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#32639 - 08/08/13 03:54 PM Kaweah Peaks Trip
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA
Bob Pickering is off for a big summer adventure today. He started at Mineral King this morning, heading toward the Kaweah range. Being quite the peak-bagger, it will be fun watching his adventures over the next several days.

Being the fast hiker he is, he's already hiked from Mineral King (7800') over Glacier Pass (11,100'), down to Spring Lake (10,000) up and over the Great Western Divide (no trail, 11,100), down to Little Five Lakes, and heading down into Big Arroyo. He's moving fast for someone carrying several days' gear.

His SPOT map is here. Be sure to click the "Terrain" checkbox by hovering the mouse over the "Map" button in the upper right corner of the map.

Years ago, I took my son on nearly this same route (except didn't know about the off-trail route which avoids an extra 600' heading over Blackrock Pass). It took us into the dark to get to the first Little Five Lakes.

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#32685 - 08/11/13 01:11 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA
Sheesh! Since I posted above, Bob's map shows he's climbed Black Kaweah, Mt Kaweah, "Second" Kaweah, and today, he's up on Red Kaweah.

Way to go Bob!

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#32689 - 08/11/13 07:54 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: Steve C]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
And this is Bob's first backpack since the Whitney trip in Feb, 2011 where he went up the switchbacks to prove it could be done in the dead of winter without technical gear. He doesn't backpack much nowadays and sticks to mostly day climbs and hikes, but he was really looking forward to this trip. When we were in Reno last month he had just bought a new overnight pack and assorted gear he was trying to get used to.

Bob's a machine when he's hiking or climbing. He's extremely disciplined about pace and breaks, and he can cover a lot of ground quickly with just a steady gait - he's 90% legs anyway, so one of his strides is about one and a half of mine. And he focuses intently on his goal. He's got a ridiculously long streak of consecutive successful summits going.

I'd love to see Bob, Richard, Jack, Doug, and Davey McCoy hike Whitney together. That would be one helluva pace, with maybe just a little competitiveness . . .

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#32693 - 08/12/13 10:18 AM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: Steve C]
CMC2 Offline


Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 160
Loc: CO
Last August on what I believe was a long 1 day solo trip, Sean O'Roarke did the entire Kaweah ridge South to North starting with Mt Kaweah. This includes the ones Bob just did plus Bilko Pinnacle, Michael's Pinnacle, Koontz Pinnacle and Pyramidal Pinnacle, while finishing up with Black Kaweah. Oh and yes Sean did the hardest one of them all, Squaretop.

Bob is older than Sean and both are distinguished climbers with outstanding reputations. Sean passed a group of my friends who were in the Big Arroyo Basin and they were in awe of what he had accomplished as they saw him early in the morning on his way in and then late in the afternoon on his way out.

So Gary I guess you need to add Sean to the list of those you cited.

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#32696 - 08/12/13 03:30 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: CMC2]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: CMC2
they were in awe of what he had accomplished as they saw him early in the morning on his way in and then late in the afternoon on his way out.


I wonder how much of the trip he actually remembers (outside of how fast he bagged it)

Sitting in a Piazza somewhere in Italy (fortunate enough to have lived there) we were amazed by the "see 10 countries in 10 days" groups that would pile out of the buses, take their "I was here pix" and then pile back in. I always wondered how much they remembered, too.
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#32697 - 08/12/13 04:39 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: CMC2]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: CMC2


So Gary I guess you need to add Sean to the list of those you cited.


I could, Ernie. We could also throw in Bob Burd, Jim (Sierragator, the only known Whitney triple), Laura, and a few other uber-hikers, but I just named the Whitney Usual Suspects, so to speak - folks that came to mind who have done multiple impressive ascents of Whitney in the last couple of years. Bob P's all over the place and doesn't hit Whitney all that often, but he did a MR double a while back, and then there was that dead-of-winter MT/switchbacks ascent in 2011 that got everyone's attention - snowiest winter on record, if I remember right. I recall watching his SPOT and thinking, "This can't be right - he's moving way too fast for those conditions and the weight he's carrying!"

