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2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

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2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby lambertiana » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:50 pm

Finally getting around to posting this...

A few years ago my niece saw a picture of the lowest lake on Picket Creek and decided that she had to go there. Last year I finally put together a trip for her...but in the end she couldn't make it because she got married a month before the trip. I'll have to take her there some other time. It ended up just being two of us. We started at Crescent Meadow, on the HST
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and stopped at Bearpaw the first night. The second day we took the high route to Elizabeth Pass. I really liked the scenery looking toward the Hamilton Lake and Tamarack Lake drainages
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Getting close to Elizabeth Pass, looking down
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The face immediately west of Elizabeth Pass
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From Elizabeth Pass, looking east
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Starting the descent into Deadman Canyon
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I really liked the upper part of Deadman Canyon, here are a couple pictures of that section
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We stopped for the night just above the creek that drains Big Bird Lake.



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Re: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby lambertiana » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:59 pm

The next day we continued down Deadman Canyon, past Ranger Meadow
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Lots of slickrock
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For most of the day it was overcast with occasional showers, so it was very poor for pictures. But right by the grave things lined up nicely for this picture
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The bears are very active in Deadman Canyon, we saw a lot of trees like this
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By the time we reached Roaring River and started up Cloud Canyon it got bad (and wet) enough that I just put my camera away, although I did pull it out for a shot at Big Wet Meadow
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That night we stopped on the eastern shoulder of the Whaleback, and things cleared a little in the evening
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The next morning we got up early to beat the storm clouds over Colby Pass. It was very poor lighting at Colby Lake
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And Colby Pass comes into view
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In the end it wasn't that bad, only scattered sleet as we made our way up Colby Pass
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Our destination for the next day - under those clouds. Looking foreboding.
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But as we descended to Gallats Lake it started to clear up.
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Last edited by lambertiana on Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby lambertiana » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:11 pm

After spending the night at Gallats Lake (and discovering a heart rhythm issue, which turned out to be premature atrial contractions, which explains why last year such activities became markedly harder for me) we woke to classic clear Sierra skies, which would remain with us for the rest of the trip.
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Our goal for the day was the lowest lake on Picket Creek, which I now call Sarah's Lake after my niece. First part was to traverse up the slabs just below Gallats Lake
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From partway up the slabs, looking back toward Gallats Lake
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Turning a corner to see the Whitney group
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I kept going all the way to where you come around the final corner right by the outlet stream, ending up on a ledge system looking down on Rockslide Lake
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It would have been easier to head up to the rim of the lake before that ledge, but it wasn't bad. Popping over the top, I then just followed a gully north to then drop to the shore of the lake, this was my first view
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This lake did not disappoint, I'll let the pictures do the talking
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And as the sun went down, the Whitney group was still bathed in the last light of the day
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Last edited by lambertiana on Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby lambertiana » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:22 pm

I also explored up Picket Creek, and found it to be quite scenic
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The next day was short, I just wanted to get to upper Kaweah Basin before the next day's adventure of going over Pyra-Queen Col. It didn't take long to get to the top of the ridge between Picket Creek and Kaweah Basin to look up toward the main part of Kaweah Basin
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At first we stayed on the talus on the north side
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Finally crossing to the southern side at this point to get to the easier slabs and flatter ground
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I would have to rate Kaweah Basin quite high on scenic content, too
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We stopped for the day at this lake. Since we got there early in the day, I had plenty of time to relax and soak in the scenery
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Late light on the Williamson group
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Re: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby lambertiana » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:32 pm

The next morning had good lighting on the Kaweah ridgeline
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And then it was time for some talus...and more talus as we went over Pyra Queen col. First, the highest lakes in Kaweah Basin
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The col is just left of the dark notch near center in this picture
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Can you see my friend at the edge of the nearest band of snow? Did I mention that there is some talus?
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The col gets near, at the top of the talus that extends to the snow almost dead center in this picture
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At the top of that (loose) talus slope is the col itself. First, views back around Kaweah Basin from the top of the col
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Re: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby lambertiana » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:45 pm

And then the col itself...quite steep and loose
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Leaning out I could see Lake 11,682
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And then it was time to descend the west side. I'm glad I wasn't coming up this, the first part is very very loose and steep. Looking back up as my friend comes down the first part
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Clear views from the long talus slog down to Lake 11,682
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North toward Kaweah Queen
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South toward Black Kaweah
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After a long talus slog, we reached the incredibly tasty water of Lake 11,682. Some of the best I have ever tasted. I get thirsty every time I look at this picture.
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We then continued down to Nine Lake Basin, where we would camp for the night. Here are some shots along the way.
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I enjoyed the grove of foxtail pines just above Nine Lake Basin
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And finally, Nine Lake Basin
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Re: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby lambertiana » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:55 pm

The next morning in Nine Lake Basin
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Then it was time to go over Kaweah Gap and head down. From near Kaweah Gap looking north
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And south toward Eagle Scout Peak
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When we reached Precipice Lake the lighting was not good for classic pictures so I had to make do. I need to camp there some time to get the full range of lighting options.
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And it was there at Precipice that I had a surprise pleasant meeting with someone I had only known on the forums...Moosetracks Laura. I got to walk with her from there to the creek crossing at the waterfall below Hamilton Lake.
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Heading toward Hamilton Lake
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At the outlet of Hamilton Lake
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Angel Wing
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[rimg][/rimg]
At the waterfall below Hamilton Lake
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Hamilton Dome
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Looking back up...
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After a final night at Bearpaw, we made our way back to Crescent Meadow. Looking toward the valley, I wasn't ready to return to civilization yet
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And the last vestige of wilderness disappeared when we reached Crescent Meadow
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I found this trip to be extremely enjoyable with outstanding scenery. I think I will do it again some time.
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Re: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby Mike M. » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:33 pm

Lambertiana,

Great trip report, belated or not. I'm headed into that area in August via the east side and can just taste it! Your photos are gorgeous. I've never done Pyra Queen and your photos document the route well. I'm tempted to rearrange my itinerary to include that, rather than backtrack down to the Kaweah River via the slope west of Picket Creek. After a mostly trailed approach via Kearsarge Pass, Forester Pass, Colby Pass and Cloud Canyon, my goal is to camp at Glacier Lake and capture some shots of The Whaleback, then head over Triple Divide Pass and spend at least three days exploring Picket Creek and the Kaweah Basin and possibly the lakes north of the Red Spur.

Mike
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Re: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby sekihiker » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:10 am

Fabulous photos and words for a fabulous area! I gotta get back there.
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Re: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby LMBSGV » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:29 am

Lambertina, wonderful trip report and photos. It brings back all the marvelous memories of my own magical trip last year over Colby Pass to the Picket Creek lake and Kaweah Basin. Thank you for finally posting this. I'm still studying the tree information you sent.
Last edited by LMBSGV on Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:29 am

Oh yeah, my favorite basin in the Sierra. Thank you so much for bringing back some
great memories of this enchanting place. The views of the Kaweah ridgeline from
the middle of the basin are mesmerizing, where one can sit for hours just taking in
the gorgeous view. Took a shot of that same ridge, almost from the same spot as
you did as it turned golden from the morning sunlight several years ago.
Picket Lake has got to be one of the best swimming pools in the Sierra and
then add in a gorgeous backdrop making it the perfect campspot.
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: 2012 SEKI Loop - Picket Creek/Kaweah Basin

Postby FeetFirst » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:16 am

Wow, absolutely beautiful! I need to do some trips in the south.
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.
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