Glass Mountain Ridge, White Mountain Peak
By: Steve Smith
Glass Mountain was climbed on Saturday from the west side. Driving past Lake Crowley, we caravaned to roads end. in O'Harrel Canyon which is about 2 miles and 3,300' from the summit. While a longer hiking route than the east side route, it is an easier drive in and definitely more scenic on the west side.
The loose volcanic rook which predominates in the area made for some rather arduous uphill stretches but all but 1 of the 16 starters made the summit. On the way up, we were treated to an intense 10 minute hail storm which got everyone under cover but fortunately the immediate storm quickly blew over.
The summit now has a USFS solar powered radio repeater on the top which was a new addition since the leaders had been there before. Using the western approach affords excellent views of the Lake Crowley/Long Valley caldera basin and the caldera rim which we climbed to reach the summit.
After returning to the cars, a stop was made at Hot Creek where everyone got into hot water before heading on down to Big Pine for dinner. Saturday night camp was made at the Grand View campground at 8,500' in the White Mountains. Next morning, it was caravan for about 20 miles north up to the Barcroft Laboratory at 12,500'. The White Mountain Research personnel in Bishop had. provided a key to the gate so an extra 3 miles of roundtrip hiking was averted. The road all the way up to the station was in good shape and none of the conventional passenger vehicles had any problems.
In fact, the road on up to the summit is in good enough condition for good clearance vehicles but we opted to hike the road on up to the summit. The hike up was uneventful and the panoramic view really gives one a good look at some beautiful basin and range country. The White Mountains were one of the few areas outside the Sierra to sustain glaciers during the last ice age and their distinctive erosional pattern along the crest was quite apparent.
Back at the research station around 2:00p.m. we got subjected to another interlude of hail while the research station caretaker invited us in for hot drinks, cake, and a tour. The facility is now managed by the University of California exclusively since the Navy withdrew from the project station for high altitude physiology research in 1978. After admiring the views into Nevada from the station, the group was off for southern California.
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