felt like there was a good chance you'd trigger a rockfall and bring a big (fatal) pile of talus down on you. Sure, I've had little scree runouts and stuff (and have done plenty of "scree skiing" and "scree escalators"), but those little loose guys were not the big blocks as at Kaweah Pass. I'd have utterly no issues going over Pants Pass again, but I don't ever want to repeat Kaweah Pass.
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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby sekihiker » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:30 am

The main problem with Kaweah Pass is that it is so far from anywhere. I would guess it would be easier to go up it, but I've only been down. Lots of loose rock overlaying steep slopes, slipping and sliding much of the way down.
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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:23 pm

Sounds like I will have a good time on this pass since it's on my list this year. :retard:

I plan North to South also.
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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby Mike M. » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:19 pm

I think I'm going to avoid it, based on these reports. Maverick sent me a link to some photos taken by dayhikers who went up and down the pass from Kaweah Basin. The photos show big, sharp edged, loose rock in many places. "Not fun" is how they described it.

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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby John Dittli » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:53 pm

I've never been thru Kaweah Pass, but I have crossed that same divide via the peak to the east. We climbed via the north ridge from Kaweah basin. There was a little class 3 but mostly class two. I don't recall it being particularly loose, certainly not as bad as the stories sound of the pass.
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Re: Kaweah Pass

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:32 pm

Hi JD,

Is this the peak and the approx route you are referring too?
Image
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