By: Paul Freiman
Edna and Barbara Reber needed Keynot and didn't care for the standard route. Ron Young, Mary McMannes and I joined them for a 6500' two day backpack up from French Spring.
I drove up solo on Friday to meet them on Saturday. Just past the town of Lone Pine turn on Lone Pine Station Road and drive 3.3 miles to where the road takes a slight jog. The 4WD road up to French Spring starts here so I jumped into Ron's truck and up we went. The backpack starts at 4600' and leads up the canyon about 1/4 mile, where you cross the creek at a log and start ascending a well defined trail. We took it easy going up to camp at 7900'. We squeezed into the five tiny sites that welcomed us and were glad to find some water that was left. Sunday we hiked up to the ridge where we were faced with broken pinnacles. We exhaustively side-hilled on the East side to the summit. On the return we discovered a trail down the west side. There is a large cairn at 9000' that marks where this 'light' trail comes in to the main one. Going up from camp should take 3 hours. Each of us carried 6 quarts (the weather was very pleasant)and it was barely enough. Everyone was rationing. Eight quarts is suggested for this delightful alternative.
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