Slims Peak and Porter Peak
By: Ron Jones
Saturday morning eight of us left from the intersection of the Homewood Canyon Road and Highway 178 to begin a drive up Pleasant Canyon back of the old mining town of Ballarat in the Panamint Valley. Following the road into Ballarat through town we found the road forking in half a mile. Taking the right hand fork, in 41/2 miles the four stamp mill and tramway leading to the Goldbug mine was passed. At 6 miles we came to a locked gate just west of Clair Camp, a patented mining claim from the 1880's, consisting of a half dozen cabins, a rock powder magazine, bunkhouse and several trams leading from the Radcliffe Mine above. Usually permission to pass is not granted but I had the key to the gate and we passed through and beyond one mile to the World Beater Mine at 5200 ft.
Hiking to the end of the side road leading to 10 stamp mill of the World Beater we followed tip the obvious draw west of the tram to a point at 6800 feet on the ridgeline above. From this point we joined the main ridge at 7300 feet and followed it out to Peak 7112, recently named Slims Peak for Seldom Seen Slim, late resident of Ballarat. The peak is shown on the latest edition of the Telescope Peak Quadrangle. The route is a walk up with a little class two in spots. From the top there is a fine view of the southern Panamint Valley, Argus Range and Searles Valley. To the south you can see Manley and Needle.
That night we drove on good dirt road up Pleasant Canyon to about 6150 feet north and east of the Stone Corral shown on the Topo. We could have driven beyond another mile to the Cooper Mine at 6800 feet. Our campsite was located in a forest of pinyon and juniper.
The next morning we followed the road mentioned above to its end (7600') just below the prominent white limestone outcropping shown on the topo as peak 8240. From this point we tried following the old trail which led to Hungary Bills Ranch but we found no trace of the trail until the saddle located at 7950 feet west of Porter Peak. Here we followed the ridge east to the peak at 9101 feet. Porter is one of the best peaks I have climbed which is not on the DPS list. The view is excellent and the area very nice. Most people would not drive beyond the locked gate at Clair Camp to the west. From the east the peak is a back pack to Hungary Bills Ranch in Johnson Canyon and a 4 hour day hike from there according to Jack Grams who was with us and who has done the peak from both directions. There might be a passable road to about 7200 feet near the Mormon Gulch Spring but access is doubtful. I suggest this peak as an excellent addition to the DPS list.
On our return to Trona we stopped at Reed's Casino, on Highway 178 at the Inyo County line, where we char-broiled our own steaks and ate from the good salad bar.
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