TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:22 pm

I will admit that as an ex-rock climber, "fear of heights" was not much of a factor for me as loose rock and tumbling down the steep east side of Pants Pass. So take my "enjoyable walk" on the ridge with a grain of salt. I do not want to mislead you. But it is the only alternative I know of. And when there IS snow on that side, the ridge route the better choice in my opinion.








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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by kpeter » Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:06 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed your report, a few places I have been and many others I would like to go. Nice photography and a great narrative. Thank you for posting!

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Mike M. » Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:06 pm

Stanley,

Awesome route and trail report.

Your photo of Pants Pass actually shows a gnarly chute known as "Piss in Your Pants Pass." If you went over that you are a far braver man than I. Danger Will Robinson!

Pants Pass is to the left of the summit in your photo. As you near the head of the Kern-Kaweah, hike left up to a bench that contains a shallow lake. Above is the summit ridge. A weakness in the ridge leads to a chute that is Pants Pass. The chute is steep and narrow near the top, with small bits of debris over hard-packed dirt and rock; for the final 100 feet, we chose to jump up on firm rock (to the right of the chute). It was scary for me and remains to this day the hardest pass I have hiked. (I have a fear of heights.) The hike down to Nine Lakes Basin was a fun scree-ski; we took care to stagger our descents. My first time over Pants Pass was in 1975. A glutton for punishment, I took some friends up there a few years later, going the same direction.
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:17 am

Mike M. wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:06 pm
Stanley,

Awesome route and trail report.

Your photo of Pants Pass actually shows a gnarly chute known as "Piss in Your Pants Pass." If you went over that you are a far braver man than I. Danger Will Robinson!

Pants Pass is to the left of the summit in your photo. As you near the head of the Kern-Kaweah, hike left up to a bench that contains a shallow lake. Above is the summit ridge. A weakness in the ridge leads to a chute that is Pants Pass. The chute is steep and narrow near the top, with small bits of debris over hard-packed dirt and rock; for the final 100 feet, we chose to jump up on firm rock (to the right of the chute). It was scary for me and remains to this day the hardest pass I have hiked. (I have a fear of heights.) The hike down to Nine Lakes Basin was a fun scree-ski; we took care to stagger our descents. My first time over Pants Pass was in 1975. A glutton for punishment, I took some friends up there a few years later, going the same direction.
Holy sh!!!, you're right, of course. I just checked my copy of Secor, and I don't know how I got it backwards. Obviously not braver, just more directionally challenged. Would Will Robinson do something so foolish? I can't believe it... I'm experiencing a little after-the-fact-willies. Maybe I *do* have another Pants Pass in me, since I really haven't done one yet. For the record, here is a sequence of photos for Piss In Your Pants Pass.
01 PIYP Pass.jpg
02 PIYP Pass.jpg
03 PIYP Pass.jpg
04 PIYP Pass.jpg
05 PIYP Pass.jpg
edited to clarify content of the last two photos -- looking back toward the chute
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by zacjust32 » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:34 am

Great trip! You covered some awesome terrain, especially the southern parts of SEKI and Golden Trout. They are so seemingly underrated, but everytime I see a trip report on them I move it up a notch on my hiking list. Awesome job!

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:41 am

MikeM- are the middle two photos the Nine Lakes Basin side of Pants Pass? or the Keweah Kern side?

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:05 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:41 am
MikeM- are the middle two photos the Nine Lakes Basin side of Pants Pass? or the Keweah Kern side?
Pretty sure they are on the Kern Kaweah side given what's in the background. Also, MikeM mentions scree-skiing down to Nine Lake Basin and the intrepid hikers in those photos are coming up. Given my track record in this particular area of the Sierra, though, we better wait for confirmation... :D
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Mike M. » Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:17 pm

MikeM- are the middle two photos the Nine Lakes Basin side of Pants Pass? or the Keweah Kern side?
The middle two photos are coming up from the Kern-Kaweah side. We had hiked over from Triple Divide Pass the day before.

When I see the route Stanley did, it makes my knees tremble . . .

Mike

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Mike M. » Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:38 pm

Stanley, I can see how you made that mistake. Piss in Your Pants Pass looks like a piece of cake compared to Pants Pass when viewed from Nine Lakes Basin. Route wise, it's simple and direct. But decidedly a nasty route down the other side.

I've never hiked Pants Pass from Nine Lakes Basin to the Kern-Kaweah, just from the opposite direction. I don't think I would be comfortable hiking down the chute we came up (near the top) but Wandering Daisy and others have mentioned traversing the ridge E to a more amenable exit point (a long talus field where the slope is more gradual).

Back in the day, before the internet and before Secor's book, all we had available for route information were Roper's Climber's Guide, 15 minute topo maps, and old Sierra Club magazines. Roper did not give out a route description, just a class rating. As I recall, back in the 70's there was much debate about the actual location of Pants Pass and I was lucky enough to have a friend who knew a climber who hiked her up there when she was just a teenager.

Mike

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by sekihiker » Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:58 pm

Stanley Otter wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:17 am
Holy sh!!!, you're right, of course. I just checked my copy of Secor, and I don't know how I got it backwards. Obviously not braver, just more directionally challenged. Would Will Robinson do something so foolish? I can't believe it... I'm experiencing a little after-the-fact-willies. Maybe I *do* have another Pants Pass in me, since I really haven't done one yet. For the record, here is a sequence of photos for Piss In Your Pants Pass.
I really enjoyed the reporting and photography of your ambitious hike. I've visited most of the places you went on your trip but over many different several-day trips. You had quite a challenge visiting so many places you had never seen before.

Piss Your Pants Pass was my first cross country pass and I thought it might be my last. See: http://www.sierrahiker.com/KernKaweah/index.htm When we crossed it, we figured it got the name Pants Pass because you had to slide down its east side on your pants.

It was many years later when I crossed the official Pants Pass and found it had its own challenges. See: http://www.sierrahiker.com/TripleDivideLoopI/index.html

I too, have enjoyed touring the Great Western Divide which I have documented at:
http://www.sierrahiker.com/CliffCreekLakes/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/CentralGWD/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/SouthernGWD/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/CoyoteLakes/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/FiveLakes/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/HighRouteSouth/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/KaweahBasin/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/MtBrewer/index.htm
http://www.sierrahiker.com/TripleDivide ... index.html

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