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Pyra Queen Col

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Pyra Queen Col

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:41 pm

TITLE: Pyra Queen Col

GENERAL OVERVIEW: This pass leads between 9 Lakes Basin and Lake 11,682 and Kaweah Basin

CLASS/DIFFICULTY: Class 2 - very loose scree

LOCATION: Sequoia National Park | on the HST Map


USGS TOPO MAP (7.5'): Triple Divide Peak

ROUTE DESCRIPTION: If traveling West to East a couple initial options are available. The route I took was to leave lake 11,680 on it's SE shore moving up a gentle slope. Angle along the hillside moving towards the center of the valley below the pass. The problem with this was I encountered several class 3 sections and had to deal with a great deal of miserable scree. Due to this I think the best bet would be to tackle the large talus between Lake 11,680 and Lake 11,682 and maintain lake level until you are forced up the loose scree. Head directly up the scree until you reach some large outcrops of granite slabs. Zig zag up this until you have to angle to your right for the Col itself which is an obvious notch. The last fight to the top is steep yet no more difficult than anything you have already done at this point.

Once on the East side you will continue down the slope moving South until you can begin directly down the hill and begin angling back to the North. Continue far enough to avoid some steeper cliffs on your right and then you will be able to make your way directly into Kaweah Basin below. The trip from below the Col on the East side involves talus hoping most of the way down into the basin.

Unfortunately I only took a single photo of the West side of the pass.


This is where you can begin to angle into the basin.


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Re: Pyra Queen Col

Postby dapperdave » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:15 am

Some more photos, also I seem to have crossed the ridge further north than Rogue did; when I researched the pass prior to crossing, I found accounts which, in hindsight describe the 2 ways.




^^^ Long shots of the east side- I crossed at the Dark/light notch to the south of the low point.


^ Gaining the base of the slab


^ The slab, solid Granite but I would say harder than Class 2 and a bit of exposure


^ west side descent, a nice gently angled ledge, talus was very stable along here.


^ A view south from the bottom of the previous ledge - I guess the southern route goes via the left of these two loose chutes ?


^ the easy ledge goes between the 2 red arrows - the photo of the 2 chutes was taken from the bottom arrow.


^ View of west side from Lake 11682 (both options marked) - from the pass to the lake is loose gravel and talus, not technically difficult, but hard work, there is a rocky band at the level of the obvious dark area with a couple of class 2 moves without exposure. That's my wife giving her opinion :whistle:

As regards my opinion of the relative difficulties of the two routes, I think the North option would be easier on the west side and more difficult on the eastern side especially if you don't like exposure. Coming from Kaweah basin, the notch is easy to locate and if you get there and don't like the look of it, you would be able to head round to the southern route without difficulty.

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Last edited by dapperdave on Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pyra Queen Col

Postby Jim F » Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:30 pm

Approaching the Col from the West, the hiking is fairly civilized if one follows the entire north shore of Lake 11682, staying as close to the water as reasonable. From the NE shore of the lake, it is a fairly straight shot up to the Col. To me both sides of the Col seem class 2. As noted, descending into the Kaweah Basin from the Col, one can get into lower angled terrain (a massive scree field) by heading to the north (left). Alternatively, I have found a direct route down the dark rock bands/"cliffs" (sometimes waterfalls) not as difficult as one might presume.

Looking back up from the Kaweah Basin, my recollection is that the Col is perhaps 100 yards to the south (left) of the obvious dark notch (Dave's class 3 variant). The dark notch is so prominent, as I recall it is easily seen from the summit of Mt Whitney on the other side of the Kern Trench.
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Re: Pyra Queen Col

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:02 pm

I encountered a solid ice band coming down the west side. It was short so I just lowered my pack on my bear cord and then cut steps with a rock. In a high snow year you may need an ice axe or even crampons. I did it in September, so by that time the snow was all very compact and icy. I also avoided most talus on the east side by going north to zig-zag down grassy benches. The upper bowl was solid snow. When I did it there was a cairn that marked the easier south notch. Not sure it is still there.
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