Pyramid Peak, Schwab
By: John McCully, Evelyn Reher
Schwab is an unlisted peak near Pyramid in the south end of the Death Valley National Park. The original plan was to approach from the south by a 16 mile round trip route with over 4000 feet of gain. Ron Bartell pointed out that with the 7:30 AM start I put into the trip sheet it would be tough to get back before dark, so I poked around with the maps and decided that if the road shown on the Auto Club map up Echo Canyon was open to Inyo Mine then the hike could be reduced to about 6 miles RT with about 2500 feet of gain. Carol and I decided to drive up early Friday to make sure this road went through before leading a bunch of folks up it. It turns out it goes a mile or so past the mine to an excellent spot for doing Schwab. Wasn't even much of a 4-WD road, with only one mildly bad spot. Inyo Mine was quite interesting, and worth a trip in itself. Had quite a few artifacts around, surprising for a mine that is accessible by 4WD.
Once they got the trip sheet 7 or 8 people decided to drop out and three folks didn't show, making our spouses the only participants for this exploratory trip. Oh well, at least they'll come along with us.
The hike up Schwab took 5 hours RT and the views from the top are quite something. We went up via some ridges and came down washes. The original Register placed by Gordon MacLeod on a DPS trip he led in 1978 is still there. Based on the register it looks like the peak gets climbed once or twice a year.
Rather than do a pot luck we headed for a fine meal at the coffee shop at Furnace Creek, less than 10 miles from the Echo Canyon Road.
Pyramid went smoothly as always, also taking about five hours. We went up a canyon that bisected routes A and B in the peaks guide, and came down route A. We all agreed that the unlisted route we used going up seemed more mellow than route A.
Participants were John and Carol McCully, Evelyn (Assistant Leader) and Phil Reher. Rich Gnagy joined us for Pyramid.
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