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A Climber’s Guide to the High Sierra (1954), edited by Hervey H. Voge


Kearsarge Pass to Army and Franklin Passes

The Kaweahs and the Great Western Divide

Mildred Jentsch* and Arthur J. Reyman

* Acknowledgment is due the late Oscar A. Cook for his counsel and criticism of this section of the Guide.

EXTENDING from north to south through the central part of Sequoia National Park is the middle portion of the Great Western Divide and its eastern spurs, Kern Ridge and the Kaweah Peaks Ridge. This high barrier forms the western watershed of the Kern River, the southern watershed of the South Fork of Kings River, and the eastern watershed of the Middle and East Forks of the Kaweah River. The name “Kaweah River” might be considered a misnomer, for although the Kaweah River was once thought to drain the Kaweah Peaks ridge, later exploration revealed that this was not the case, and that its drainage was really from the Great Western Divide.

History and Geography

The French and Spanish sheepherders were undoubtedly the earliest mountaineers in this region. They drove their flocks up the grassy canyons of the Kern and Kings rivers and tended them on the mountain slopes of the large basins of the tributary streams. The earliest known ascent was on Sawtooth Peak (then called Miner’s Peak) in 1871 by Joseph W. Lovelace while deer hunting. In 1881 Mount Kaweah was climbed by James A. Wright, Wm. B. Wallace and Rev. F. H. Wales. Wallace did much of the early exploration of the Kings-Kern Divide and the headwaters of the Kaweahs in his search for gold, silver, and copper during the 1879 mining excitement in Mineral King.

It was not until July 1896 that Prof. Wm. R. Dudley ascended Sawtooth Peak and perceived the fact that the Kaweahs were not along the main crest of the Great Western Divide. He also traced the Kaweah River and discovered that its drainage did not include the Kaweah Peaks. Upon further excursions in 1897 he climbed Mt. Kaweah, then believed to be 14,140 feet, and named Kern-Kaweah River, Milestone Bowl, Red Spur and Picket Guard Peak. The Divide itself has had several designations since 1865 when the Whitney survey referred to it as the western ridge. John Muir in 1891 called it Greenhorn Ridge and LeConte in 1893 regarded it as the Great Western Ridge. In 1896 it had two names—Western Divide according to W. R. Dudley and Great Western Divide according to LeConte’s map.

Further description of the geography, of the ridge is presented by Mr. King in his account of the view from Mount Tyndall: “From Mt. Brewer to Kaweah Peak, the two culminating points of the western ridge, for a distance of fifteen miles there is nothing that can be called a separate mountain; it is, rather, a great mural ridge, capped by small sharp cones and low ragged domes, all covered with little minarets.”*

* J. D. Whitney, Geological Survey of California, Vol. I, 1898, pp. 382, 386.

The above quotation is a misrepresentation of the geography as it is known today. Actually the western ridge or Great Western Divide is a lofty chain of boldly carved peaks varying in shape from spire-like Milestone Mountain to flat-topped Table Mountain and pyramidal Sawtooth Peak. Each canyon leads up to a magnificent amphitheater, or cirque, with steep granite walls frequently a thousand feet or more high. In these barren wastes of rock and snow are found many small glacial tarns. The canyons, in sculptured forms and polished rocks, give convincing evidence of the vigorous action of the glaciers they once contained. The Kaweah Group is formed as a jagged spur jutting from the Great Western Divide just south of Triple Divide Peak. The Kaweah group of peaks exhibits a color change from black to red which further enhances the spectacular quality of its sky-piercing crags and minarets.

Generally most of the peaks present little difficulty of ascent for they have at least one moderate slope of rocky talus or scree. Many of them, however, do have precipitous faces which call for caution since they are loosely composed and are exposed. Along the Kaweah Peaks Ridge one encounters some of the more challenging aspects of climbing. The northeastern exposures are breath-takingly sheer. The structure is loose and therefore extreme caution must be employed in climbing. As yet no ascents of the Kaweah Peaks from the Kaweah Basin are recorded. The southwestern aspects vary from the tremendous rock piles of Mount Kaweah and of the Red Kaweah to the foreboding-looking, cavernous route up the Black Kaweah and the spiny upward projections of lesser points all along the ridge. In short, climbing in this region is what you make it!

