TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

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CAMERONM
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TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

Post by CAMERONM » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:46 pm

Trip Report: Kaweah Basin, September 14-20, 2017. 84 miles, 16,000. ft ascent.

Note: The full Trip Report with many more images can be found here: https://www.trailnamebackstroke.com/kaweah-basin/
kaweah_basin_loop_2017_map_overview.jpg
The Kaweah Basin is revered by the very few people who have visited it. Located deep in the center of Sequoia, to reach it requires a lengthy hike from either the East or West, and even then can only be accessed via a few off-trail passes, as no trails run through it. I initially plan a 9-day loop excursion that includes bagging at least two peaks, but the night before departure I see one ominous weather report that leads me to improvise a revised trip of 7 days, making sure that I am back on a trail by Day 5, as I do not want to get caught in a remote off-trail location during the first-of-season Sierra snowstorm. I take the High Sierra Trail to Kaweah Gap, leave the trail to cross over into the Basin via Pants Pass to spend three days and nights exploring the greater Basin area, and then drop down the other side and rejoin the High Sierra Trail to walk around the Kaweahs and return home.
kaweah_basin_loop_2017_basin_map.jpg
This map drawing shows remoteness of the Basin, in the area of the red oval, surrounded by the Kaweah Peaks Ridge.
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The High Sierra Trail is rich in vegetation and wildlife, which is refreshing to me as I have spent several weeks of the summer above the treeline in stark areas.
kaweah_basin_loop_2017_1280.jpg
Day 2: At the Kaweah Gap, the Basin and surrounding Lawson and Kaweah peaks come into view. This is where I leave the trail.
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Day 3: When I cross over a small pass into the Kaweah Basin, everything becomes more colorful. I begin to appreciate the reputation of this place; the combination of green and brown colors, trees and water features is exceptional.
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Day 4. I am treated with a dramatic sunrise light-show that challenges the photographic capabilities of my iPhone. I get to see a side of the Kaweahs few see. It is also bloody cold.
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I exit the Basin valley and climb around a hill to reach a scenic lake at the base of Picket Creek.
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Days 5-7: I descend a 1,000' hill that is a small challenge to reach the Colby Pass Trail, and then return by taking the High Sierra Trail around the Kaweah Ridge and then back down the hill to the trailhead. The cold weather and snowstorms do indeed show up the day after my completion of the trip, and although I would have done fine returning on the trail, I am glad I changed my trip to avoid them. The Kaweah Basin lived up to its reputation for its beauty and remoteness.

My thanks to everyone at High Sierra Topix who offered suggestions on this route.
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Mike M.
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Re: TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

Post by Mike M. » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:39 am

I enjoyed your longer report and photos. I spent two days in Picket Creek Basin a month earlier (in August), having entered from the east side via New Army and Crabtree passes. Encountered lots of downed trees at the Junction Meadow Kern River crossing and at the pool along the Colby Pass trail near where Picket and Kaweah creeks join the Kern Kaweah River. Gorgeous country.

Some day I'll post a trip report.

Mike
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CAMERONM
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Re: TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

Post by CAMERONM » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:48 am

Hi Mike

Yes, the Junction Meadow Kern River crossing was a total mess. I think a combination of already dead trees + avalanches + too much water. And the Colby Trail was overgrown and even bushwhacky at times. I just added a photo to the Trip Report.
kaweah_basin_loop_2017_1661.jpg
kaweah_basin_loop_2017_1666.jpg
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maverick
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Re: TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

Post by maverick » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:56 pm

Yeah, that view one gets of the Kaweah Ridgeline from the east, from within KB is sublime, one of my favorites in the Sierra. :nod:
Thanks for sharing your TR and wonderful pictures!
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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Re: TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

Post by balzaccom » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:34 pm

Thanks for posting...and adding another destination for us to explore !
Balzaccom

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Rockyroad
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Re: TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

Post by Rockyroad » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:49 pm

The photos in your full report are fantastic! You captured the color and details perfectly.

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LMBSGV
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Re: TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

Post by LMBSGV » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:05 pm

I especially appreciated the full report and photos. Kaweah and Picket Creek basins are my favorite places in the Sierra. Your photos reawakened their spirituality for me. Thanks.

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edhyatt
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Re: TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

Post by edhyatt » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:46 am

That is now very firmly on my list; excellent report, inspiring.

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cslaght
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Re: TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

Post by cslaght » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:41 pm

Great report, this is on my short hit list as well. Thanks for sharing!
"The mountains are calling, but can't find my phone"

Charles

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Re: TR: Kaweah Basin 2017

Post by iHartMK » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:20 am

Charles,

Maybe we should plan to do this trip together someday? Especially since we are both in Visalia.

William
Living On Kaweah Time

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