King Col

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Mscremin
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King Col

Post by Mscremin » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:38 pm

I'm planning to do part of the Kings Canyon High Route. My wife and I are very experienced off-trail travelers. E.g., we've done most of the Sierra High Route and have been north of the arctic circle nine times on long, unguided hiking, ski, and canoe trips.

Having said that, King Col is a non-starter for us. Everything I've read and seen makes it look way too dangerous. Andrew's Skurka's guidebook describes going over King Col Central and then heading down that unappealing valley to Woods Creek.

Google Earth makes it look like you can go over King Col Central, go straight across the basin, up the slope on the other side, and then down into Col Creek just below where the King Col chute discharges. Unfortunately I haven't figured out how to attach or paste a GE screen shot here to show the route.

Does this seem like a reasonable route?








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kursavwilage
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Re: King Col

Post by kursavwilage » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:44 pm

So, I'm not sure what is meant by,"King Col Central", but I will explain the way my friend and I did it in 2013:
We came over Gardener Pass into the lower part of Gardener Creek. Heading to the south west side of King Col from Gardener Creek we encountered some pretty thick bush whacking in the lower part of the creek. Once we started to climb out of the creek the lower parts of the southwest slope consisted of fairly steep hiking through boulders and trees until the angle lessened to the long gradual ramp leading up to the actual chute of the "col" on the northeast side. The ramp on the southwest side kind of lulls you into thinking that it will be a piece of cake until you actually stand at the top and look down the northeast side. When I looked down I was pretty intimidated at first because the route goes down a steep chute about 20 feet wide at the top consisting of hard pack decomposed granite with some loose rocks that dog legs to the left hiding the rest of the descent from view at the top. I dropped my pack and down-climbed so I could get a view of the rest of the way down and found that it opens up and the slope lessens leading through some loose talus into a large boulder field with a lot of boulder hopping most of the way down to the lakes below. We put our packs on and went for it staying close together so as not to knock rocks on each other using the wall of the left side of the chute for hand holds when necessary. Even in the low snow year and the later season that we did this in there was still a small amount of hard packed, icy snow at on the right of the top of the chute. We were able to avoid the snow by staying to the left but, I would not like to attempt this pass early in the summer or on a year of a heavy snow because it would probably be full of steep icy snow. It was steep enough that if one was to tumble it might be hard to stop from tumbling quite a ways down. The steepest part isn't long but, it will get your attention.
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kursavwilage
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Re: King Col

Post by kursavwilage » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:52 pm

Sorry for the double pics...
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CAMERONM
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Re: King Col

Post by CAMERONM » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:14 pm

Hi Mscremin
I did King Col this summer and I can verify that it is pretty unpleasant, comes in right after Snow Tongue as my least favorite sketchy class 2 pass. I drew out on a map of what I think you are describing, and although Skurka does not recommend these routes, I am not sure he actually tried them. They seem reasonable to me, and are probably worth the effort/detour.
(BTW, I like this new drag-and-drop interface)
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