Hope you're well, my friend!

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#32700 - 08/12/13 06:50 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: Bee]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Originally Posted By: Bee


I wonder how much of the trip he actually remembers (outside of how fast he bagged it)


Bee, I can assure you, most every detail. Sean, especially, is highly astute and will convey a lot of detail in his reports about the days. I could also tell you about almost every footstep I've taken on some of my bigger days, both backpacking and day hiking.

I've heard again and again about how with backpacking "I get to really see the sunsets and sunrises from way back there." I can assure you, I've seen plenty of both on some of my longer days using both methods.

Liquid Gold: Sunset at Precipice Lake, July 2012 (backpack)


Sunrise, Moonset Over Thunder Mountain: Table Mountain Dayhike 2010



keywords: Precipice Lake sunset picture
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#32701 - 08/12/13 07:56 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: MooseTracks]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
I actually boosted that moonshot and added it to my coveted lunar collection -- thanks for reminding me of that great shot.

lovely mirror image, very lovely.
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#32705 - 08/12/13 11:43 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: MooseTracks]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA
MooseTracks, Ansel Adams' Precipice Lake picture is famous, but I tell you, yours jumps out and grabs me even more!

                   

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#32712 - 08/13/13 10:29 AM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: Steve C]
bobpickering Online


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 353
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Hi, everybody! I just got home about an hour ago. We hiked to Big Arroyo on Thursday, did Black Kaweah on Friday, and then Mt. Kaweah and Second Kaweah on Saturday. My partner hiked out on Sunday (the poor sap still has to work for a living), while I did Red Kaweah. I hiked out on Monday. I’ll post a trip report after I wash some clothes, play with my horse, and recover a bit.

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#32714 - 08/13/13 10:47 AM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: bobpickering]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA
It was fun watching your progress.

...from a poor sap who still has to work for a living.

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#32721 - 08/13/13 04:30 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: bobpickering]
happytrails Offline


Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 29
Loc: West Covina, Ca
Bob! Congratulations on a successful trip.. can't wait to read the TR. I hiked Mt. Wilson with a colleague today and we were talking about you and your insane climbing trips.

MT: You've got some mad photog skillz. Thanks for sharing.



Edited by happytrails (08/13/13 04:32 PM)

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#32731 - 08/14/13 10:56 AM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: Steve C]
bobpickering Online


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 353
Loc: Reno, Nevada
No TR yet, but here is a link to the Spot Adventures map.

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#32754 - 08/16/13 06:20 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: bobpickering]
bobpickering Online


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 353
Loc: Reno, Nevada
I first admired the Kaweahs from the summit of Mt. Whitney 25 years ago. I’ve been looking west from Whitney, Williamson, and other summits in the area and thinking, “I gotta get over there one of these days” ever since. The trouble was that I was having too much fun repeating great climbs on the east side to justify the effort to drive around to the west. Well, a few years ago, I decided I should try to climb enough SPS peaks to meet the requirements for Master Emblem. Now I HAD to drive around to the west.

Last year, I drove to Mineral King to climb Mt. Eisen and to familiarize myself with the area. This year, I did a lot of planning and research for my longest backpacking trip since Denali in 1995. Ed Herbulock, one of my climbing partners since 1990, accepted my invitation to join me.

I left Reno at 7:15 Wednesday morning in order to get to the ranger station before 3:45 to pick up our permit. Then I grabbed the last level campsite at the Cold Springs campground, hiked up to the trailhead to check things out, and just killed time until Ed arrived.

We left the Mineral King trailhead just before 7:00 on Thursday morning. We followed the abandoned trail over Glacier Pass (11,080+) and down to Spring Lake. We went over Hands and Knees Pass (11,145), which included about 100’ of easy class 3 rock climbing. From there, we contoured north until we could drop down to Little Five Lakes. We initially missed the trail from Black Rock Pass and did a bit of cross-country before we finally found the trail and cruised to our camp at Big Arroyo. It took a little under 10 hours to cover around 9 miles and 4,500 feet of elevation gain.

