Dry Mountain, Tin Mountain


By: Fran Smith


On a cold, windy morning, eight people met at Ubehebe Crater for the caravan on a good road to a point between Dry and Tin. After two hours of climbing in sunshine, clouds moved in from over our first objective, a ridge high above us. Result - light snowfall. Undaunted, six reached the ridge (two had retreated) where a discussion of "where's the peak" ensued. Since the leaders were using experience of past climbers, all ideas were being considered. The question was whether Dry was the peak "way over there" or the peak about thirty minutes up the ridge from where we were. Weather and wishful thinking made the closer peak the popular choice. With careful consideration of both topo and compass, the distant peak, unfortunately, had to be accepted as the right one. Two other factors were that (1) we were barely four hours into our climb and (2) there was not that "tired" feeling that prevails at the top of a difficult peak like Dry. The necessary drop of 800 feet and regaining altitude was accomplished, allowing all six to sign the register amidst blowing snow.

An immediate descent was started with only 200 feet of visibility. The snowfall soon stopped, but not until the ground was covered with over an inch of snow. The descent from the earlier ridge into the valley by finding routes with safe footing over steep snowy rocks was good experience. But with all six helping find a way that would go, it was accomplished, and over an hour of daylight remained after reaching the cars. Don McLean, Norm Rohn, and Cy Kaicener joined the co-leaders in staying overnight to climb Tin. (The editors wonder if Cy still smelled like that bighorn head he found on Tucki.)

At 7:30 Sunday all five were climbing Tin's slopes. The climb was routinely easy with the usual false summit ridge. You reach that ridge thinking you see your objective just up the ridge, only to see the real peak beyond, another 45 minutes away. At thc summit, we quickly signed in and then returned to an area sheltered from the wind where a lunch break was enjoyed by everyone. Near the end of the descent several early blooming flowers, indigenous to Death Valley, attracted our attention. Three photographic devotees took advantage of these specimens as well as earlier snow scene with blossoming cacti for some excellent pictures. An additional hour was spent at Ubehebe Crater and Scotty's Castle after which we were homeward bound.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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