Approaches

From the west. From Mineral King (7,830), a small mountain village situated 60 miles east and a little north of Visalia, there are five well-constructed trails that lead east and north to the high peaks by various passes. 1) Timber Gap (9,400) renders the country to the north accessible after a two-mile switchback trail from Mineral King. A good horse trail leads north to Redwood Meadow and thence north and east over a long, steep ascent through rugged rock walls of the majestic Hamilton Lakes region to Kaweah Gap (10,800). 2) Black Rock Pass (11,400) is reached by a trail which leaves the Timber Gap trail in Cliff Creek Canyon to proceed eastward into Little Five Lakes and the Big Arroyo. This pass affords a magnificent view of Kaweah Peaks, Big Arroyo and Chagoopa Plateau. The trail is steep and rough. The west side rewards the traveler with views of Upper Cliff Creek, Sawtooth Peak and Columbine Lake. 3) Sawtooth Pass (11,400), 4.0 miles from Mineral King, is approached from the west by a rocky trail that becomes a steep descent to beautiful Columbine Lake on the east. It is recommended for foot travel only. The choice of direction from Columbine Lake may be either east down Lost Canyon or north over a knapsack route (see below, Glacier Pass) to the Black Rock Pass trail and thence to Little Five Lakes. 4) Franklin Pass (11,400) cuts over the divide and serves to join Mineral King (5.1 miles north and west of the pass) with Rattlesnake Creek. The pass is through scree and rocks and is reminiscent of sandy desert travel for a short distance. A trail junction one mile east of the pass renders the areas to the south, east, and northeast accessible. The trail cutting past Little Claire Lake to Soda Creek from Rattlesnake Creek presents a little difficulty to animals on the steep south bank of Soda Creek. 5) Farewell Gap (10,588) is 6.0 from Mineral King. It is gentle and green and is the gateway into the more southerly reaches of the Great Western Divide. Livermore calls this a friendly pass (SCB, 1942, 59).

From Giant Forest (6,500), 52 miles from Visalia and 95 miles from Fresno, a park road leads two miles from headquarters to Crescent Meadow where the High Sierra Trail starts. This trail goes eastward to Bearpaw Meadow, passes along and literally through sheer granite walls of the Hamilton Lakes region, and over Kaweah Gap into the Big Arroyo.

From the roadhead on the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River, six miles above the Ash Mountain Park Headquarters, a trail contours to meet the Timber Gap trail north of Redwood Meadow.

From Big Meadow (7,659), about two miles east of General Grant Grove Section and about four miles above the northern boundary of Sequoia National Park, a trail leads eastward from the forest campground to Rowell Meadow and to Roaring River where the trail divides. One route follows Deadman Canyon over Elizabeth Pass (11,200), a rough, steep talus climb, to the Kaweah River. The other route follows Cloud Canyon and its southeast tributary to Colby Pass (12,000). This pass is rough and steep on both sides.

From Cedar Grove (4,631), on the South Fork of the Kings River, a trail climbs up the south wall of the canyon to Summit Meadow and joins at Rowell Meadow the Big Meadow Trail, which may be followed to either Elizabeth Pass or Colby Pass (see above). Another trail from Cedar Grove may be followed up Bubbs Creek to the Sphinx Creek trail, and so to Scaffold Meadow on Roaring River; thence up Cloud or Deadman Canyon. Continued travel up Bubbs Creek and over Foresters Pass or over Harrison Pass (a knapsack pass) into the Kern River Canyon brings one into the area ultimately from a more northerly direction.

From the north. The Muir Trail leads over Foresters Pass (13,200) and descends to Tyndall Creek where a lateral may be taken north to Milestone Basin or south to junction Meadow.

From the east. From Lone Pine on US 395 a road extends to Whitney Portal, the starting point of the Mount Whitney Trail. The trail leads over Whitney Pass (13,000) and joins the High Sierra Trail which leads to the Kern River Canyon. Further south, Siberian Pass (10,800) and Army Pass (12,000) give passage to the east flank of the Kern Canyon.

From the south. There are long approaches from Kernville and Fairview on the Kern River and slightly shorter ones from Balch Park, Wishon Camp, and Camp Nelson over various routes.