On Friday, we headed for Black Kaweah. I was hoping to tag Red Kaweah too, but our progress was much too slow for that. As we approached Black Kaweah, things somehow didn’t look right to me. I thought we might be one ridge too far to the right, and I headed left to check out the next drainage. Ed quickly convinced me that I was wrong, and we continued to Black Kaweah on the right route. I owe you, Ed!

Finding the black watermark and the traverse into the left couloir was easy. There were a few sections that were pretty dangerous because of loose rock, but the climbing was only class 3 if we did the route finding correctly. I wasn’t sure which way to go, but we stayed left until just below the very top of the couloir. Then we headed right and found the summit. (I think we should have headed right a little lower.) I enjoyed finding an entry from our favorite moose in the register. On the way down, we had to take turns climbing so we wouldn’t kill each other with falling rock, so it took a while. We were back at camp in about 10 hours, round trip. It was a good day, and our hardest objective was out of the way.

We climbed Mt Kaweah and Second Kaweah on Saturday. As the Spot track shows, we stayed on the trail a long time before heading up the loose, overgrown slopes towards the saddle between the peaks. This minimized the misery, and we descended pretty much the same way. After we got high enough to actually see our objectives, Ed made a terrible discovery: he had either lost all his food at a rest stop or forgotten it entirely. We decided that we could get by sharing my food, so we both continued up. Ed agreed that the food was sufficient payback for correcting my route-finding mistake the day before.

Secor and others list Mt. Kaweah as class 1, but I couldn’t see any route to the summit that was just hiking. There are many large talus blocks to overcome, and we used our hands for balance often. It’s still an easy climb; I just think “Class 1” is inaccurate.

After a nice break on Mt. Kaweah, we headed for Second Kaweah, which was just a 600’ talus hop from the saddle between the peaks. We were running low on food, so we headed down without delay. The descent went quickly, since there was a lot of loose sand. We were back in camp after another 10-hour day.

Ed had to be back at work on Monday, so he headed out Sunday morning. I had originally hoped to climb Triple Divide on Sunday, but I decided to climb Red Kaweah instead, since I didn’t have time for it on Friday. Red Kaweah was arguably the best climb of the trip: no route-finding mistakes, no forgotten food, less loose talus on the approach, and minimal rock fall on the route.

There were some nasty-looking granite cliffs at the bottom of the west (or NW) face, but I thought I saw a class 3 route through them. I was pretty tired of loose talus by this time, so I gave it a try. Easy class 3 got me up the cliff. Then I headed too far left, worked my way right into a couloir, followed the couloir until cliffs blocked my way, and then climbed out of the couloir to the right, only to find the route I should have been on the whole time. A short scamper to the summit gave me the privilege of making the second entry in the register for 2013. After a quick trip down the correct route (including the cliff again), I was back at camp for a 9-hour day.

Monday was a straightforward trip back to the car, retracing our route from Friday. Despite several stops to soak my sore feet and remove a toenail, it was just an 8-hour day. I got a shower and a good but overpriced burger at Silver City Resort and headed for Reno. I slept in my car at the Auburn Fairgrounds and was home by 9:30 Tuesday morning.

I really wish I could have climbed Triple Divide Peak, but four big remote peaks and no real problems is still a pretty good trip.

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#32757 - 08/16/13 11:22 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: bobpickering]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA
Remove a toenail? confused I thought you got rid of all of them long ago.

Good report Bob. 'Twas fun keeping an eye on your progress. Triple Divide peak would have taken a looong day from your base camp.

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#32792 - 08/19/13 12:40 PM Re: Kaweah Peaks Trip [Re: Steve C]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Sounds like a great trip indeed, Bob! Black Kaweah is truly one of my favorite summits. I was solo, so the looseness didn't bother me all that much, and the scrambling was a blast! I think I found some low 4th slab near the top (which I bypassed on the downclimb), but the intermittent cairns kept me in the right chute.

Yup, even mini-Moosie had a blast up there!!



Cheers,
L
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