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Frozen Lake Pass

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Frozen Lake Pass

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu May 31, 2012 5:01 pm

Frozen Lake Pass

GENERAL OVERVIEW: Pass between Lakes Basin and Upper Basin (south of Mather Pass).


LOCATION: Kings Canyon NP Frozen Lake Pass on the HST Map

ELEVATION: 12,320ft

USGS TOPO (7.5'): Mt Pinchot, CA

ROUTE DESCRIPTION: Although Secor calls it class 3 and says it requires an ice axe, it is more similar to the typical harder class 2 Sierra pass. The class 3 designation is for snow/ice on the upper 100 feet on the east side. I have been over it twice when there was no snow. It is however very steep with some moderately difficult boulder scrambling. I have been over it both ways; it is scarier going west to east, but more of a grunt going east-to west. I had an ice axe when I went east-to-west and only trekking poles going west-to-east.

Hazards- loose rock, steep snow early season.

Description west-to-east: From the lowest of three lakes in upper Cartridge Creek, head north-northeast. You can either go up the drainage that comes from the three lakes that are below the pass, or go a bit farther north and ascend an obvious grassy slot that puts you on the north side of the major ridge and traverse this ridge to intersect the outlet of the uppermost lake. I think the “slot route” is easier, and it is a good choice if you are coming from Dumbbell Pass. Go around the right (SE) side of the upper lake. Either traverse high on the east side of the main gully, or go straight up the gully. Traversing is easier but has some miserable scree. Straight up is harder but OK if you are really comfortable on large rock blocks. The top of the pass is a left leaning slot (as seen from the west). The east side is very steep. There is a well-worn path down the east side and some very loose stuff. Be VERY careful. A fall could result a significant injury. Once down the steepest part, head right towards the permanent snowfield. If you can get on this snowfield down lower where it is not very steep, you can go a lot faster. Pass Frozen Lake on the north side. Getting off the moraine is tricky. Aim north of the actual “toe”. There are some very loose parts and huge blocks on this moraine. Once you reach the round lake, you can either stay high if you want to see the larger lake to the northeast, or easier to drip down to the lower bench and head for the PCT.

Location and Routes

View back towards Lake Basin from the top of the "slot" on the route variation.

Looking at upper lakes while traversing above them on the alternate route

Looking at pass (actual pass is hidden,notch to the left) from the uppermost lake

Looking down the west side from the top of the pass

Looking back up at the pass from Frozen Lake (actual pass is slightly hidden)
Last edited by copeg on Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: formatting

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Wandering Daisy
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