Campsites for Climbing and Exploring

At the head of the Big Arroyo in the timber below Kaweah Gap is a good vantage spot for climbing Mount Stewart, Eagle Scout Peak, B.M. 12,022, Kaweah Peaks, Black Kaweah, Red Kaweah, Lippincott Mountain, and other peaks, unnamed. From here many charming lakes and recesses may be explored also.

From Little Five Lakes one gets a fine view of the Kaweah ridge and one can find delightful camping areas. Lippincott Mountain, Mount Eisen and peaks. south of Big Five Lakes furnish interesting material. A peak that is especially noteworthy is the one which looks like two fingers pointing skyward.

A camp at timberline in Lost Canyon may be a base for a third or fourth class ascent of Needham Mountain. Sawtooth Peak is within easy range, as is “Two Fingers” peak.

Florence Peak and Peak 11,730 west of Little Claire Lake and the undesignated one east of it can be reached readily from the upper regions of Rattlesnake Creek or Little Claire Lake. The latter is a scenic spot for parties without animals, and the mountains about it reward the explorer with very curious rock and foxtail pine formations.

Moraine Lake is a popular and convenient campsite. From it one gets a view of the large lake with the impressive back drop of Mount Kaweah. From the rim of the canyon a panorama of the Big Arroyo and its drainage basin presents itself. Mount Kaweah may be ascended from here as well as other points along the ridge.

From the environs of Mineral King itself, Sawtooth Peak, Mineral Peak; and Florence Peak may be reached.

Camps with pasture for stock may be found at Junction Meadow and Upper Funston Meadow on the Kern River, on the Kern-Kaweah River in many meadows along its entire length, along Milestone Creek, in Cloud Canyon, in Deadman Canyon, along Big Arroyo, and at Moraine Lake.

Knapsack Passes

Copper Pass (12,330), at the head of the divide between Cloud and Deadman Canyons takes honors for roughness. For a way it traverses an elevated ridgetop along the divide, affording a sweeping view of the Kaweah Peaks, Milestone and Table Mountains, and beyond.

Lion Rock Pass (12,000). Class 2. The low saddle just east of Lion Rock affords a convenient route between Nine Lake Basin and the basins of Lion Lake and Tamarack Lake.

Kern-Kaweah Col (12,100). Class 2. This is a rough knapsack pass from Nine Lake Basin to the upper Kern-Kaweah River. It has been dubbed Pants Pass by mountaineers because of the destructive effect on trousers when descending. The pass is east-northeast of the large (second) lake on the stream draining the northwest side of Nine Lake Basin. From this lake a small peak is seen to the northeast. North of this peak is a fairly low notch that is easily approached from the west, but which connects with a steep, rocky, class 3 chimney that descends between cliffs on the east. The recommended pass lies south of the little peak; it is a little higher and steeper on the west, but still quite feasible, and much better on the east side. From the east this pass is reached from a lake about a mile north of the cirque at the head of the Kern-Kaweah River. The steep chimney leading to the lower pass is easily identified, and the better pass is south of this.

Kaweah Pass (12,500). Class 1 on the south, class 2 on the north. Leave the High Sierra Trail at about 10,000 feet elevation, proceed northward over the Chagoopa Plateau, and follow the easternmost branch of Chagoopa Creek to the low gap just east of Mount Kaweah. Descend at the lowest point, go west of a lake and then through the Kaweah Basin south of the two smaller lakes and north of the larger lakes. Cross the granite bluff north of the large lake and work across to Picket Creek, which is descended on the west side. The Colby Pass trail on the Kern-Kaweah River is met about three miles west of Junction Meadow.

Glacier Pass (11,000). This is a route connecting the Monarch Lake Trail leading into Mineral King and the Black Rock Pass Trail on Cliff Creek. The northern approach is a gradual ridge leading to the pass just east of the reddish knob. The south approach is the old Glacier Pass Trail which is in fair condition.

Routes and Records for the Principal Peaks

The descriptions of routes and records are arranged in the following order:

Peaks of the Great Western Divide (north to south)
Peaks of the Kaweah Group (northwest to southeast)
Peaks east of the Great Western Divide (north to south)
Peaks west of the Great Western Divide (north to south)

Peaks of the Great Western Divide (north to south)

Table Mountain (13,646)

The first ascent was made on August 25, 1908, by Paul Shoup, Fred Shoup, and Gilbert Hassel.

