Storms made this the only peak of the trip, but a good one!
Three day hike from Mineral King over Labor Day weekend. Went over Hands & Knees Pass on the way out and Black Rock Pass on the way back. We thought Black Rock was a little easier with big backpacks since it's mostly trail even though it's higher and longer. The peak itself had lots of fun Class 3 climbing. We got into some Class 4 stuff near the bottom of the main chute when some cairns lured us over there from the right chute too low. We found the correct route on the way back since there was no way we were going to downclimb the way we came up!
3-day backpacking trip from Mineral King. got off the summit as a storm rolled in and didn't stop raining until the next morning. had a blast with good company.
After all the hype about 4th class and death fall potential I found this route to be nothing but a blast! Yes, there is tons of loose rock. Yes, if you fall at the wrong place you will be in a world of hurt. But the actual climbing is never harder than class 3 if you stay on route and super solid. The looseness is only on the 2nd class sections. I would still probably call it 4th class just because of exposure, not because of technical difficulty. Overall, a fine and remote peak in a stunning location.
Amazing trip! Started from Mineral King early morning, made over both sawtooth and hands and knees passes, and down to little five lakes, so exhausting! haha
Absolutely beautiful landscape!
Class 3 with sustained climbing on a complex mountain. Beautiful and remote mountain. With René Renteria from Big Arroyo.
Took the standard route up and thoroughly enjoyed it. With care did not find it to be too loose. Then down and around to Red Kaweah in the afternoon.
Absolutely perfect conditions and a wonderful solo climb! The route can indeed be kept to class 3. Had a fun 3-day trip, going in from Mineral King over Glacier and Cyclamen passes and tagging Sawtooth Peak on the way out.
Attempted dayhike of Black Kaweah and Red Kaweah in conjunction. Summited both, but exceeded 24 hours, continued nonstop, however. Summited Black Kaweah from Mineral King in 9 hours, 40 min. Then continued onto Red Kaweah.
Should have signed this long ago. Did it solo. The most intimidating experience I have ever faced. During the last third of the climb I stayed left opting to delicately ascend and then traverse a craggy pinnacle rather than go up a steep slabby section where one slip would have determined my fate. It was a very meaningful experience for me. When it's clear in the San Joaquin Valley Black Kaweah is the most distinctive peak among the distant Southern Sierra. After recognizing it, Due East, from my home town (Dinuba) it beckoned me for many years before I could build up the courage to face it. I walked from Dinuba along a relatively straight route through the foothills, into Sequoia, over the Great Western Divide, and then climbed up to the Black Kaweah in 2008. I called it "A Transect - Due East." I made a suite of original lithograph prints about it which you can see in my art album here on Summit Post. Having witnessed its vast reach, the palpable impression that Black Kaweah left on me made certain that I would never lose touch with the life forces it enables for all that lies beneath it.
One of the best adventures yet. We made it to within 80 feet of the summit, but were running out of daylight and probably ascended the wrong chute at the end as we encountered very precarious climbing. Left some cordalette up there from one repel we were more or less forced to do.
I will return!
Great climbing. Hard but gorgeous way to get in.
Climbed this peak with a skillful, class guy, Tom Becht. Thursday, picked up our permit at Mineral King RS and it was almost 9am by the time we hoisted our packs from Sawtooth Pass trailhead. We took the "unmaintained" trail to Glacier Pass, then down to Spring Lake, then cross-country up and over Hands and Knees Pass and down into Little Five Lakes. The last leg was to Big Arroyo where we set up camp. A tough, tough haul for me, but Tom's an animal and didn't wince once while I struggled to keep up with him. Big Kaweah the next day and then this classic peak on Saturday. Our route started literally straight up the ridge above our tents. We moved past the Tarn, and then started trying to figure out a route up the SW face.
I agree with those who say you really need to concentrate hard to find a consistent 3d Class route. About half of our route was 4th Class and the exposure on this face put the pucker factor front and center. Testing holds every move is a must because rock the size of coffee table books will pull right out.
After the last chute was climbed, we hung a big right on the cat-walk ridge to the top. The ridge was much longer than I expected but great, great fun. Summit views are unmatched except perhaps by the original register (first entry 1924 and including Starr's blood entry in 1929) which we were honored to sign.
The descent was more intense than the ascent. We looked anew for a "the" 3d Class route but had no better luck than on the ascent. And this is no peak to leave your helmet at home: even careful foot placement couldn't prevent sending rocks whistling down the gullies below.
Will have to go back and get Red Kaweah methinks.
Awesome climb under perfect skies with a great partner, Augie. Huge scrambling difference between Black Kaweah at one end of the range and Big Kaweah at the other which we climbed the day before.
15:35 roundtrip out of mineral king.
Perhaps the most magnificent pile of rubble I've set foot upon. Getting to the top of this peak was exhilirating as well as quite satisfying. I'd wanted to summit this grand peak for years now. Third times the charm, I guess- a thunderstorm turned me back before Glacier Pass 2 years ago, & the SW/W ridge's atrocious rock combined with a late start, route-finding challenges, & sickening exposure repeled me the next (last) year.
After getting into Mineral King at 4.30 the night prior (morning of), & consequently only sleeping ~4 hrs, it was tedious doing the familiar approach to Big Arroyo on Friday (9:35).
Saturday morning, left at a comfortable 8.30. Moving upward on the route felt like going up a steep maze- a steep maze with sloping ledges above drop-offs loaded with unstable scree :) Though I thought I'd slept enough, altitude issues plagued me at upper elevations. Despite some route-finding challenges & aforementioned minor altitude sickness, summited at 13.58. Spent my time atop this fine summit by soaking in the magnificent views & reading the register (fascinating). Views of the Great Western Divide & the Red Kaweah were sublime.Smoke was pouring out from the substantial wildfire taking place in one of the drainages across from Moraine Lake- I could smell it! Left summit at 15.35, getting back to camp at Big Arroyo 20.12. Descent perhaps more nerve-wracking than the ascent.
7:47 from the Big Arroyo back to the trailhead the next day, including a refreshing swim & leisurely lunch at lovely Spring Lake.
While the SW face is no "technical" (i.e. 5th class) route, it requires constant focus, awareness, & diligence- one wrong move throughout much of the route & you could be in a bad place in a hurry. While a master route-finder might weave a 3rd-class route up this beast, I concur with Roper's 4th class rating for this route- while I didn't spend as much time route-finding as I could have (I frequently just took the most direct way up), I certainly encountered occasional 4th-class sections en route. I think that anyone attempting this route (or simply this mountain in general) should be comfortable with 4th class climbing & loose rock. By & large, by sticking to the obvious line(s), however, the rock is by & large solid. The biggest hazard, I would say, is the scree & rubble that adorns all the downward-sloping ledges (& handholds, footholds, ...).
Dayhiked this peak with Bob and Rick. We had only one warm-up day beforehand for acclimatization, which really wasn't enough for me--but the peak was well-worth the headaches and nausea. I wanted to climb this one for a while, and I wasn't disappointed. Fine views, and some really fine scrambling too... and the register was out of this world. Truly amazing.
Got off route on the way up, finding some spicy class 4 in places, but the actual route is surprisingly easy by comparison (just class 3) if you pay attention.
With Matthew Holliman & Rick Kent, completed the first dayhike of this fine peak. Spectacular weather! Trip Report
Traversed from Nine Lakes Basin to the cirque below the summit. Climbed up the Southwest Face route (chute) as mentioned in RJ's Book, very loose Class 3 and a little Class 4, should have had helmets. Three of us reached the summit!!
It's still there, by Starr's blood.