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Rob Vandiver
(ShortBus) - M

Locale: So Cal
Kaweah Basin from 9 Lakes Basin (for a noob) on 07/28/2012 13:04:01 MDT Print View

A friend and I are heading out tomorrow to spend some time in the Sierras. We had another guy that was going to come, but he bailed last minute, and that opens us up to more possibilities (I had promised no cross country to him after freaking him out the last 2 trips.)

To ask as shortly as possible, what would be the best way to get into Keweah Basin for a couple of guys that arent super experienced with high / steep passes or cross country? Is it even advisable? Im not sure if we have the chops, but how do you get the chops unless you go out and do it?

Looking at some trip reports online I see people have approached from 9 Lakes Basin, and crossed a col between Black Kaweah and the Kaweah Queen. Would this be safe-ish for a couple of relative newbies?

Edited by ShortBus on 07/28/2012 13:16:53 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Kaweah Basin from 9 Lakes Basin (for a noob) on 07/28/2012 15:24:30 MDT Print View

"what would be the best way to get into Keweah Basin for a couple of guys that arent super experienced with high / steep passes or cross country? Is it even advisable?"

Kaweah Basin is probably not the best place to earn your chops; however, if you are in the area and want to give it a try, by all means do so. That said, Pyra-Queen Col, the route you are referring to between Kaweah Queen and Pyramidal Pinnacle, not Black Kaweah, is most definitely not the place to get your feet wet. It is the most difficult of the commonly used routes that I know of and not for beginners. If you are coming from 9 Lakes Basin, I'd advise continuing on down the HST to Chagoopa Creek and following it up to Kaweah Pass. The approach to the pass from the HST is easy, but once over the pass you will have to descend a steep, loose scree slope. From there on, it is easy hiking, with the entire basin spread out before you. Since you are not experienced, it would be better for you to return the way you came, rather than attempting either of the routes that take you down to the Kern Kaweah River. They both require good route finding skills, and a comfort level with scrambling on occasionally exposed rock if you choose to descend the unnamed east fork of Pickett Creek. I hope this helps.

Edited for content: If you have Secor's "The High Sierra", look up Kaweah Pass. He has a pretty good description of what is involved. His description of Pyra-Queen Col is understated, to put it mildly.

Best of luck. You will be visiting a very special place.

Edited by ouzel on 07/28/2012 15:28:33 MDT.

Dave Grey
(dapperdave) - F
Re: Kaweah Basin from 9 Lakes Basin (for a noob) on 07/28/2012 15:45:00 MDT Print View

Hi Rob,

I don't have time for a detailed post as it's bedtime here, and I have to be up early for work tomorrow, but as far as I know from reading Secor, the 2 easiest direct routes from 9 lakes to Kaweah are Pants Pass (Class 2, 1.4miles S of Triple Divide Peak UTM 634484) and Pyra-Queen Col( Class 2, 0.2 miles S of Kaweah Queen) I think I'm right in saying that there's lots of loose rock on this ridge, and for Pants Pass there are 3 alternatives one is class 2, one class 3 and one even harder (cliff on the Kaweah basin side). Ultimately only you can know whether you're up to it and I would suggest further research before relying on getting through this way.

Another longer but possibly easier option is Kaweah Pass (Class 2, 0.5 miles NE of Mount Kaweah)

Bear in mind that I haven't done any of these passes personally, hopefully Tom Kirchner will pipe up, as he has lots of experience in the area.

Hope this helps,

Dave

Rob Vandiver
(ShortBus) - M

Locale: So Cal
Thanks for the info! on 07/28/2012 16:13:14 MDT Print View

Tom & Dave, thank you so much for the replies. Tom, it was your trip report of the area that made me want to go out there, seems like a magical place.

That being said, I think we will play it by ear. I have 5 days of food packed, a map of the area, with no certain plans of where we will end up. Sounds like a great time to me!


Depending on energy levels, we may make a go of it and try to head up Chagoopa Creek, even if we don't make it down into the basin maybe at least we can catch a glimpse of it.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Thanks for the info! on 07/28/2012 16:21:38 MDT Print View

"Depending on energy levels, we may make a go of it and try to head up Chagoopa Creek, even if we don't make it down into the basin maybe at least we can catch a glimpse of it."

If you make it up to the pass, I'd bet you'll keep on going once you've seen the views. Don't let the scree slope scare you off. It ain't that bad. Just pay attention to what you're doing and all will be well. Best of luck and I hope you have a great trip!