Route 1. North face. Class 3. First ascent by Norman Clyde and party on July 26, 1927. The only route up this face is a steep chimney which usually contains snow and ice well into the summer.

Route 2. South side. Class 3. Ascended by Norman Clyde on July 29, 1927. This is a shelf and chimney climb of moderate difficulty. The important thing is to change shelves, for each dips at a hazardous angle after a certain point is reached.

Route 3. East side. Class 2. Ascended by Norman Clyde and a party of five persons in July 1932. The ascent began in a cirque on Milestone Creek.

Peak 13,682. “Midway Mountain”

The first ascent was made in 1912 by Francis P. Farquhar, Wm. E. Colby and Robert M. Price. The east face is an ordinary rock climb with no difficulties (class 2 to 3).

Milestone Mountain (13,643)

First ascent on July 14, 1912, by Francis P. Farquhar, Wm. E. Colby, and Robert M. Price. They climbed from Milestone Bowl.

Route 1. Northeastern side. Class 3. Ascended in 1912 by a party from the head of Milestone Creek.

Route 2. South side. Class 3. Milestone Bowl route. Traverse under the south face of Milestone Mountain to the ridge whose main axis points southwesterly and then go up this ridge, which trends northeasterly to the summit cairn.

Route 3. Northwest face. Class 3. The route of Walter A. Starr, Jr., September 19, 1931. From the northwest, ascend talus slopes and chutes to the southwest ridge and follow this to the final spire.

Peak 13,350 (1/2 SW of Milestone Mountain)

First ascent by Francis P. Farquhar, Wm. E. Colby, and Robert M. Price in 1912. A class 1 ascent from Colby Pass.

Peak 12,600 (1/3 SW of Colby Pass)

Route 1. Northeast ridge. Class 3. First ascent by Jules Eichorn, Kenneth May and A. Tagliapietra in 1936.

Route 2. Southwest ridge. Class 2. Ascended by Carl P. Jensen and Howard Gates in 1936 while traversing the ridge.

Peak 12,660 (1 SW of Colby Pass)

First ascent by Carl P. Jensen and Howard Gates in 1936 on traverse from Peak 12,740. The southwest slope is class 2.

Peak 12,740 (3/4 NE of Triple Divide Peak)

First ascent on July 21, 1926, by George R. Bunn and R. C. Lewis. Class 3 by southwest slope.

Triple Divide Peak (12,651)

First ascent in 1920 by J. S. Hutchinson. and Chas. A. Noble. Ascend from the basin east of the Whaleback to the saddle northeast of Triple Divide Peak, and follow the northeast ridge. About class 2.

Lion Rock (12,400)

First ascent by Dave Winkley, William Curlett and Earl S. Wallace on July 7, 1927.

Route 1. West slope. Class 2. From Tamarack Lake ascend the broad western slope and the west ridge to the summit.

Route 2. Southeast face. Class 3. From Nine Lake Basin climb to Lion Rock Pass and enter the chute between the two peaks and ascend the southeast face of the north peak to the summit.

Mt. Stewart (12,202)

First ascent by Norman Clyde on August 14, 1932.

Route 1. From Kaweah Gap. Class 2. Traverse over talus. Time required from the Gap is about 2 to 3 hours.

Route 2. From Nine Lake Basin. Class 2. Ascend a grassy gully at the north end of the first lake in the basin. Time is about 3 to 4 hours.

Eagle Scout Peak (12,000+)

First ascent on July 15, 1926, by Francis P. Farquhar and Eagle Scouts Frederick Armstrong, Eugene Howell and Coe Swift. The peak was named on this ascent. It is class 2 from the Big Arroyo, and the time is about 2 hours.

Peak 12,022 (1/2 S of Eagle Scout Peak)

A U.S. Geological Survey Bench Mark. The east slope is class 2 from the Big Arroyo by way of the lake basin southeast of the peak; the time is about 2 hours. The south and southwest cliffs appear to be fourth or fifth class.

Peak 12,200+ (3/4 S of Eagle Scout Peak)

First recorded ascent by A. J. Reyman on August r, 1951. He found a few rocks on the summit that may have been an old cairn. Class 2 by southeast slope.

