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Cataract Creek Pass

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Cataract Creek Pass

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:17 pm

NAME: Cataract Creek Pass

GENERAL OVERVIEW: Allows access between Amphitheater Basin and Dumbbell Basin

CLASS/DIFFICULTY: Class 2

LOCATION: Kings Canyon NP. HST Map

ELEVATION: 11520 ft

USGS TOPO MAP (7.5'): North Palisade, CA

ROUTE DESCRIPTION: From the Dumbbell side it is an easy approach up a
grassy, sandy hillside (see photo). The Amphitheater side is more challenging. If
ascending from Amphitheater, there are at least a couple of routes with cairns
that lead along and above the north rim of the lake. Once one reaches 11,000 ft
there is a nice little plateau with snowmelt running through it (even into late
summer). At this point, it is easy to decide how far one wants to go on snow
(if snow is still present, but even late in summer, I’ve always hit snow). There
are several spots in the last 500 ft to the ridge where one can leave the snow and
climb on rock/gravel/sand to the right (north) of the chute.

PHOTO'S: Photo's and description courtesy of CGundersen:

CCP begins with a traverse around the north rim of Amph Lake (furthest lake) and
up to a small plateau from which much of the final descent can be made on snow
Observation Peak is just left of center:
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View of CCP across Amphitheater Lake:
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The final 500 ft of CCP. Notice the cornice at the top:
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View back at the lake and Palisade crest from 2/3 of the way up CCP:
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Same as above picture, but view across at Upper Basin Crossing:
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View back down the the final ascent of CCP:
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View from CCP with Upper Basin Crossing in view, low saddle on the right:
Image

CCP from the Dumbbell Lakes side:
Image
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Re: Cataract Creek Pass

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:15 am

Western side of the pass:

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The Western side offers class 1 walking like so:

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Cornice that can be at the top.

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Re: Cataract Creek Pass

Postby quentinc » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:28 pm

Which way did you go to avoid the cornice? Secor says north, but the downclimb on the DB side looked a bit sketchy.
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Re: Cataract Creek Pass

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:14 pm

It was indeed the North side. The snow had melted just enough for me to take off my pack and climb under it. The descent was hard class 2 and some class 3. I did lower my pack by rope at one point. As I got a bit lower I got on the snow and slid down most of the way. Another set of tracks hooked to the North on steep loose sand. Out of all the passes I did in 2011 I considered this to be the most difficult.

As you get close to the lake there is a bit of willow tromping mixed with large talus that was not very fun either.
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Re: Cataract Creek Pass

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:10 am

Cataract Creek Pass in early Sept 2013 dry conditions. Easy Class 2. There was not one patch of snow on the pass! With all the snow melted, the main gully is a sandy chute, and the steep upper 50 feet can be avoided by a good path on the rock wall to the right going up (left going down). It actually is similar to the north side of Cartridge Pass. There was a good use-trail worn through the upper part. Once down to the green little "meadow" there are plenty of cairns to lead the way. I failed to see any "bench" as reported in Secor's description. It is just a use-trail that traverses a relatively steep slope and you have to cross some minor talus. It only took 45 minutes to descend from the pass to the outlet of Amphitheater Lake.

This is an example of how different the difficulty of a pass can be depending on conditions. I would call this pass Class 3 (only if snow) and easy Class 2 without snow. I certainly could see that with snow, even though there is a use-path that diverts the cornice, you still would come out on some really steep snow slopes.
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Re: Cataract Creek Pass

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:51 pm

I crossed in July 1993 and '93 was a heavy snowfall year. I too avoided the cornice by heading north of it and managed to do this with an entirely class 2 route, although I most 'detour' routes of this sort will include some class 3. To the north of the main chute, I was able to find a class 2 chimney that is not visible from below. The chimney itself was blocked by snow at the top but enough had melted away so that you could wiggle through the crack between the rock and snow. This required a lot of strength, but there was no exposure, hence a rather strenuous class 2 move. Everything else on the route was no worse than class 2. The steep part topped out on a wide snow-covered bench just east of the crest and this bench was followed to the actual pass, from which, as noted above, the descent to Dumbbell Lakes was easy. This winter I plan to post some "archive" trip reports to keep us going during the "off season" and my 1993 trip will be one of them, so I'll try to annotate the Cataract Pass route when I post that report.
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
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Re: Cataract Creek Pass

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:32 pm

North side Cataract Creek Pass, Sept 2013.

Image
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