Ubehebe Peak


By: Dan Cummings


On Saturday morning, April 15, 12 D.P.S. members met at Ubehebe Crater in the north end of Death Valley. While waiting for the tardy leaders, some of the group had an extra 15 minutes to view this interesting memento of a fairly recent volcanic explosion. The crater is 800' deep and half a mile in diameter.
After a short caravan over a fair desert road, 11 members started the five mile trek up the flank of Tin Mountain, the highest peak in the northern Panamints. After about 45 minutes of climbing they were overtaken by fast-moving Polly Connable, who had arrived late. (It is rumored that Polly keeps in shape by running up Mt. Whitney on alternate Saturday afternoons.)

The party reached the summit in the middle of the afternoon and were rewarded by a magnificent view of both the snow-covered Sierra and the floor of Death Valley over 9000 feet below.
On the trip down, Joanne Roberts, a newcomer from Boston, had her first encounter with an angry rattlesnake. She still prefers southern California to Massachusetts.

Camp was made that night on the shores of the Grandstand, an island on interesting Race Track Dry Lake. The famous "sliding rocks", which move along the surface of the lake bed, were watched closely, but none were seen moving. One of the rocks, weighing several hundred pounds, has left a track across the "beach" of the island and several hundred feet along the lake bed, moving at the rate of perhaps a few inches a year.

The next morning, after a balmy night and leisurely breakfast, 11 persons started up precipitous Ubehebe Peak (5678'), which proved to be a fine class three climb up a chute laced with dry waterfalls. Due to the loose and rather dangerous condition of the main chute, the climb was completed up a steep, narrow but solid trough directly to the summit.

8 persons made the peak after a two hour climb, three having turned back at a steep dry waterfall where a rope could have been used to insure safety.

All were in their cars and headed home via Death Valley early in the afternoon. The short cut through Saline Valley via the Lippencot Lead Mine road was not taken, since the leaders had found the road a bit rough two weeks earlier (i.e. 6 miles in 2-1/2 hours).

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