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Valor Pass

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Valor Pass

Postby MichaelRPetrick » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:46 pm

GENERAL OVERVIEW: From Blackcap Basin head towards to Ambition Lake and climb steep slabs to reach hold Valor Lake. Steep talus leads to a broad flat saddle. Descend by first going east and then north towards Martha Lake.


LOCATION: Straddling the LeConte Divide on the border between Sierra National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park HST Map


USGS TOPO MAP (7.5'): Mt. Goddard

ROUTE DESCRIPTION: This description is written heading East to West:

From Martha Lake, head upwards towards the far-right flanks of Mt. Reinstein, and then slowly turn right/north, staying towards center of the low basin draining from the pass. The pass has no obvious low point from below. A member of our party went too far right and ended up unnecessarily on Class 3 terrain. The rock here is broken up, though not terribly talus-y, and is quite solid.

The descent into Blackcap Basin was great fun. We stuck to the north/right side of the creek that feeds Valor Lake. Circling Valor Lake on the north, we kept north of the outlet creek and followed a long series of nearly unbroken steep slabs/dikes to rapidly reach the inlet of Ambition Lake. If it was wet, this slab descent would be considerably less pleasant. A more circuitous or difficult route would be a better bet.

We encountered almost no talus on the west side of the pass, despite Secor's mentioning it. I'm not sure how easy the slab line would be to find from below, but my pictures attempt to point it out.

PHOTOS: Apologies for the poor photos. Light was bad due to monsoonal thunderstorms, so we were not in a photo-taking mood when going over the pass.

IMG_7119 Stitch (1280x810).jpg
Looking back towards Martha Lake from the pass. If descending from the vantage point, bear right before arcing back left/north towards Martha Lake. The close rock in the left foreground is the steeper stuff you'll want to avoid in order to keep things Class 2.

IMG_7128 Stitch (1280x549).jpg
The view West from the pass looking toward Blackcap Basin, with Ambition Lake in the distance. Valor Lake is so near, that it is not visible until you begin descending towards it.

IMG_7134 Stitch (1280x657).jpg
Further down, Valor Lake has come into view. Our route was very nearly in line with the small lake partially visible in the distance.

Goddard Canyon Loop 046 (1280x960).jpg
If it's dry and your boots have good grip, aim to descend towards either of these two slabs running into the Valor Lake - once it comes into view. Or use these as a starting point to ascend, if heading the other direction.

IMG_7148 Stitch (1280x419).jpg
Another wider view of Valor Lake and the end of the first set of slabs that made descending this route a breeze.

IMG_7155 (1280x960).jpg
The pass from the outlet of Valor Lake. Yes, it was July 4th.

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