Peak 12,200+ (0.6 N of Lippincott Mountain)

First ascent unknown. A. J. Reyman found an empty cairn on the summit on August 1, 1951. The east ridge.is class 2. Ascend the low notch from the lake basin northeast of the peak and walk along the east ridge to the rocky summit.

Mount Lippincott (12,267)

First ascent by Norman Clyde in 1922.

Route 1. Southeast slope. Class 2. An easy ascent from either the Big Arroyo or the Little Five Lakes.

Route 2. East ridge. Class 2. Ascend the east ridge from the basin north of the peak and walk along the east ridge to the summit over large blocks.

Peak 11,660 (1 SE of Lippincott Mountain)

First ascent July 15, 1936, by Sierra Club Party of seventeen persons led by Jules Eichorn.

Route 1. Southeast slope. Class 2. An easy ascent from Little Five Lakes.

Route 2. Southwest slope. Class 2.

Mount Eisen (12,200+)

First recorded ascent on July 15, 1949, by Howard Parker, Mildred Jentsch, Ralph Youngberg, Martha Ann McDuffie.

Route 1. From Little Five Lakes. Class 3. Go around the large lake of the north branch of Little Five Lakes. Contour on the north side on granite to the highest shelf which has an unmapped lakelet. Proceed to the south notch between the two peaks, and thence north to the peak. Caution: the lowest notch is reached by a high angle scree slope and the rocks are very loose; therefore avoid this route. There is a possible fourth class route on the east face.

Route 2. West side. Class 1. A walk over scree and talus.

Peak 12,100+ (1/3 N of Black Rock Pass)

First ascent by Neil M. Ruge on June 29, 1935. An easy ascent from the Black Rock Pass Trail about a mile below the pass on the east side. Class 2.

Sawtooth Peak (12,340)

The first ascent was made by Joseph W. Lovelace while deer hunting in 1871. It is climbed several times each year by virtue of its accessibility and rewarding view. Follow Monarch Lakes Trail and go up the west side of the peak on the old Glacier Pass Trail. Class 2.

Peak 11,900+ (1.3 S of Sawtooth Peak)

First ascent unknown. A. J. Reyman found a mineral claim monument on the south slope below the summit on August 11, 1951.

Route 1. South slope. Class 2. An easy ascent from Franklin Lake via the south slope.

Route 2. Via Crystal Lake Trail. Class 2.

Rainbow Mountain (11,975)

First ascent on July 15, 1942, by Oliver Kehrlein, Jack Allen, and “Black Bart” Evans.

Route 1. Southeast ridge. Class 2 from Franklin Pass.

Route 2. Southwest slope. Class 2 from Franklin Lake.

Florence Peak (12405)

First ascent unknown.

Route 1. From Franklin Pass to the saddle between the two peaks. Class 2.

Route 2. From Rattlesnake Creek over huge talus blocks near the top. Class 3. About two hours.

Peaks of the Kaweah Group (northwest to southwest)

(See Sketch 28)

Peak 12,547 (1.7 N of Black Kaweah)

First ascent by Norman Clyde in July 1922.

Peak 13,100+ (1 N of Black Kaweah)

First ascent on July 11, 1924, by G. A. Gaines, C. A. Gaines, and H. H. Bliss.

Sketch 28. The Kaweah Ridge from the west.
[click to enlarge]
Sketch 28. The Kaweah Ridge from the west.
1Black Kaweah5Michael Pinnacle
2Pyramidal Pinnacle6Squaretop Kaweah
3Koontz Pinnacle7Pinnacle SE of Squaretop
4Red Kaweah8Peak 13,728

Route 1. Southeast ridge. Class 2. Loose rock.

Route 2. North aręte. Class 2.

Route 3. Southwest slope. Class 2. A climb over loose rock from Nine Lake Basin.

Peak 13,434 (1 NE of Black Kaweah)

First ascent by Gerald A. Gaines, C. A. Gaines, and H. H. Bliss on July 11, 1924. The name “Kaweah Queen” has been suggested.

Route 1. Southwest slope. Class 2. A loose rock climb from Nine Lake Basin.

Route 2. Northwest ridge. Class 2. A traverse from Peak 13,100+ over shaly, loose rock.

Black Kaweah (13,756)

First ascent by Duncan McDuffie, Onis I. Brown, and J. S. Hutchinson on August 11, 1920, by Router (SCB, 1921, 131).

