MT. MORGAN (13,748') August 13, 1978
Having another two day weekend lead to do, I met three others at the standard carpool point in the local University. One of the climbers didn't like the other two, being that perhaps they weren't very smart, or able to properly pay their own way. They were fast enough hikers, but a bit of leaches when it came to sharing fuel costs. I had no big problem with them, but I am aware that the Club caters to wealthier people, a sizable portion of Club income. So, I had to agree to a weak ruse whereby we wouldn't be taking these two.
Driving my own car again, we motored down U.S. 395, and I wished to view the meteor shower as I fell asleep. I picked a favorite and isolated spot to throw out our bags. This person awoke in the morning with a swollen eye, looking pretty serious. So, I took him to the emergency room in Mammoth Lakes, CA, where it was surmised that an insect bit him.
Too late then for a good peak that day, I figured to wander over to the White Mountains. There's easy hiking and photography to do. Motoring up to a high overlook, with a grand view of the High Sierra, we continued to Patriarch Grove, where I did more photography. I like bristlecone pines, and it was a nice, easy activity to not force strenuous exertion on my ailing companion. He had complained that he wasn't getting his daily exercise, and ran what short trails we had up there.
We stopped back at the Sierra Vista for more photos, then dined and camped somewhere. My ridesharers knew what a bargain deal they were getting, with some asking for even more. I sometimes joked that I was a servant to millionaires, being the trip leader, and who then would attend my leads. They could veto any decision, as I do not force people to climb, hike, or ski.
The next morning, we did the southern Mt. Morgan, an easy, class 1-2 peak, but the highest in the Little Lakes Valley region. The guidebook promised great views. I led the way, and found some nice use trails, and climbed the peak.
Shooting away with a nice complement of lenses, I was determined to get some good photos, using my 200 mm telephoto lens, which again, caused some color cast in the resultant Kodachrome slides. I captured views of many of the peaks that I had climbed or was going to climb.
I had scheduled this activity as a "close encounter of the 13,000 foot kind," being that I liked movies, and made such references in my write-ups. It was stunning to see many lenticular clouds this day, which some describe as flying saucer clouds. This was to be the most that I have ever seen of them, though on the peak summit, it was not particularly windy. They are a high altitude phenomena, and thusly occur in the upper atmosphere.
I had to set the camera for a shot of myself, and hopefully this one, of such tech disenabled people, wouldn't alter the settings and ruin the picture. It is a characteristic of the chapter that so many of them can't do simple photography. Once, with my 16mm movie camera, some filming of my good skiing came out totally blank, due to some alteration of my settings, apparently. Seems that some climbers can't help but touch about the precision instruments.
We had an easy hike back down the mountain, with lakes to see and more peaks about us. The medical situation had resulted in a drug given to the ailing climber, and this caused some pollution to be leaked onto the environment. Fortunately, there was no lawsuit, and the person's health insurance covered the ER costs.
This drive put some 800 miles on my vehicle, and normally then, I would bag two or more peaks. The Eastern Sierra is a beautiful place, and though I didn't get what peaks that I had planned for, it's nice to be able to relax and visit, once in awhile. I did Mt. Morgan another two times, an easy peak to lead, and then as a solo climb. Whether I am ever back for my 4X, remains to be seen. I'd love someone to come forward for an easy peak, regardless of the 4,000 feet of gain. This may be my favorite solo peak in the High Sierra.
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