Avawatz Mountains, Kingston Peak
By: Richard Carey, Russell Glavis
This was a San Diego Chapter trip where Dick Carey took over the lead from Rob Langsdorf who had the flu. We met the group Fri. evening at the turnoff 19.1 mi north of Baker on route 127. The 19 mile signpost sure helps finding this obscure turnoff at night. Ten of us piled into five 4WD vehicles the next morning and much to our surprise, found that a dozer had smoothed out the road. We turned left at the fork at 4.5 mi continuing up the narrowing canyon. Coming to the saddle after the last hard left turn we parked and saw the reason for the road improvements. A solar-powered repeater had been installed on the hill just next to the road. We guessed that it is a relay for the newly installed solar call boxes on 127 between Baker (1 Shoshone. It is best to park at this point rather than struggle on to the large rock blocking the traditional 4WD road end. We think this repeater site will alter the boundary of the Wilderness Area proposed for this range and that this road could NOT now be closed.
It took only two hours to get to the top, with easy hiking, signed the seldom used register and replaced the glass coffee bottle with a can-over-can container. We returned to the cars by 1:30 and soon began the drive back to 127 and Tecopa hot springs for a soak.
The descent was slow and bumpy with a real thrill sliding sideways in a rut toward the steep bank. After removing the lugs from the tire we discovered the wheel wouldn't budge off the hub. We kicked a cursed the tire and still it wouldn't budge. Ken made use of a nearby call box to summon help from Baker. In the meantime, a Good Samaritan stopped to help us. He probably weighed close to 300 pounds & his kick was the coup-de-grace. The wheel gave up and let go. Another quick call couldn't stop the tow truck which had already left Baker.
Eight of us went on to the Kingston trailhead wile Ken and Terry Flood went on to Smith Mtn with no spare tire. The camping at the Kingston trailhead is poor. The options are to camp on an abandoned road spur (the 2wd roadhead) or you can drive to the 4wd roadhead and camp among cows and "cow flops" As the sun set 8 happy hour commenced, we could see numerous lightning flashes in the Charleston area.
The next morning we climbed the peak via a mostly well-ducked route which passed through several "Tick-Thickets" near the first saddle. There are two registers on Kingston. The older one is in a capped PVC pipe and was soaking in a puddle of water inside the tube. The newer register is in a closed metal can and had many entries signed in an ink which had bled through the pages and blurred several entries. We left a pencil. During the climb we kept in touch via radio with Ken and Terry so that if they had more tire trouble we could help them. Participants: Richard Carey, Ldr and co-author with Mark Adrian, Russell Glavis, co-ldr; Witold Hartynowicz, Tom Moumblow, Dennis Richards, Ken Olson, Kathleen Hazur, Rheta Schoeneman and Terry Flood. -- Richard Carey and Mark Adrian (from 2 edited write-ups).
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