A SHORT THANKSGIVING WEEKEND, WITH CORKSCREW PEAK (5,804') 3X AND STEWART POINT (5,265') November 26-27, 1993
My once mentor, Owen, called me and said he had a rental Geo Metro, with a potential number of miles to be driven up. His wagon was getting fixed, so the miles were already paid for.
I was on my way south along U.S. 395 on the 24th. This is a depressing weekend to have to stay at home. I made a stop at Bodie State Park. This is a old, abandoned, gold mining town in a state of "arrested decay." The opportunities for photography here are excellent. The weathered wood on the buildings, dating back to the late 1800's, make for interesting texture. Situated at an altitude of 8,000 feet above sea level, the air is crisp and clear.
After a stay in Mammoth Lakes, CA, where a bear rummaged about the condo, the next day, we motored south on U.S. 395. We got a nice view near Lone Pine, looking back toward the Mt. Whitney group of peaks. There is a wide shoulder from which to stop, about a mile out of Lone Pine on Highway 136. When I am here, I take a record shot.
We reached Death Valley with plenty of daylight left to do something. We made the hike up Mosaic Canyon, which has plenty of fascinating erosion in the desert rock. It is a two mile hike, with strata, and different types of rocks.
We drove to the parking spot for Corkscrew Peak the next morning, and I led along the intermittent use trail to my standard route, to the saddle on the left of the peak. We summited after 4 hours and 10 minutes. Owen is a bit slow, so I had to wait a number of times. He was kind enough to take my summit picture, with my own camera at my own settings.
We expediently returned, and the peak cast its shadows over the landscape. Camping somewhere, we most likely had a dinner in a restaurant. The prices are high here, in the park, so you are advised to bring food to eat without the fancy services.
The next day, we motored through Shoshone, CA, and took the Charlie Brown Highway, CA 178 northeast to the start point for Stewart Point. The directions are well given in the DPS Guide.
We hiked toward the peak, aiming for a wash which leads to the climbing. There are many ways to go, and we failed to heed, or find, the correct way at first. The deep wash continues into a slot, up over a few dry waterfalls, then one is stopped cold at a 15 foot high, sheer dry waterfall. We found this out the hard way, so had to backtrack. I found where the route left the wash, and we took an exploratory climb to the left over a small hill. This led us around the impassable dry waterfall, and then back into the wash.
This wash leads to the steep slope to the eastsoutheast ridge of the peak. This ridge steeply leads to the top. I topped out after 4 hours and 15 minutes, with Owen coming up behind after awhile later. I had gotten summit fever, and left him to follow or turn back at his own will.
The view was softly lighted. Wires and cables clogged the summit area, but I snapped away. I could see Eagle Mountain #2 next to the Amargosa River channel.
Owen surprised me by showing up at the top. He signed in the register, and we descended together. I figure he isn't shooting for any DPS goal, so I went ahead to bag this peak, for my own interests.
This is characteristic thinking of many a peak climber. In winter, there is only so much daylight, so either you go ahead and bag the peak, or come back in the dark. Night hiking in the desert can be quite deadly and dangerous. We both know this.
We came back to the cars as the moon rose up, with the lights of Pahrump in the distance. Owen had enough. We drove north on U.S. 95 in the night, then cut over to U.S. 395 via NV 266, then CA 168. We didn't see a single vehicle for the entire 86 miles of this cutoff highway. Needless to say, there are no services.
Driving home the next day, I noted the inclement weather as I came to more northerly climes.
This trip allowed for some exercise and new sights for this four-day holiday weekend. Both peaks were moderate day climbs. It is a pity that interested persons have no way to contact me for a carpool effort, then.
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