Little Five Lakes, although a compromise, is probably a good spot to camp for a one day hike to gain access to routes on the south to west sides of the peak. Although a very early start for the climb will be required.
From Mineral King hike over Glacier Pass down to Spring Lake, then hike up to the crest of Cyclamen Lake Pass, scramble along its north side, over the ridge ahead and down into the Little Five Lakes Basin. This is a wonderfully scenic but gruelling hike (6 miles - 3,300 ft gain, 1,000 ft loss, 1,200 ft gain).
One could take two days to do this hike: Camp at Spring Lake on Day 1, then the next day hike past Little Five Lakes into The Big Arroyo, north up this and camp closer to the Peak.
The other alternative is from Giant Forest, to hike the High Sierra Trail up over Kaweah Gap which is about 16 miles, this is a two day affair and would land you at the head of The Big Arroyo.
From the High Sierra Trail head up the ridge. At about 12000' you will hit the west ridge. Follow the ridge over a series of extremely loose towers gaps and gully's to the final summit ridge.(note)- We stayed as close to ridge crest as possible. A easier route can be found well below the ridge line good luck. ...[more]Browse More Classics in CA
I hiked Black Kaweah in the summer of 2007. The best and most direct route is the SW chute from the base lake. Its mostly all class three with a couple of class 4+ moves. It sometimes holds snow/ice well into late July. There is loose rock all over the place. A helmet is recommended. The view from the summit is spectacular.
By Chris Owen Administrator From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake Aug 16, 2012