Panamint Butte

12-Nov-94

By: George Toby, Ron Young


We met early Sat Nov 12 just off the paved Hwy 190 and caravaned on a good dirt road 5.7 miles to a big bend and parked. The road deteriorates and goes on to the mines. Participants were Bob Michaels, Ron Grau, Robert Young, Heide Zimmer, Rich Gnagy, Karen Helms, and the leaders. We climbed up from ridge to ridge beginning left of the Big Four Mine adits (entrances). It was rather steep and would be better to start a good 1/4 mile to the left of the adits, our route down, not as steep or loose. It unfolds like pages of a book from ridge to ridge. Only one bad scree slope. Cold and windy with some snow on top. The register is a huge ammo box which also contained a clean, dry blanket that Bob Michaels wrapped around himself. He was wearing shorts and looked a bit blue. Gain is closer to 5,300' than the 5,000' listed in the guide.

All 8 made the peak in good fashion and back to the cars well before dark in time for a rousing happy hour and a beautiful red sunset. Good friends, good weather, and a great hike. End of a perfect day. An interesting sideline: Heide Zimmer has impaired hearing. She is just about deaf. She is a marvelous hiker and climber; always ready, an asset to the group. At first communication was difficult. (She always carries pad and pencil) but we discovered that Karen Helms knows sign language. The two gals "signed" it all the way including dinner. Just great. After dark we all drove on to an elegant dinner at the first class restaurant in Stovepipe Wells, (elevation 5 ft above sea level), and stayed the night at the campgrounds. It as almost full of motor homes.

Sun we drove on past Death Valley Ranch. The main campground was jammed full of "Snowbird" motor homes and trailers. We drove on to the Pyramid Peak roadhead 0.2 miles East of mile post 129 on Hwy 190. A new Death Valley National Park boundary sign is at mile post 129. It is safe to park off highway East of mile post 129. It is out of the park. Even though George had done Pyramid some years before he managed to get off route. A dumb thing to do. This peak should have been a piece of cake. A look alike canyon. When we realized the error it was too late to get back on the right track. We reluctantly headed back to the cars. Five of us regrouped in Baker at the Mad Greek. Great Greek food but a noisy mad house. A tour bus full of oriental folks pulled in after we did. If you like people it was a fun place. All drove home safely. In spite of George's goof, I think we all had a good time. Ron Young needs Pyramid. We plan to go back early next year (1995) and get it. Happy Climbing - George


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