Grapevine Peak, Mount Palmer


By: Ron Jones


A cold Saturday morning at the Beatty Casino in Nevada saw a group of 18 DPS climbers start north on Highway 95 to the turnoff for Phinney Canyon and the roadhead for the weekends adventure. about 3 miles north of Beatty I stopped at Bailey's Hot Springs and made reservations for a late dinner on the way out Sunday.

At 9:30 we had gone about as far as we could go up Phinney Canyon. The low snow level made the road impassable beyond the 6000 foot level so we made our camp nearly two miles lower than is usual. Incidentally, in good conditions this road can be driven in 4WD to the saddle at about 7400 feet.

The group soon started out and carried ice axes in the soft snow. They were never used. Mark Hurst was the only person who brought the necessary equipment--snow shoes. We hiked up the road to the Phinney mine where the snow got too deep for comfort. So we climbed the ridge which leads to Grapevine Pk. The Von Schmidt Line was crossed without incident and about 2:00, 17 climbers stood at 8738 feet on the summit. The views were good but we soon started back in order to beat the sunset.

At the campfire that night assistant leader Marlin Clark, inspired by firewater, showed the group the test of the DPS Mountaineer. The candidate holds their ice axe with both arms over the head and turns around 15 times while gazing upward at the stars. The iceaxe is then thrown on the ground and the candidate must jump over the shaft of the axe. In demonstrating, Marlin missed by 30 degrees and landed instead in the campfire. Cathy Robinson was the first to pass the test.

The next morning at 6:30, hoping for hard snow, only 7 stalwarts set out for Mt. Palmer. The snow was knee to thigh deep on the north slopes above 7000 ft. At 7300 feet Marlin and Cathy left the group and after climbing Wahguyhe Peak (8628 ft.) returned to the cars. Snowshoe Hurst left soon after and after about 9 miles of snow (thanks to Bill Bradley for breaking trail) four persons floundered onto the summit of Palmer (7979'). All, returned to the cars where we were met by Paul Lipsohn who had climbed Grapevine (in our steps) that day. A detour to Bailey's Hot Springs was made on our way out and we enjoyed a delicious steak dinner and afterwards paid $1.00 to soak in the 115 degree hot springs (mixed or separate bathing).

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