Dry Mountain, Tin Mountain
By: John Cheslick
These peaks make for a strenuous weekend, over 10,000 feet of elevation gain in total. I guess that scared a lot of people away from signing up for this trip. Charlie and I only had five people sign up and only four made it to the meeting point at Ubehebe Crater road at 6:15 am. I wanted to get an early start to ensure the group didn't come back after dark.
Saturday we did Dry via route A. We had a very fast group with Cathy Reynolds, Murray Zichlinsky, Richard Whitcomb, Judy Hummerich and Charlie Knapke sweeping. This was probably the first trip I lead where the group was right on my heels the whole way and they were impatient during our short breaks I am not sure if that was because it was cold and windy or if I was going too slow.
We made it to the summit in 4 and half hours. We encountered no problems on the ascent. Once we were in the wash mentioned in the route description, we followed it until the main wash was blocked by a small cliff, at that point we headed left and up towards the skyline ridge. We had snow near the saddle and near the top of the peak with the summit being covered in about 4 to 6 inches of snow. On the way back we headed towards the lowest point on the saddle instead of returning to the point slightly north of the saddle where we gained the skyline ridge on the ascent. We then proceeded to descend the dry wash. Initially this wash worked but then we encountered numerous dry waterfalls so we traversed north along the cliffs until we returned to our original ascent route.
The descent took 4 hours and would have been even quicker if I hadn't gone down the dry wash at the saddle. We made it back to the cars at approximately 4pm, well before dark. Happy hour and our potluck was then delayed by my dead battery. However, with assistance from Richard and Charlie we were soon on our way to our campsite at Mesquite Springs. Even though we had a small group, dinner was superb. Cathy made an excellent pasta entree plus we had soup, chili, dessert and of course, chips and dip.
Sunday we also got an early start. The jump didn't seem to do much good for my battery so we left my car at the campsite along with Murray's and decided to deal with my car later.
We were hiking by 7am for Tin using the guide which has a fairly vague write-up for this peak. Once we determined the correct ridge, the climb was straightforward and we were on the summit in 3 and 3/4 hours. On the descent we followed the ridge a little farther down and encountered a ducked trail that was less steep than our ascent and we were down in 2 and 3/4 hours. After doing the peak, I would add this: Either ascend the ridge that is at a 60 degree bearing from the parking spot on the Racetrack road at 10.5 miles or instead, only drive 9.6 miles, park, go up the wash towards the peak on the east side of the road until it begins to narrow. Then go up the left-hand side of the wash and ascend the NE ridge. This will then merge with the ridge mentioned in the peak guide as the ridge starts to head SE.
Thanks to everyone for a safe trip and especially Charlie and Richard who gave me a jump at Stovepipe Wells enabling me to get back to LA.
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