This is likely the easiest route up Mount Kinesava, but that does not mean it is easy. While it is not technical, there is a steep, brushy approach with loose footing, and that approach is tiring. After the approach is over, there is still well over 1000 vertical feet to climb in less than a mile, much of it on Class 3-4 terrain.
Nevertheless, the peak is a Zion classic and the route is a must-do. The traditional route entails about 5 miles RT, but that approach no longer seems prudent for most people, and the "new" route is 7-9 miles RT depending on the exact course. My route was about 8 miles RT, with 3200'+ elevation gain, and took me a little over five hours; plan for eight hours unless you know the route well and are in good shape.
I owe a nod of gratitude to SP member cp0915
. An excellent guidebook he wrote, no longer in publication, was how I found out about this route, and when I climbed with him the day before my Kinesava climb, he suggested using the Chinle Trail
access because of the property issues at the traditional access point.
Traditionally, climbers have accessed Kinesava via Serendipity Lane and Mukuntuweap Circle in Springdale, and that approach makes the route about 5 miles RT. However, signs there now make one feel rather unwelcome, and there are stories of the property owners threatening to have cars ticketed or towed. Therefore, I will skip the specific instructions and refer to the "new" trailhead instead.
Half a mile south from the sign welcoming you to Springdale and Zion Canyon (or 0.6 mi south of Majestic View Lodge), turn onto Anasazi Way. Go a short distance up a hill and then turn right to reach a parking area for the Chinle Trail. A sign indicates that non-residents are not allowed to park elsewhere. This point is the start of the approach.
From the trailhead, I headed straight up the ridges in an attempt to make as direct a cross-country approach as I could. It was a tiring route with several ups and downs, and I also had to skirt private property a couple times. From the trailhead to the base of the mountain's cliffs, the approach was 2.8 miles with 1900' of elevation gain (not accounting for ups and downs).
As you read this, another home may be going up out here (after visiting, my wife informed me that it would be okay with her if we bought a home off Anasazi Way, so that home might even be ours), so if you just want to be on the safe side and totally avoid property issues, I suggest this even though it will lengthen the route (but the easier terrain may even things out or even cut the time a little
, and this was my return route):
Hike the trail from the parking lot. It is not the Chinle Trail itself but does cut some distance as opposed to hiking the road. When you reach the Chinle Trail along Anasazi Way, hike to the Zion NP boundary and then head right (east) along the fence until you gain a ridgetop. Then follow ridges to the only feasible way through the cliffs blocking access to Kinesava, and then aim for the base of the peak itself as seen in the photo above. The terrain is steep, brushy, and loose, mostly Class 2 with some Class 3. There are sometimes use trails along the ridgetops; use them.
From there, the route is pretty obvious. Expect a lot of Class 3 and some Class 4, but there is not much exposure because the weakness up the east face is usually pretty wide.
As you get higher, make sure you stay to the right of some prominent towers. Soon, you have to choose between one of two notches to access; both work. Avoid the deep slot that hugs the wall higher up. Although it may go non-technical, it is better just to stick with the routes that are known to work, especially when descending.
The notches provide access to a sandy, vegetated plateau with hoodoos and peaks surrounding it. Across the plateau, you will see two pyramids. The one on the left is the higher one by a good measure and is also the summit of Mount Kinesava. Anything from Class 2/3 to "easy" 5 will get you up it; I used the latter on the ascent and the former on the descent.
From where I considered the approach to end, the rest of the route was about 0.7 mi with 1300' of elevation gain.
Note: you will probably see a number of cairns along the route, both during the approach and the climb. Don't worry about finding and following them; while they may occasionally reassure you that you're still on track, they are by no means necessary to navigate the route.
Essential GearWearing a helmet is a good idea. So is wearing long pants; your legs will take a beating from the brush during the approach.