Topic

Late September splendor on the Kings-Kern divide


Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Campfire Member Trip Reports Late September splendor on the Kings-Kern divide

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #3446264
    Adam White
    BPL Member

    @awhite4777

    Locale: On the switchbacks

    I took advantage of good weather and health, and squeezed a quickie in in late September.

    I met fellow BPL’er Robert Perkins mid-Sierra, and together, we went traversed the Kings-Kern divide via an avalanche chute near Lake Reflection, then wandered around the upper Kern basin before retreating over Forester, and returning to our respective sides of the Sierra.

    Link to TR and a few pics to follow.

    #3446265
    Adam White
    BPL Member

    @awhite4777

    Locale: On the switchbacks

    I’m not brave enough to type an entire trip report into BPL, so it’s downloadable as a PDF here: https://ontheswitchbacks.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/kingskern.pdf

    Ignore the slightly funny formatting (blank pages) and page numbers. This is actually an excerpt from a larger volume that I’m having printed to a physical paperback to send to me grandmama (yes, seriously). The format does read relatively nicely from a tablet or phone, so that’s a plus.

    Some eye-candy below; the entire photo album is here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96747006@N05/albums/72157674861236006/with/29575067053/

    Also, since this is BPL, packlist for the gearheads is here: https://ontheswitchbacks.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/roads-end-september-2016.pdf


    East Lake sunrise


    Atop the divide; Lake Reflection below


    The view from the top of the divide #HighSierraPorn


    Ridge-walking along the divide, to inspect Lucys Foot Pass


    The Upper Kern is a wonderful place to explore


    Racing weather over Forester

    #3446281
    Alex Wallace
    BPL Member

    @feetfirst

    Locale: Sierra Nevada North

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

    #3446303
    ben .
    BPL Member

    @frozenintime

    so good.

    is this ‘avalanche chute’ also known as ‘little joe’s pass’?

    #3446307
    Adam White
    BPL Member

    @awhite4777

    Locale: On the switchbacks

    is this ‘avalanche chute’ also known as ‘little joe’s pass’?

    Yes–I think in my pre-trip Googling, I found it referred to as “Little Joe’s Pass”, “Weyman(‘s) Chute”, or just “An unnamed avalanche chute”. I believe all are referring to the same route/pass.

    I went with “unnamed”, not wanting to step on either Weyman or Little Joe’s toes.

    #3446316
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Very cool, Adam.  The Upper Kern is about as good as it gets, IMHO.  Thanks for taking us along for the ride!

    #3446440
    ben .
    BPL Member

    @frozenintime

    and how did you find lil joe / mr chute?

    in my own bit of googling i mostly found it just listed as another option with milly, lucy and the gang. not much about its relative difficulty.

    #3446451
    Matthew / BPL
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    Adam, thanks for sharing your trip report. That was easily one of the most enjoyable trip reports I’ve read.

    Also, you are a good grandson.

    #3446474
    Cameron M
    BPL Member

    @cameronm-aka-backstroke

    Locale: Los Angeles

    Nice, thanks for sharing!

    #3446478
    Adam White
    BPL Member

    @awhite4777

    Locale: On the switchbacks

    Thanks, all!

    Tom said:

    The Upper Kern is about as good as it gets, IMHO.

    Yeah, there are just a LOT of nooks and crannies to explore in there. The purpose of this trip was primarily to see Lake Reflection, traverse the divide, see Lake South America, and wander around the Upper Kern Basin just a bit–we obviously just skimmed the surface. I think it would make a great basecamp for a few days. TONS of lakes, peaks, passes to scramble around. I suspect my drive to go see it was due in no small part to some of your comments and trip reports that I’ve read on here, so thanks for all your contributions!

    ben . said:

    and how did you find lil joe / mr chute?

    My take: it was efficient, with minimal exposure, and fun hands-and-feet climbing.

    Robert deserves the credit for navigating to the base of the chute; the approach he chose had a minimal amount of talus, and was quick and painless. While ascending the chute, the navigation was pretty straightforward, but there’s at least one bifurcation that can leave the hiker wondering which fork to choose. We think we probably ended up on slightly more difficult terrain due to our choice at that bifurcation, but it remained Class 2(ish), albeit a little trickier. After a few hundred feed, we rejoined the main chute, and from there, it was easy sailing to the top.

    As far as the alternatives: other folks are definitely a better source than I, since I’ve been over just one. We based our decision on web-based research and Secor, and we just didn’t read great things about any of the alternatives. Here are a few resources:

    A BPL thread (with great input from SME Tom Kirchner) that influenced our decision is here: https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/50068/

    Piero Scaruffi nudged us in the direction of the chute, here: http://www.scaruffi.com/travel/ericsson.html

    Leor Pantilat also calls the chute the “second easiest way” over the divide (after Forester, of course): https://pantilat.wordpress.com/tag/lake-reflectio/

    All are trivial from the south side (perhaps Millys is a little less trivial, since it involves ~250 vertical feet of Class 2, whereas the others are essentially Class 1). I stood atop Millys Foot and Lucys Foot on this trip, and looked down their north sides (really, faces). Neither looked inviting. There are photos of both in the Flickr album, and although it’s hard to discern grade from a photo, both are extremely steep at the top. I would call them firmly Class 3, due to the grade (and consequential exposure). The surface did not look great on either; Leor (perhaps among others) warned of kitty litter on the rock on Millys Foot Pass.

    #3446496
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    “The surface did not look great on either; Leor (perhaps among others) warned of kitty litter on the rock on Millys Foot Pass.”

    Exactly why I backed off on Milly’s in particular, and chose Thunder Col instead when heading back to Roads End via Sphinx Lakes long ago.  Lucys is just downright dangerous.  Given the alternatives, it would be a little unwise to choose it, unless you happen to be a real adrenaline junkie with a penchant for life(short) on the edge.

    I see Milestone Basin/Pass/Bowl in your future, Adam. ;0)

    I really enjoyed your stream of consciousness narrative, by the way.  It conveyed beautifully the effect roaming off trail in the High Sierra has on that subset of us who respond to the siren call.

    #3446694
    ben .
    BPL Member

    @frozenintime

    thanks adam!

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Loading...