Route 1. Northwest ridge and south slope. Class 3. Ascend the northwest ridge until a deep notch is encountered. Descend to below the notch and work eastward along the south slope toward the main peak and ascend the largest of several chimneys leading in the general direction of the summit. This is a sixty degree angle chute and great care must be exercised to prevent a rock slide. Upon reaching the ridge the chimney swings toward the southeast and narrows considerably. Ascend the small buttress leading southwest from the main peak and climb to the summit (SCB, 1921, 131).

Route 2. Northwest ridge. Class 3. First ascent by D. G. McAllister and K. Campbell on September 1, 1927. They kept at all times within about 100 feet of the crest, climbing on ledges around the numerous chutes and fins which form the western face (SCB, 1928, 87).

Route 3. East ridge. Class 3 to 4. First climbed by Neil Ruge and James Smith in June, 1935 (SCB, 1936, 99). Ascend to the ridge between the Black and Red Kaweahs, not at the lowest point of the ridge, but at the second small notch toward the Red Kaweah. From this work around the east side to the lowest point. Then follow the ridge westward, only descending to the sides to avoid gendarmes. Near the top of the Black Kaweah, as viewed from this ridge, there is seen a ledge running partly around the peak. Go to this ledge, crossing several couloirs. Keep to the left and climb a chute which leads to the summit.

Route 4. Southwest face. Class 3 to 4. First ascent July 26, 1921, by Philip E. Smith, Marian Simpson, and Irene Smith. Ascend to the lake in the cirque below the peak and continue up the high angle slope of loose rock at the base of the mountain. Here two chutes, inclined at an angle of about 60° go up toward the summit. Enter the right hand chute and after about 100 feet cross over to the left chute which can be followed nearly to the summit. Snow or ice are likely obstacles in the chute. About two or three hours are required to the top.

Route 5. Southwest ridge. Class 3. Climbed by A. R. Ellingwood and Carl Blaurock, August 1928. Ascend the southwest ridge from the Big Arroyo and keep to the crest until the west ridge is reached. Climb the west ridge to the summit.

Pinnacles between Black and Red Kaweahs (see Sketch 28)

Pyramidal pinnacle. Class 3 to 4. Probably first climbed August x, 1932, by Glen Dawson and Jules Eichorn. An ascent was made in August 1953 by Jim Koontz and companions, who traversed from the southeast face of the Black Kaweah along the ridge toward the Red Kaweah and up the pyramidal pinnacle. They then returned down the Black Kaweah side, traversed under the west wall of the pinnacle, and descended the chute south of the one heading between the pyramidal pinnacle and the next one to the southeast (Koontz Pinnacle).

Highest pinnacle (Koontz Pinnacle). Class 3. First ascent August 26, 1953, by Jim Koontz, Pete Murphy, and Fred Peters. From the west ascend the first chute south of that which descends directly from the notch between the pyramidal and Koontz pinnacles. Traverse from the chute over to the notch and climb to the summit.

Red Kaweah (13,754)

First ascent in 1912 by Charles W. Michael. The west side is class 3.

Michael’s Pinnacle (just south of the Red Kaweah)

First ascent by C. W. Michael in 1912 by an unknown route. The second ascent was made August 28, 1953, by Jim Koontz, Pete Murphy, and Fred Peters. Class 3 to 4 from the lake to the west. They climbed to the ridge north of Squaretop and climbed over the pinnacles between Squaretop and Michael’s Pinnacle. No cairns were found on the four major pinnacles on this ridge. From the southeast side of the fourth pinnacle they worked around the west side on a narrow ledge which petered out in a steep couloir. They descended this about thirty feet until it joined the next couloir and then worked back up onto the ledge and so to the col between this pinnacle and Michael’s. From the col they ascended a wide talus ledge on the northeast side of the ridge to some easy rock which led back to the ridge. From here it was a walk to the summit.

Squaretop (square pinnacle between Red Kaweah and Peak 13,728)

First ascent June 26, 1935, by Jim Smith and Neil M. Ruge. Class 3 to 4 from the west via the col between this pinnacle and the one to the southeast. Climb directly to the col from the lake at the base of the ridge, staying on as solid rock as possible. From the col work up the southeast face on exposed narrow ledges to a broad 100-foot ledge leading to the next series of exposed ledges which bring you to the summit. The rock on this pinnacle is much firmer than that of the Black Kaweah.

