Parkinson's Peak


By: Linda McDermott

To get up at 3:00 am to get a peak is an effort. To get up at 3:00 am to get the WRONG peak adds insult to injury. So many times we don't report our mistakes, but in the case of Phil and I, we had such a good time we wanted to tell you how to go about climbing the WRONG peak.

Phil picked me up at 3:00 am on 12/21/96 to climb Maturango. We had a new route from Vic Henney which was supposed to be shorter than the standard route because of the new park boundaries. Everything went fairly well when we drove to the area except that the "signed" Nadera (?) road sign had probably blown down, and we spent an extra few minutes checking out the proper turnoff. We surprised a few miners as we went up the dirt road and asked if we were in the right place. They weren't sure where THEY were, so were no help. Vic's directions included one turn off where there was some "grass" to go over. Well, we decided the 6' bushes we were mowing down had to be the "grass" and the following of wheel tracks in the high bushes was hopefully the right blind canyon. Finding the yellow tractor which was on the instructions made us feel much better.

Vic's instructions were great. Too bad we didn't follow them. We climbed to the plateau and off in the distance were a line of peaks, and another peak off to the north. We decided that the beautiful snow-covered peak to the south had be Maturango, so headed down a gully and back up to the peak. We had a clue that we were on the wrong peak when there were only two glass jars on top, with registers from the 1970's and 1980's. We had climbed Parkinson Peak. Maturango was now to the north of us on the same ridge. Because our daylight was running out, we had to make a decision whether to go for the peak or start back for the car. The decision was to head for the car because going to Maturango would have added and extra 30 to 45 minutes to the hike. Doesn't sound like much, but the first part of the hike is very steep and must be done in the light, plus we had a storm coming in and the six-foot brush road to look forward to. Better always to err for safety. The peak isn't going anywhere soon.

The way I look at it, if we had climbed the right peak, there would be no story and nothing to laugh about in later years. I'm trying to create "rocking chair memories" and this is certainly one of them! In closing, both Phil and I decided that Parkinson should now be added to our DPS list and would like to recruit any other DPS'ers who have also climbed it to write in their support!

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