Tin Mountain, Ubehebe Peak, Avawatz Mountains


By: Bill Henderson


The Thanksgiving Trip: Three carloads moved fast enough Wednesday night, November 22, to be in position to climb Tin Mtn. on Thursday. Those making the climb were Fritz Sloman, Niles and Louise Werner, Larry Ames, Peggy Fredrick and Muriel Pope. This group parked their cars on the road that runs along the west side of Tin Mtn. at a point that would just about be on a line between Tin Mtn. on the east and Dry Mtn. on the west. The party headed directly for the summit, and were on top in 4-1/2 to five hours. It was described as a very interesting climb with fine views, and with juniper and pinyon forests near the summit.

About 35 persons collected for the camp fire Thursday night at Mesquite Springs. Most of them rolled out of sleeping bags at 5:00 a.m. the next morning to prepare for the drive to the race track, and the climb of Ubehebe Peak. By 9:30, 23 had made it to the race track, one of the prettiest dry lakes to be found anyplace, and started the ascent. Most of the group took the draw to the left of the main peak, as seen from the lake's island. However about ten of the group with ropes and hardware went looking for a hard way. It turned out to be difficult to find any faces on the main peak, so several hours were spent scaling water falls which could have been by-passed. The peak just north of Ubehebe had a nice face but there wasn't time to try it. Normal climbing time for this peak is 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Those reaching the summit were: Walter and Bernice Heninger, Niles and Louise Werner, Bill and Harry Sutherland, Ruth and Frank Ferro, Muriel Pope, Luine Bestline, Ralph Harlow, Margaret and Bill Henderson, Eleanor and Marie Smith, Fritz Sloman, Dorothy Campbell, Glen Warner, Larry Ames, Peggy Fredrick, Warren Flock, Betty Mudge, and Norman Johnson. Ubehebe is just a little peak, as peaks go, but it has a rugged and picturesque setting that is well worth the trip to its isolated area.

Friday night's camp was 18 miles down Death Valley from Ubehebe. It was at Sheep Creek Springs, on the east side of the Avawatz Mtns. Most of the cars arrived there quite late at night, so it was a lot of fun as we started up the wash toward Avawatz Peak at 5:00 a.m. discovering by moon light what new people had joined the outing and who had left it. We had lost ten from the group who were with us on Ubehebe, but there were eleven new faces. Three of these were from the San Diego Chapter, and another was Mrs. Adelina Smith, who with her husband, has lived 15 years at Sheep Creek Springs, and have mine holdings near there. Mrs. Smith pointed out the correct turns at several points in the main canyon that might have been missed in preference for side canyons.

The canyon rose gently for nearly eight miles before it ended abruptly in a head wall. The canyon was lined with marble and. quartzite of archian (early precambrian) age. These are members of the oldest rocks on earth. Jim Bonner claims to have found a sample of pintzite which is quartzite which under terrific metamorphism has been reduced to half its size.

Once the lip of the head wall had been reached, we found ourselves on top of the range. However, not on top of the peak. From this lip we had our first view of the summit of Avawatz Peak, a high steeply domed peak, just where the map showed it to be! A mile of zig-zagging a round small hills, and we found ourselves on the smooth moderately steep north ridge. Sporadically scattered juniper and joshua trees offered shade during short breathers. The summit became the grandstand for one of the grandest desert panaramas I have seen to date. Visibility was about 200 miles, and Avawatz's high isolated position made visible innumerable ranges, and even parts of the lofty snowcapped peaks of the Sierra peeked through gaps where they could find them. Those fortunate to enjoy this sight were: Fritz Sloman (leader), Walter and Bernice Heninger, Niles and Louise Werner, Muriel Pope, Ralph Harlow, Margaret and Bill Henderson, Eleanor Smith, Dorothy Campbell, Glen Warner, Larry Ames, Peggy Fredrick, Jim Bonner, Ross Baker, Andelo Millard, Burton Baldwin, Georgia White, Elgin Pierce, and from the San Deigo chapter, Barbara Lilley, Frances Pierson, Eugene Vinson, and Don Rappolee. Don Rappolee hitchhiked from San Diego to Baker, then north to a point on the highway as near the peak as possible, however, still a long ways. He started hiking at 11:00 Friday night by the full moon, and reached the summit at 8:00 the following morning. He headed down toward Sheep Springs, hoping to meet the main party climbing up, but took a slightly different route than the ascending party. He was able to join his friends at campfire that evening, after their return from the peak.

Mr. J. L. Smith, of Sheep Creek Springs, despite some injured ribs from a recent fall, came up the canyon in the evening to greet the last ones in. He was disappointed at not feeling up to making the hike at the time, but perhaps will join us another time.

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