Pinnacle southeast of Squaretop

First ascent by Jim Koontz, Fred Peters and Pete Murphy on August 27, 1953. Class 3 from the col between this pinnacle and the square pinnacle, climbing directly to the summit. Descent was made on the south.

Second Kaweah (13,728)

First ascent in 1922 by Norman Clyde. The south slope is class 2. Three pinnacles on the northwest ridge were first climbed August 29, 1953, by Jim Koontz, Fred Peters and Pete Murphy. Class 3.

Mount Kaweah (13,816)

First ascent in September, 1881, by Judge William B. Wallace, Captain James Albert Wright and Reverend F. H. Wales. The south slope from Chagoopa Plateau is class 1.

Picket Guard Peak (12,311)

First ascent on August 1, 1936, by C. Dohlman, H. Manheim and B. Breeding. Class 2.

Peak 12,996 (1.7 N of Second Kaweah)

First ascent by A. J. Reyman on August 16, 1951. The southeast slope is class 2 from Kaweah Basin.

Peak 13,186 (Red Spur)

First ascent by Jules Eichorn, Virginia Adams, Jane Younger and Carl P. Jensen on a traverse from Peak 13,200+ in July 1936. Traverse the southwest face to the south face and ascend the large chute which ends at a ledge. Follow the ledge around the summit rock to the southeast side. Climb to summit on the east side. There is loose rock on the entire climb.

Peak 12,771 (Red Spur)

Ascended in 1916 by Walter L. Huber. Class 1.

Peak 12,800+ (3/4 NW of Red Spur)

First ascent by A. J. Reyman on August 15, 1951. The northwest slope is a loose rock climb from Kaweah Basin. Class 2.

Peak 13,291 (1.3 NE of Mount Kaweah)

First ascent on July 17, 1936, by Jules Eichorn, Virginia Adams, Jane Younger and Carl P. Jensen. The south slope is class 2.

Peak 13,200+ (1.7 NE of Mount Kaweah)

First ascent was on July 17, 1936, by Jules Eichorn, Virginia Adams, Jane Younger and Carl P. Jensen on a traverse from Peak 13,291. The southwest ridge is class 2.

Peak 13,075 (3/4 NE of Mount Kaweah)

First ascent by A. J. Reyman on August 14, 1951, on a traverse from Peak 13,291. Class 2 by the southeast slope.

Peaks East of the Great Western Divide (north to south)

Peak 12,673 (1.8 E of Table Mountain)

First ascent in July, 1936, by Sierra Club party.

Peak 13,560 (3/4 SE of Milestone Mountain)

First ascent by W. F. Deane, Otis B. Wright, Harry C. Dudley, W. R. Dudley on August 3, 1897.

Peak 13,206 (Kern Ridge)

First ascent unknown. May Pridham found a cairn but no records in July 1936.

Peak 12,749 (Kern Ridge)

First ascent on August 1, 1936, by Oliver Kehrlein, H. Manheim and B. Breeding.

Peak 12,808 (Kern Point)

First ascent on July 25, 1924, by William Horsfall and C. Laughlin.

Peak 11,845 (2 E of Spring Lake)

No information is available.

Peak 11,600+ (1/2 SW of Peak 11,845)

The names “Fault Peak” or “Two Fingers” are suggested. From a distance this peak resembles two fingers pointing skyward. At close range a large east-west fault is discovered into which one may look a long way down. The north side of the peak is precipitous, but the south side is a gentle scree slope. The two summit blocks seem to be composed of solidified scree. On an ascent made July 13, 1949, David R. Brower and Jim Harkins found a cairn but no register.

Route 1. From Little Five Lakes. Class 3. Go to the knapsack pass 1 mile south of Black Rock Pass and along the ridge toward the summit.

Route 2. From Big Five Lakes. Class 3. Climb up the north face.

Needham Mountain (12470)

First ascent in July, 1916, by M. R. Parsons, Agnes Vaile, H. B. Graham, and Edmund Chamberlain.

Route 1. North slope. Class 2. Climb the north slope from Lost Canyon to the notch between Needham Mountain and Sawtooth Peak. Proceed along the west slope to the summit. This route was done on July 28, 1949, by R. R. Breckenfeld, Emily Frazer, and Donald Scanlon.

