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Kneeknocker Pass East side descent

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Kneeknocker Pass East side descent

Postby oldschoolczar » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:11 pm

How is this descent into the upper Black Creek drainage to the east from Kneeknocker pass? It looks like a lot of talus hopping.. My partner isn't really comfortable on any sustained Class 3 since we'll have heavy packs on.. Can you avoid scrambling on this route?

Also can anyone comment on current snow conditions on east side of pass? Looks like there may be some permanent snow fields over there..

I know the descent through the bush sucks so we'll probably come back over the pass after exploring the upper reaches of the basin.
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Re: Kneeknocker Pass East side descent

Postby Eph 2 5 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:51 am

I climbed Powell via Kneeknocker last year. There's a rock outcrop on the east side of the pass. We went to the right of it (south) down steep dirt. I'd say it was class 2, but we were on all fours as we climbed back up to Kneeknocker on our way out because it was so steep. It's a fairly short section. On the way down this section I think I stayed close to the rock outcrop and used it for handholds. I don't know about the current snow conditions, but I've seen trip reports of people who go down the rocky section on the north side of the rock outcrop when there's snow. I'm pretty sure that that's at least class 3. You might want to check out the trip reports for Mt. Powell.

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Re: Kneeknocker Pass East side descent

Postby James Dziezynski » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:44 am

Are you headed towards Bubble Lake? Indeed there are two snow fields there, though you may actually be grateful for them if you are descending over Kneeknocker. For folks climbing Mount Powell, you usually just drop down to the outcrop and begin the slog up the NEXT steep section from there. If you are just backpacking (not hitting up Powell) you'll want to stay on the right (south) side to descend to Black Creek. It's steep but not class 3 and it's not too long before you're deposited in the thick, soggy bushwacking stuff. I would imagine if the snow on top completely melts out, it may be a more dicey hike with big packs.

Good luck! I haven't been deep in the Gores since 2010, but it sure is beautiful once you're back there. Just watch out for moose!
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Re: Kneeknocker Pass East side descent

Postby oldschoolczar » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:30 am

Thanks for the info guys!

Yeah, still trying to narrow down a 3-day trip to the Gores.. might climb some peaks, but really just want to get out.. maybe some alpine fishing! Looking at approaches from west vs east. Looks like Black Creek drainage from the east is a nightmare though! But there's some other cool lakes over there that look more accessible..
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Re: Kneeknocker Pass East side descent

Postby James Dziezynski » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:46 am

Have you been to that Piney Lake / Black Creek area before? It's pretty marshy (though might make for good fishing). Have you done the route from Frisco to Vail along the Gore Creek Trail? You go up and over Eccles Pass, then follow Gore Creek all the way to Vail (two cars needed). Along the way Gore Lake and Deluge Lake can be nice detours.

Another Gore favorite on the other side of Powell is Mirror Lake / Cataract Lake. Here's a map showing a route to Eagles Nest, disregard that, but the lakes are really pretty and fairly remote back there.

http://images.summitpost.org/original/108334.JPG
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Re: Kneeknocker Pass East side descent

Postby oldschoolczar » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:03 am

Thanks James.. really appreciate the suggestions!

Yeah, that was one of the options I was looking at.. and maybe include a detour up to Dora. That is starting to look better than Bubble because I think we'd get to see a little bit more. I was seriously considering the Frisco/Vail thru route, but the main objective for this trip is solitude (hence the initial plans for Bubble), scenery, and some lake leisure time..
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Re: Kneeknocker Pass East side descent

Postby Chicago Transplant » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:58 am

I was up there on the 22nd for Dwarf Pyramid, the entire east side is all snow and there is a cornice across part of the top. I down climbed on the rocks (easy class 3, some loose) to avoid the cornice and the steepest snow near the top before walking down the lower half of the snow. I reclimbed the snow directly later in the day when it was softer. We were going to go to Bubble last weekend and cancelled that trip after my observations because we did not want to take heavy packs over all of that snow.

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Re: Kneeknocker Pass East side descent

Postby d_baker » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:16 pm

Chicago Transplant wrote:I was up there on the 22nd for Dwarf Pyramid,

You left out some not so minor details Mike....I want to hear about it! I hope to go into Black in August while on vacation for Dwarf and The Elephant.

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