Fellow SPer Hamik and I attempted Black Kaweah from Dec. 24-28, for a 5 day trek in the middle of deep Sierra winter. I have done Black Kaweah and Red Kaweah together just this past summer as one continuous link up that took 27 nonstop hours (just a more impressive version of the standard 24 hour or less dayhike hehe) and had committed myself to the undertaking of dayhiking some of the most remote Sierra peaks this past summer. (having no love life or anything else worthwhile leads to these sorts of activities)
These remote peaks had the most appeal to me, with very few yearly summit entries-some of them carrying near mystical status like Black Kaweah.
So off we went on a 5 day winter Black Kaweah trek from Hospital Rock (Buckeye Flat). Unfortunately, we didn't summit and I wasn't expecting to, based on our short time frame, short daylight hours, and exceedingly deep unconsolidated snow. However, our timing managed to capture a window of rather pleasant weather and the opportunity for a rare experience of the Sierra fresh from a major storm. We reached somewhere near the 10,000 ft. level just short of the pass we intended to utilize and turned back due to high avalanche risks. One of my friends Vitaliy stated "5 days down the drain". Quite the contrary, it was a great training opportunity and we witnessed some beautiful sights.
Does anyone have any concrete verified information about previous Black Kaweah winter ascents? Has there only been one or two and who are they? My main concern was BK winter route conditions, as this can be quite hazardous and all routes on the peak are not the most trivial.
I don't feel worthy writing up a trip report, since we didn't summit, but I'd like to share the experience and thoughts with fellow SPers as well as a few gems of pics captured.
One of my futile efforts at breaking trail. My partner had better luck with his skis.
Rare backcountry Sierra ice:
Saturday night storm brewing, we got 4-5 inches of fresh snow that night. It was the only snowfall of the 5 days, though
And finally, my partner in crime braving the cold waters!!
Many thanks to Hamik for being such a capable and STRONG partner! He gave me revived hope and pride in what us young mountaineers can accomplish.