Grapevine Peak, Mount Palmer
By: Patty Kline
17 people met at 13.7 miles north of Beatty on Nevada State Highway 95 at .6 miles north of highway milepost 17. The time of 6:00am did'nt seem that early considering it took us almost 2 hours to caravan to where the road became impassable to some of our high clearance vehicles. My new Nissan Pathfinder 2x4 gave 3 gallant tries, complete with flying rocks and burning tires, to the impasse. The vehicles with a feature called "limited slip" seemed to do the best: Charlie's 2x4 Cherokee, Rheta's 4x4 Cherokee, Bill T.'s 4x4 Ford Explorer and Bob Wyka's Range Rover. Many of us wanted to see what it was like to ride in the Range Rover.
Palmer was done on Saturday. We started hiking at the saddle located about 1 mile above the steep rocky spot in the road, referred to as "the impasse" in the last paragraph. We began our hike at 8:40am, setting a moderate pace to and from Palmer. The total mileage for the peak was 9 miles with a gain of about 2500 feet. The weather was perfect. Not too hot, nor to cold and no wind. We had lunch on top of Palmer, getting back to the saddle at 5:15pm. The pine forests were great. A good deal of the hike was like a walk in the woods. There was still a little snow in the shadows near the 7958 foot summit of Palmer. The views of Telescope and the Sierra were rewarding. Lots of snow there!
The community social hour and dinner started about 6:00pm. Charlie served tostadas, I served bowls of community "garbage bag salad" to everyone, and I think Tom Sumner was the one who made chili for us. After dinner Bill T. conducted the "program" as we all took turns saying when we joined the Sierra Club and what was our first DPS peak. Dave Welbourn was a member the longest, going on his first outing in 1965. I will never forget hearing the large collection of outrageous puns and jokes as was told at this evening's gathering.
We left for Grapevine at 6:30am on Sunday. Grapevine at 8738 feet has the same trailhead as Palmer, and took us just over 3-1/2 hours including a long break on the summit. There was still considerable snow near the summit on the north side, some of the drifts being still 3 feet deep. This is what a big winter will do, one that was needed so badly in the Sierra. Grapevine is 1600 feet of gain and 4 miles. It was very similar to Palmer, but no class 2 and 3 terrain. The whole hike was a stroll in the woods except for the treeless top where we had nice views of the Sierra. There were lupine flowers blooming along the way.
Everyone was back at the camp area about 1 mile below the saddle packed and ready to go by 1lam. Not too soon for the long drive home back to LA. It took about 1-1/2 hours to get out to Highway 95, but I imagine everyone got home before dark.
I want to thank all of you came for making this another unforgettable, fun filled DPS weekend. All the participants did both peaks. The participants were in addition to the leaders; Bob Wyka, Charlie Knapke, Barbara Cohen, Jim Fujimoto, Devra Wasserman, Don Croley, Erik Siering, Tom Moumblow, Judy Ware, Rheta Schoeneman, Vitz Martynowicz, Bill T. Russell, Pat Russell, Tom Sumner and Dave Welbourn.
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