Mount Inyo, Keynot Peak


By: Lois Fracisco


For the second year in a row we proved that Labor Day is the ideal time to climb Inyo. The weather was perfect, cool enough for a steep climb but not freezing. Twenty two people met in Lone Pine at assorted meeting places as the leaders did not quite get together on a meeting spot. After some discussion about several dirt roads, we found the trail head and were on the trail by 8:00 AM.

We climbed the steepest part of this large scree slope in two groups, slow and super slow. Just short of the top four turned back. Bedsprings camp site was made by the tail end group around 2:00 PM. At daylight we headed for Inyo getting on top at 8:00 AM, A couple of kids and their mother (me) didn't go all the way to the peak as the old incentive just wasn't there. I gathered up the slowest ones and headed down the mountain, while the rest of the group went on to Keynot. Alex picked up an iron souvenir that weighed 75# and brought it all the way back to our car. This makes me wonder if his pack is too light.

Seventeen of us made it to the Sportsman Cafe in Lone Pine, where we moved a few tables together and drank gallons of water before ordering. Fourteen of us went to Dirty Sox Spring to camp and found a few campers, vans, Winibagos, already in possession, so we joined them. After some soul warming liquid and the help of the sun going down so the other bathers couldn't see the state of our not so clean clothes, we waded in. The only problem with swimming around in warm water after dark is how do you get out into the cold, brrrrrrr, air.

Being proper Sierra Clubbers with mountains to climb, we were all in the sack by 10:00 PM. Not so our neighbors as the night wore on the party got louder and louder with motor cycles circling the pool, skinny dippers cavorting and splashing. The climax came about 3:00 AM when someone shot off a gun. Seven shots someone said, after which it got a little quieter. We got even at daylight the next morning, just about the time it really became quiet. We got up with much shouted conversation and banging of stoves and pans and warming motors. New York Butte is easy, all you have to do is find the proper road. What you don't do is follow the road that leads toward the peak. It ends with a ridge and a canyon between you and the peak after getting narrower and narrower. At one time our right front wheel and our left rear were off the ground at the same time. With the whole group crowded into three 4WD's, those jammed in the center unable to see out must have interesting sensations every time we tilted sideways. After finally getting back to the proper road, it's the main one, the widest, and with the most tire prints, it goes the wrong way for awhile. It circles around and comes back to the peak. Thirteen climbed New York Butte, one stayed in the car.

Luella Martin celebrated her emblem with cantaloupe slices. Since we spent half a day on our little exploratory, we decided not to climb Pleasant and went home from there.

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