New York Butte, Pleasant Point
By: Al Campbell
On Friday evening when we arrived in Lone Pine it was raining heavily. When we awoke Saturday morning, it was beautiful, cold and clear. The snowy mantle on the Inyos rivaled that of the Sierra, with the level down to 6000 ft. Twenty eager participants (only one no-show) waited at the wrong fountain (only the leader knew which was the right one) and we departed in four vehicles (one Jeep, one pickup, and two passenger cars). With the last 1000 ft. of road being Class 4, we were somewhat surprised and delighted to see the two conventionals make it to the end of the road (albeit with some dents in the oil pan and flywheel housing).
We were into snow shortly after leaving the cars which increased to an estimated 12 inches (drifts to 3 ft.) at the summit. The snow slowed our progress considerably, but with the Tigers helping to break trail, we made the peak in 7 hours (5000 ft. gain). Twenty made the summit with one novice missing it by only 50 ft. due to cold extremities brought about by inadequate equipment. Thanks to the donation of dry socks and mittens by some thoughtful co-climbers, we revived the circulation and spirits of the stricken one and got back to the care by nightfall.
On the way back down the road, the leader's brakes faded completely, but luckily Don McLean's pickup was just in front and after bumping him lightly, he was able to bring us both to a atop, after which we shifted into low range and proceeded down the remaining steep portion at 5 mph.
Sunday morning we met at Keeler for the climb of Pleasant and noted that the snow line bad retreated considerably. We were able to drive to just over 7000 ft. (leaving about 2500 ft. gain) before we ran into solid ice. All 12 participants arrived at the summit after a 5 hour snow climb. We were back to the cars in 2 hours, making a full day's trip out of what bad been advertised as a rest-up peak after N.Y. Butte. In spite of sun-screen protection, several climbers were displaying ruddy complexions after two full sunny days on the snow.
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