By: Larry Tidball
On Saturday, October 2, 1993, Barbee Hoffmann and I joined Scot Jamison on his scheduled climb of Glass and stayed with his group that night at an old mining camp NW of Boundary Peak. Scot's group was going to climb Boundary & Montgomery on Sunday. Barbee & I needed Dubois after being snowed out in the spring, so we had planned on doing that instead. I was intrigued with the idea of climbing Dubois from the West. (Thanks to the Slagers for the original thought) This would save us a long drive around the mountain, and would offer a different look at the peak.
Sunday morning Barbee & I left the group camp and headed south on highway 6 to a point about 5 miles south of the town of Benton. Here we turned east onto a dirt road and immediately passed through a gate. (This road is 29.0 miles north of the junction of Hwy 6 and 395 in bishop.) There is a forest service sign warning of fire hazard along the highway adjacent to this turn off. There are a number of dirt roads in the area, many of which do not appear on either the 7-1/2' Benton quadrangle or the Inyo National Forest Map. We were heading to a location on the map labeled "Queen Dicks Site". We followed our nose when it came to making the turns on the roads and happened to hit the right combination to reach the take off point. Our trailhead turned out to be on top of a saddle joining a knell (6505') to the main ridge north of Queen Dicks Canyon, and just north of Queen Dicks (site). Here are the driving directions for anyone wishing to follow our route: from the gate at the highway, proceed 0.4 miles and turn right at a fork. At 1.9 miles and 2.7 miles turn right each time. Along the way you will cross another dirt road intersecting your road at right angles. Continue straight ahead across this road, only making the right turns noted above. At 3.0 miles you will pass a feed trough. At 3.5 miles turn left on a road that heads up the hill and after 1/2 mile ends at the saddle described above. These roads were suitable for vehicles with good clearance, 4WD was not necessary.
From looking at the maps, we knew that Queen Dicks (site) was the closest that we could probably get to the peak, but from there we would just see how it looked and pick a route. On the drive in, we decided that the ridge to the north of Queen Dicks Canyon looked the best, and when our road ended there, the route was settled. By the time we were ready to start hiking, it was almost 8:00AM so we quickly headed up the ridge, passing some rock outcrops and entered the forest. The first 2000' of gain were on steep slopes that made footing difficult at times. However; above 8600' the angle eased off and we had good terrain in open forest for our hike from there on. Just above 9000' we came across a USGS section marker on top of the ridge. This was the only sign we saw that anyone had been on this ridge before us. At 10,000' we crossed an open area where the ridge flattened out before continuing up through scattered trees to reach timberline. We continued to follow our ridge up and reached the plateau at i3,000' about 1/2 mile north of the summit. From there it was an easy walk to the summit rocks. We reached the top at about 3:00PM and after a brief stay we headed on down. From the summit we descended directly into the upper reaches of Queen Dicks Canyon enjoying a nice sandy slope to run down. Before the canyon got too steep and rough, we traversed out to regain our ascent ridge, and followed it back to the car. We arrived back at the car 7:30PM just as it got dark.
This route gains 7054' in about 4 miles, so it is not for the faint of heart. We took 11-1/2 hours round trip at a fairly fast pace so an early start would be recommended. The is room for 3-4 vehicles to park & camp at the trailhead.
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