MT. STANFORD (12,851'), RED-AND-WHITE MOUNTAIN (12,850') August 16-17, 1980
It was another standard two day weekend in the High Sierra. We carpooled down U.S. 395 Friday night, and Saturday morning, after undoubtedly an excellent breakfast in Mammoth Lakes, CA, we started our backpack up the McGee Creek trail. We arrived at our campsite near a trail junction, and had a bit of a rest.
In the afternoon, we hiked up a trail to a lake, and set out cross-country for a low saddle to the south. Clouds were forming, but the weather held all day. Gaining a sight into Pioneer Basin, we traversed upward, left and east along the ridge, and eventually topped Mt. Stanford. The dramatic light made for nice views, and one climber stated to feel an earthquake. One of the team solo'ed adjacent Mt. Morgan, and met us back in camp.
We descended down the ridge back to the saddle where another climber had left to bag Mt. Crocker (12,457'). The peaks here are named for the Big Four, who financed and built the Transcontinental Railroad from Sacramento.
Eventually all back to camp, we settled in for a nice night, with some mosquitoes.
The next day, we started out early to climb Red-and-White Mountain by the southeastern slope, steep, and a bit loose, with some easy class 3. I was following our strongest climbers, and managed to shutter some of our route.
We summitted nicely, and we all enjoyed the views. I was not the only one with a good camera, now. Then, it was back down the best route, down to some snowfields, and back to our camp. We packed up and started out down the same trail, along McGee Creek. Some clouds developed, but by then we were back to the trailhead.
Such was our fun, then, in the early 1980's. We were accustomed to the commute to the peaks, with capable climbers from Northern California. Some climbers then insisted on preparing their own meals, rather than in a restaurant. I see this food work can stretch on to a few hours. The servers are fast in a good eatery, and you can be dining within a half hour. My favorite choices for dinner have been at the casino at Topaz Lake, NV, where often there was a buffet. Minden/Gardnerville was a nice spot as well. I liked to drive while the sun was up, to enjoy the scenery, and for highway visibility.
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