Kuna Crest Saddle (a.k.a. "Helen Lake Pass")

Member descriptions, photos, and map locations of Cross Country Passes in the High Sierra. This forum is for information only - discussions should be kept in the appropriate categories.
This forum is a component of the HST Map. We need your help to complete the database, so please contribute!
Post Reply
User avatar
Topix Regular
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:18 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: West Oakland, California

Kuna Crest Saddle (a.k.a. "Helen Lake Pass")

Post by Flamingo » Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:45 pm

Kuna Crest Saddle

GENERAL OVERVIEW: The cross-country pass at the south head of Helen Lake; the pass connects the Parker Creek watershed to the north with the Kuna Creek headwaters to the south.



ELEVATION: 11,883 ft.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION (Southwest to Northeast): From the west side, ascend to the pass on broad grassy and sandy slopes. The trekking on the west side is easy class 1-2. Aim for the lowest point on the saddle, as marked on the HST map. From the top of the pass, look towards Helen Lake (below) and plan your descent route. The NE side of the pass is steeper than the SW side; the NE side is mostly large tallus and boulders, requiring some class 3 moves to scramble over the bigger boulders. [EDIT: See the comment below by @giantbrookie -- the NE side can be entirely class 2 if you follow a northernly route. ] Once you reach Helen Lake, traverse around the south shore and cross its outlet stream. As you descend to Parker Creek, keep the outlet stream on your right; this will keep you on easy class 1-2 slopes. The other side of the outlet has mildly annoying tallus.
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.
Last edited by Flamingo on Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:25 pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Posts: 3026
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Experience: N/A
Location: Fresno

Re: Kuna Crest Saddle (a.k.a. "Helen Lake Pass")

Post by giantbrookie » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:47 pm

It is harder to find the optimal descent route on the north side on descent versus ascent. See http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... =1&t=11528 for details going from the north--It is easier if one aims a bit north of the lowest point. If you stay a bit north of the low point (ie left as noted if heading northeast) you avoid the steepest stuff, as is apparent on the topo map. This isn't so much a "ridge" as a rounded "shoulder" that is apparent on the topo map because it has gentler topography than staying in the "groove". With a bit of looking for the lowest angle topography on a small scale (following benches) leads to ordinary class 2 and it does not approach class 3. If a good route is picked (many options) the steeper class 2 part is very short and it is on stable large talus blocks. Accordingly I would rate this pass as rated in Secor as strictly class 2.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest