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Contact Pass

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Contact Pass

Postby alpinemike » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:17 pm

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TITLE: Contact Pass

GENERAL OVERVIEW: This pass leads from the South Fork of Big Pine Creek to the North Fork. The pass itself is on the Eastern side of Temple Crag and directly above Second Lake of the Big Pine Lakes.


LOCATION: Kings Canyon National Park directly to the East of Temple Crag and South of Second Lake. HST Map


USGS TOPO MAP (7.5'): Split Mountain

ROUTE DESCRIPTION: The South side of this Pass can be reached from a number of locations including Elinore Lake or Willow Lake. Rogue Photonic & I came from Elinore Lake. Coming from Willow Lake entails more brush and following the drainage that leads up to the final tarns below Mt. Gayley. From Elinore Lake one follows down the outlet until a talus slope appears. This slope is fairly stable and leads down around a knob to the creek that drains upper tarns. One follows the creek up to the Northeast through another talus slope. This talus slope ends in some brush around a small tarn directly below Contact Pass. From here Contact Pass is the obvious saddle directly to the North. The left side of the chute appears to have a use trail but it is very steep and loose sand/dirt. The climb is not technically difficult just a very annoying slog.

The North side of the pass is very steep at the upper portion and would definitely warrant the use of an ice ax and crampons given enough snow and ice. There is fortunately a use trail that leads all the way down to the first level section below the pass. From here the going gets tougher and the rock looser. You are travelling on a giant moraine field that contains much loose rock. We took a slightly Eastern descent down through this section and it was only conditionally stable. Use caution here. Once past the massive moraine field you enter another steeper slope that leads down towards the trees between Second & Third Lakes. From here there are a lot of cairns through yet another large boulder field that make the route mostly confusing but so long as you keep going straight you will eventually close the outlet of the Third Lake and pick up the trail not far beyond.

Photographs provided by Rogue Photonic since all my photos from this week of the trip were lost.





Never put off a backpacking trip for tomorrow, if you can do it today...
Alpine Mike-

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