PALISADE GLACIER TRAIL, TUNGSTEN POINT (5,949'), PRIDHAM MINARET (10,960+), ROUND TOP (10, 381') August 14-18, 1996

Motoring south on another U.S. 395 adventure, I got some pictures of Old Mammoth. Camped somewhere to hike the next day. I chose to do the Palisade Glacier Trail, up the south fork of Big Pine Creek. I haven't done this since I climbed North Palisade in 1972.

The trail runs past some beautiful lakes, and from Third Lake you get an awesome sight of Temple Crag. We were to ski here in April, 1997, with a Ski Mountaineers group, but I liked to enjoy this trail solo in summer. I rested at the top of the trail, on the glacial moraine. There were all the peaks I had climbed, from Mt. Sill to Mt. Agassiz. I might have never believed that I would do that, when I first started climbing.

No backcountry camp on this trip, all day hikes. I returned to the trailhead, and motored on to other things. Back to Bishop, I joined an old club leader for his morning daily exercise. He has figured out a small peak to hike, only a few minutes from his home. He calls it, "Tungsten Point." This is nearly the highpoint of the Tungsten Hills, a formation by Bishop. They have built a use trail, and planted a pine tree atop the bump. I was pleased to make a good time to the top, about 20 minutes. He perhaps has climbed it hundreds of times, with a register of sorts. Another neighbor helps with this effort.

Then, it was to hike toward Piute Pass via the good trail. Rain, then thunder, forced me to turn back.

For me, it was back to some dining and relaxation. Stopping at Hot Creek, I snapped some photos. I spent some time at the library, online. I visited a friend in Mammoth, so got up early to hike to the easiest of the Minarets. Pridham Minaret is only class 2, and isn't too far for a day climb.

Taking the trail to Minaret Lake, a big block of snow blocked the obvious route. Too steep and with hard snow, I had to look at my map. There was another way around the back. I circled about Riegelhuth Minaret, and came to some rubbly slopes. I caught sight of Deadhorse Lake, and other crags with no names. I ascended the rocks, and cut myself slipping on some gravelly slopes. A bit of blood, no worry.

I then came to the ridge, and saw the easy class 1 route to the top. I had some magnificent views of the Minarets. I snapped photos, and then topped out. The register was notable, and I sure enjoyed the vistas. It was time to head back down.

If I had been immobilized, I could have shouted to some hikers at the lakes, and maybe heard. Probably not so for the other Minarets. It was nonetheless a relief to be back to the trail, with photos on my descent. Fine food awaited me back in town.

Sauntering quickly down the trail, I was back to my car, the stipulation then being that the otherwise mandatory shuttle bus wasn't in operation early enough for backpackers. Back to town, I must have had some good food with my pal, then, and started driving back north.

Meeting up with a Reno Sierra Club group to climb Round Top Peak, I wished to introduce them into peak climbing. They didn't and now don't go to the true top, but they made an exception for this. Passing some late summer ski tracks, I took them to the class 3 summit. Most of them were quite unnerved, and some plainly did not like this. I snapped some photos, but at least we had no accident. They clearly are trail hikers, not even good scramblers.

So, this was the end to another of my U.S. 395 adventures. With a few odd photos, I had not yet started on big annual road trips, as my favorite haunts here did me well enough. The once burgeoning peak sections had been forced to failure up north, and the southern sections began to falter. So went, then, my great sport, and so many will never enjoy the views, and clean air, exercise, and thrills of climbing adventure.