Survivor Peak


By: Erik Siering


Turn right for New York Butte but turn left for Survivor!

Survivor Peak (10,327') is the only 10K+ summit off of the main crest of the Inyo Mountains. Situated between Keynot Peak and New York Butte, it commands outstanding views of these peaks as well as of Beveridge Canyon and Saline Valley. This remote and rarely visited summit is a satisfying scramble.

My starting point was DPS Route A for New York Butte, from Long John Canyon in Owens Valley, east of Lone Pine. As reported earlier, the original trailhead near the Black Warrior Mine is no longer viable due to washouts in the 4wd road. I parked at a wide, light-colored area a mile in from the Dolomite Mine Road (3800').

I walked up the eroded track to the foot of the southwest-west ridge (4400'), which I followed until turning northeast (8700'). Here I contoured through the "shiggy" (irritating shin-high brush) across a shallow bowl to the saddle north of New York Butte, where I joined the Inyo Crest miners' trail (9100'). A light dusting of week-old snow lingered on north-facing slopes.

I hiked a mile north on this good path. Survivor Peak came into view ahead to the right. The twin-summited peak has a prominent cleft, and is on a spur east of the crest. I left the trail at an obvious open flat, and passed over two rises on the spur ridge before ascending to the sheer rocky top. The highpoint is the first, or west summit. It is easiest to pass to the south before climbing up the backside.

The register is located in the notch below the summit. Can't miss it!... it's a bright red fire alarm box secured at eye-level to a gnarled dead tree. The glass jar and register inside were placed by Barbara Lilley and Gordon MacLeod in 1991. The book had only about a dozen signatures, including that of Bob Sumner and a couple by Steve Smith. The last visitor's entry was in 1997.

I descended the same route to reach my truck before dark.

Stats: About 12 miles, 7500 feet gain roundtrip.

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