Sandy Point, Last Chance Mountain


By: Ron Jones


Twenty-five climbers met at the Ubehebe Crater parking lot in Death Valley early on Saturday morning. Everyone who was anyone had been accounted for except our assistant leader. Finally Barbara Reber drove in pale and weak, having suffered a sudden onset of stomach flu while driving up Friday, Barbara reluctantly gave up her chance of working at completing the new list additions and Dick Akawie "volunteered" to assist.

We caravaned on the graded dirt road leading north from near Ubehebe toward Eureka Valley and Big Pine. After about 25 miles we stopped in the obvious flat area of the saddle of Section 36 R39E T85 at about 5000 feet. Here we were met by BLM ranger from Ridgecrest, a DAS member, Bob Conquergood. We hiked along the ridge enjoying views of the Eureka Valley sand dunes and in an easy three hours all were on the summit. Shirley Akawie celebrated her recompletion of the DPs list and new corner Scott Rosenthall climbed his 1st DPS peak. The summit has a notable register, a "Thrifty Glycal Rectal Evacuant" can with a very tight lid.

After returning to the cars we caravaned about 5 miles east back over the road toward Ubehebe to an obvious but unposted side-road shown on the Magruder Mtn. quadrangle. We traveled about 2 miles on this road until we came to an unmapped fork to the right which drops slightly into a wash. Take this fork as the left fork continues for 1/4 mile and dead-ends. At this point darkness had set in, some cars missed the fork and only 5 cars drove one-half mile to the proper road head at Last Chance Springs which is marked by a tin sheeted cabin. That night two separate birthday parties were held for absent Barbara Reber, with German chocolate cake at the lower camp and angel food cake at the Springs. In both cases the birthday cakes were followed by wine chasers, sorry you weren't there, Barbara. ( I was saved from a very large hangover. Ye Ed.)

Thee next morning 22 climbers set out up the canyon leading from Last Chance Springs. We stayed in the canyon an hour or so, climbing over 3 easy waterfalls and then climbed onto the ridge to the northeast. We could have stayed in the canyon to the end and then gained the ridge. The ridge was followed through Pinyon and Juniper until the summit was reached at 8456 feet. The views of the Eureka and Deep Springs Valley, the Inyos, and the desert ranges of Nevada was magnificent. All agreed that Last Chance Peak was a far better mountain than Sandy.

One last word. If you arrive in Death Valley late at night, the last gas is available in Trona or Olancha. We left one car at Scotty's Castle where the station doesn't open until 9:00 A.M. and Bob Hicks' "gas hog" ran out of gas twice on the way to the peaks.

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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