Route 2. North face. Class 3. Ascended on July 28, 1949, by Howard Parker and Helen Parker. Ascend the north couloir to the ridge and traverse westward to’ the summit.

Route 3. North face. Class 3. Mildred Jentsch climbed from Lost Canyon on July 28, 1949, directly up the face.

Route 4. Southeast slope. Class 2. Ascended by A. J. Reyman on August 8, 1951, on a traverse from Peak 12,300.

Route 5. South slope. Class 2.

Peak 12,300+ (3/4 E of Needham Mountain)

Ascended August 8, 1951, by A. J. Reyman by a class 3 traverse of the south ridge from Peak 12,000+.

Peak 12,000+ (1 SE of Needham Mountain)

Ascended August 8, 1951, by A. J. Reyman. A class 2 climb by the southwest slope from Soda Creek.

Peak 11,730 (1/2 W of Little Claire Lake)

First ascent unknown. Class 3 by the north slope and a chimney up the north face.

Peak 12,000+ (1 E of Little Claire Lake)

First ascent by Richard Olhausen, Robert Olhausen, and B. A. Olhausen on July 14, 1942. The south slope is scree and the southwest ridge from Little Claire Lake is class 1. The weathered rock and foxtail pines present interesting formations. The north face may be class 3.

Peak 12,036 (3 E of Little Claire Lake)

First ascent on July 15, 1942, by a Sierra Club party of fifteen persons led by Weldon F. Heald. The west ridge is a class 1 traverse from Peak 12,000+.

Peaks West of the Great Western Divide (north to south)

Peak 12,230 (Glacier Ridge)

First ascent in July, 1936, by E. Grubb, May Pridham and D. Von Lobensels. Class 2 to 3.

Peak 12,163 (Glacier Ridge)

Surveyor’s Bench Mark.

Peak 12,467 (Glacier Ridge)

No records are available.

Peak 12,330 (Glacier Ridge)

First ascent by Walter A. Starr, Jr. in 1930.

Whaleback (11,739)

First ascent on August 5, 1936, by May Pridham and Adele Von Lobensels.

Peak 10,400 (2 W of Mount Stewart)

First ascent unknown. On July 7, 1949, Jules Eichorn, Jim Harkins, Howard Parker, Tom Kendig and Mildred Jentsch climbed from Hamilton Lake and found a cairn below the summit. The southeast slope is class 3. Climb up a rocky, wooded ridge onto smooth granite, and thence onto a ramp on the north side to the five-foot-wide summit.

Peak 9,757 (2 WNW of Eagle Scout Peak)

First ascent in 1936 by D. Johnson and party.

Towers above Eagle Scout Creek

On the north and south walls of Eagle Scout Creek there are some fine rock towers, about 9,500 to 10,000 feet, offering 4th and 5th class routes. A number were climbed by the Loma Prieta Rock Climbing Section of the Sierra Club in 1953.

Peak 11,530 (3/4 NW of Glacier Pass)

There is a mineral claim on the summit, which can be reached by a class 2 climb from Glacier Pass along the southeast ridge.

Mineral Peak (11,535)

First ascent on August 3, 1937, by Chester L. Errett and Don A. McGeein. Class 2 by the northeast slope and the east ridge from Monarch Lake.

References Text: SCB, 1898, 185; 1903, 301; 1909, 27, 99; 1912, 163; 1913, 1, 18; 1921, 118, 128, 131; 1928, 10, 86; 1933, 126, 128; 1936, 99; 1937, 58; 1941, 130; 1942, 59; 1950, 80.

Photographs: SCB, year and page as shown: Kaweahs: 1903, 304; 1905, 297; 1909, 27, 30, 38; 1913, 3; 1917, 198; 1921, 132, 133, 172; 1923, 1; 1928, 1, 17, 24, 25, 92; 1933, 39, 46; 1937, 62; 1948, 102. Table Mountain: 1928, 29; 1933, 126; 1937, 30. Milestone Mountain: 1913, 3-6; 1933, 31; 1937, 30. Whaleback: 1921, 120; 1928, 33. Eagle Scout Peak: 1928, 80. Mount Stewart: 1937; 62. Sawtooth Peak: 1909, 103; 1928, 21.



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