Correction to Secor

Picket Guard Peak

by John Wakabayashi

Picket Guard Peak, north and east ridges and backpacking route between Kern-Kaweah River headwaters and Picket Creek and Kaweah Basin. This information comes from a hike I made with Cliff Riebe and Todd Ramsden on July 30 of this year. We were backpacking from Lake 10875 (15' elevation) in the headwaters of the Kern-Kaweah River drainage to the Kaweah Basin. We made an ascending traverse on slabs and talus to Lake 11120+ (lake ~1/2 mi NW of Picket Guard Peak) (class 2). The pass west of Picket Guard Peak looked like crummy class 2 loose scree and talus ("Kaweah-style") on the north side, so we decided a more pleasant route would be to backpack directly over Picket Guard peak via the north ridge, which appeared to consist of fairly firm granite talus. The route up the north ridge is indeed on large, firm granitic talus. It is class 2 all the way to the top of the ridge where the north ridge intersects the top of the east ridge of Picket Guard Peak at a false summit. To get to the Picket Guard summit from there requires a short class 3 move on a knife edge, followed by class 2 on ledges and talus on the slopes just south of the crest of the east ridge. The summit block is impressive, as it slightly overhangs the big north face. The move onto the top of this block initially looks intimidating, but the fall line off this move is to the south--you can fall a maximum of only about 5 feet--even though your eyes can look down the near vertical north face when you make the move. So the last move onto the summit block is in fact class 2. Thus the north ridge route is class 2 except for the short class 3 move on the knife edge east of the summit. We descended the east ridge, which is entirely class 2 because we could bypass the knife edge section of the ridge by crossing class 2 slopes south of and below the ridge crest. To continue to the Kaweah Basin we descended southwestward (class 1) toward Picket Creek from the east ridge, starting just above the 11200 foot level and keeping above some steep slabs dropping to the lower part of the Picket Creek drainage, then turned to a more south-southeasterly heading, crossed Picket Creek (actually running beneath talus) and headed through a low gap at 10800+ (class 1) to Kaweah Basin. This is a wonderful cross country backpacking route through little traveled territory.
The information provided in these pages is provided by interested volunteers and has not been field checked. R.J. Secor, The Mountaineers, the Sierra Club and are in no way responsible for the accuracy of any route advice on this web site. Safe climbers must be able to understand the terrain and topography of the area they travel in, and they must make wise route finding choices based their own knowledge, experience and observations.