Who likes to suffer in the cold? Winter Kaweah Fun
Posted by PellucidWombat on Jun 9, 2006
Page Views: 1142
City or Place: Sequoia National Park
Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Partner Status: Need Partners
OK, so apparently when I suggested climbing the Kaweahs in the winter last year I couldn't kick up much committed interest, so I'm going to try to get an earlier start searching out other crazies this year.
I would be planning 7-10 days out in the Sierras, covering a good bit of ground to climb most of the Kaweah Peaks, provided that I can find other fit and competent partners who can take the time off (since I'm a student I will be planning on doing it over Winter Break). This is 3rd to low 5th class climbing in boots and on snow-covered rock, and I intend on bringing adequate snow & rock pro. The approach would be via AT or Telemarks(and from Wolverton Ski Resort, NOT from Mineral King) and snowshoes may be used on the peaks themelves. A shorter 4-day plan is also in the works.
- It's remote, and even more so in winter, so it will be a unique trip!
- I just came back from a failed expedition in Alaska and I've got the bug - so I want to practice more with the logistics of a longer trip
- My climbing experiences with mixed snow and rock have been some of my favorite ones, so what better way to avoid the loose rocks of the Kaweahs than to climb them when they are covered in snow and frozen together!
- I've found some promising lines that may not have been climbed - I want to check them out!
Sometime around the end of December, weather permitting.
The approach will be from the Wolverton Ski resort. Currently the AAC has very little information on the Kaweahs. I have found 3 promising technical lines that are not listed that I want to look into on the trip, and if feasible, attempt (2 on Black Kaweah, 1 on Red Kaweah), permitted that a party organized is competent enough. One hope is that the snow cover and cold temperatures will make loose rock less of an issue.
Right now there are two itineraries being written up (see below). I would plan a minimum of 1-2 days to approach, a minimum of 1 day for climbing, and 1 day to get out. To minimize weight carried on the longer itinerary, I planned a route that permits leaving caches along the way, to be picked up on the way back. The following is a proposed itinerary for the Tour de Force:
Day 1 - Approach Part 1
Elevation Gain: 5,450’
Elevation Loss: -4,450’
Target: Hamilton Lakes
Load: 7 Days food & fuel, snowshoes
Day 2 - Approach Part 2 & Recon of Black Kaweah
Elevation Gain: 5,720’
Elevation Loss: -2,120’
Target: Lawson Pk, Kaweah Queen, Black Kaweah N Face Recon
Load: 5 Days food & fuel
Day 3 - Speculative - New Route? on Black Kaweah
Elevation Gain: 2,200’
Elevation Loss: 2,200’
Target: N Face of Black Kaweah, return to camp
Load: 1 Day food & bivvy gear
Day 4 - New Route? on Red Kaweah
Elevation Gain: 3,750’
Elevation Loss: -2,450’
Target: Michael’s Pinnacle & Red Kaweah (can Red be reached from Michael?)
Load: 2 Days food & fuel
Day 5 - Peakbagging Day
Elevation Gain: 3,490’
Elevation Loss: -4,330’
Target: Square Top, Gray Kaweah, Bilko Pinnacle, Big Kaweah, pickup cache
Load: 1 Day food & fuel
Day 6 - New Route? on Black Kaweah
Elevation Gain: 1,450’
Elevation Loss: -3,340’
Target: Black Kaweah S Ridge & W Ridge, pickup cache
Load: 1 Day food & fuel
Day 7 - Heading Out
Elevation Gain: 5,060’
Elevation Loss: -8,240’
Load: 1 Day food & fuel
Total Distance: 50.6 miles
Total Elevation Gain: 27,120 ft
Time: 7 days
A map will be attached next week.
Team Members & Notes
Note: I will be capping the trip at 4 members (including myself), so there are 3 spots. If I haven't climbed with you before, then ideally I'll want to do an introductory climb this fall to get a sense of strengths and weaknesses. Of course online information is very helpful to a get a sense for a climber, but ideally I wouldn't want to rely solely on this. Commitment - climbing ability and eagerness are certain. However, ability to get out to CA is not for certain yet. More likely with a shorter planned trip.
- Michael Heathfield - a good climbing buddy of mine and an Alaskan alpinism veteran is considering coming out from Salt Lake City to join me. He is particularly interested in attempting the new routes (especially one on N Kaweah that looks very promising), but his time is limited to just a few days, so I will be compiling a shorter itinerary for this scenario in addition to the Tour de Force itinerary.
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
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