Mount Kaweah Loop 22hrs 40 min
The Caltech Alpine Club has been an amazing community for me. The club made my time at Caltech, and especially my time leading the club very special to me, so thank you. I get pretty stoked and I have a lot of recommendations, but if you choose to listen to any of my recommendations, listen to this one:
Go to Mineral King, look at a big tree, go camping, go climbing go skiing, go on a day hike, stay at silver city. You will not regret it or forget it.
The second half of June and all of July were pretty sad for me. With my July 29 defense date looming, I retreated from my friends and the outdoors to write my thesis. I probably ran or mountain biked five mornings and slept outside zero nights. After my defense I had to attend to a few things like finding an apartment in Berkeley, moving out of my post-RA dorm room, but by the end of the first week of August the cool air of the Sierra were on my mind. On Monday August 12th, I had a few meetings in the Bay Area, signed a lease in Berkley, and jumped on the phone with Vito.
Over the last three years, Mineral King in Sequoia National Park had been on my mind. Several objectives including skiing on the Mineral King basin, skiing in the Kaweahs, and climbing on the Southern Great Western Divide had all be high on my list. Several trips that failed due to late winter openings, scheduling, or fear of the nauseating (but paved!) road from Three Rivers to Mineral King had left me without a trip to Mineral King.
I was moving North and Vito was heading to Italy for August so in the face of packing and me wanting to connect with a few people who were important to me before I left and Vito needing to pack, we settled on a one day adventure.
The plan was to hike a lilipop loop starting and finishing a Mineral King. We planned to hike over the rarely maintained Sawtooth pass, over into the Big Five Lakes Basin, up and over into the Little Five Lakes Basin, down into Big Arroyo, catch the high Sierra Trail to the flanks of Mount Kaweah, head up and down Mount Kaweah, retrace our steps back to the Little Five Lakes Basin, over Black Rock Pass and down cliff creek, up to Timber Gap, and down to the car.