Tin Mountain, Dry Mountain


By: George Hubbard


Twenty lively souls gathered at the Ubehebe Crater road head. We caravaned on a fairly good dirt road that leads south of the crater to the 9 mi. point due east of Dry Mtn. Here we left the cars to start the climb. It was a beautiful morning with the promise of a continuing beautiful day. We started up the wash leading up to the broad but steep slope facing east-southeast, climbing to the west-northwest. There are several alternate routes, but without any argument, this route gives you 2400' of gain as quickly as you are able to take it. At the top of the ridge Dry comes into full view with the route or routes becoming quite apparent. Without any choice, however, at this point there is approx. an 800' drop. We hiked thru a pleasant ravine to reach the slopes that lead to the summit which lies to the NE of the rocky outcrops you see either from the top of the first ridge, or as you climb down the ravine, You have your choice; almost any of the slopes angling W-NW will lead you to the top. The trip participants arrived at the summit spaced from 2:00 to 3:00. What were small patches of snow at the 6,000-7000' elevation, became snow drifts of about 10" at 8,000'. Ron Jones' thermometer read 32 at the summit, and since it was very windy as the last group of hikers arrived, the first group started down. The route back to the cars offered no particular obstacles.

Here again you can take your choice as it seems some of us did. On the way back after leaving the same ravine that takes you up, there was a scattering of climbers that after a while managed to find each other. The first group out led by Bill Schuler arrived at dusk and the last group wandered into camp around 8:00. After a brief debate (between the leader and himself) as to whether to move camp about 3 miles up the road, where Roy Ward had located a site, we decided to stay where parked and proceeded to enjoy a camp fire, dinner, and a rowdy time in that order. The next morning brought us to face the reality of climbing Tin.

Twenty climbers participated in this climb. That is, we lost Paul Lipsohn but gained Roy Ward, who had joined us the previous evening. After driving south another mile, we started climbing. The morning looked a little threatening and later on in the day the threat materialized into slow-falling well-rounded ice crystals, more like soft hail. Not really snow.........

It was only a brief weather action, and it dispersed by around 11:30. This was a 4400 gain and I guess everyone wanted to get to the peak and out because the uneventful arrival at the summit by everyone was much more timely than on Saturday. Here again the gain is fast and depending on your condition you can make the top in three hours. With a group of 20 four hours is pretty good timing. Here again we encountered the smaller and bigger patches of snow which are less than common in the mountains of Death Valley. We started the climb on the ridges that face W-NW. Climbing in a southeasterly direction, like Dry, the ridges on this mountain are easy and quick gain, although the point to the peak, upon reaching the top of the high ridge that is in view from below, is rather obscure. The aim would be to head for the first canyon which lies to the east of the main ridge being climbed, however staying high so that the canyon may be crossed on the top. On arriving at the top of the ridge, looking toward the east, the gentle dome of Tin appears with very little elevation loss, down a broad saddle and up the slope, the summit can he reached in l5 minutes. We left the wind and cold area around 1:00 and made good time getting back to the cars with most participants arriving by 3-3:l5. Here again, the descent back on the ridges is quick and easy.

Both these climbs are a good winter work-out. Perhaps some of the better elevation gain in Death Valley---and so a workout it was, for almost half of the group had already climbed the peaks at one time or another.

However, the ones adding these peaks to their DPS climbs were certainly getting both good peaks and a good workout. Dry; 6,000 and Tin 4,400'.. a good weekend for a total gain of 10,400'.

I would like to express my thanks to Gene Gail for serving as assistant leader on Tin and to Vi Grasso for serving as the main inspiration for this writeup.

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