Zinc Peak


By: Wes Shelberg


VABM Zinc (6789-ft.) and Nearby Peak 6560+
(Saline Range Summits)

VABM Zinc and nearby Peak 6560+ (Waucoba Spring Quadrangle, CA, 15-min.) are the highest summits in the northern Saline Range. Climbing them is easy but worthwhile because they are part of the wild brooding Saline Range and provide fine summit views. They rise from the broad undulating plateau (upland) of 5000-6000-ft. elevation which ii the union of the Saline Range and the Inyo Mountains east of the Waucoba Mountain-Squaw Peak massif. According to summit observations and the topographic map, it is logical to attribute to the Saline Range that plateau region south of Marble Canyon and east of Jackass Flats, and to the Inyo Mountains that region north of Marble Canyon and west of Jackass Flats. These designations result in VABM Zinc being squarely within the Saline Range.

A solo climb included both summits. Summit views from VABM Zinc included the entire undulating plateau and its Marble Canyon drainage; Marble Canyon's impressive Eureka Valley čntrada having the south ridge of VABM Brass (Inyo Mountains) as the west side and the northernmost spur of the Saline Range as the east side; Inyo Mountains peaks including VABM Brass and the Waucoba Mountain-Squaw Peak massif looming nearby; snowy Sierra Nevada peaks in the Mt. Whitney and Big Pine areas seen across lower elevations of the Inyo Mountains; Saline Range including Saline Peak and VABM Blacktop; Saline Valley depression but not the valley floor; Nelson Range; Hunter Mountain; snowy Telescope Peak; Dry Mountain; Last Chance Range including Last Chance Mountain, VABM Sandy and VABM Marble; northern Eureka Valley (only) with its large symmetrical alluvial fan exiting from between the Sylvania Mountains and the Last Chance Mountains; great Eureka Valley Sand Dunes (partially); and the very snowy White Mountains. Summit views from Peak 6560+ were generally similar to the aforementioned except that the salt flat (and only that) could be seen in Saline Valley.

Refer to the accompanying topographic map for road-head details. From Big Pine, Calif. take the road to Saline Valley as far as Marble Canyon. Proceed down Marble Canyon to Jackass Canyon, take the Jackass Flats road south roughly 4.5 miles to the jeep trail indicated on the map, and take the jeep trail to the indicated road-head near the dry lake. Four-wheel drive is recommended (especially for Jackass Canyon), but Volkswagen types should use their own judgement about the roads. Of course, VABN Zinc could be climbed easily from the junction of Marble Canyon and Jackass Canyon and thus four- wheel drive would not be necessary.

The climbing route taken to VABM Zinc and Peak 6560+ is traced on the accompanying topographic map. The one-way distance from vehicle to VABM Zinc as shown by the arrows is three miles as measured on the map, the elevation gain is 1269-ft., and the route is an easy Class 2. The distance from VABM Zinc to Peak 6560+ is 1.5 miles. A notebook register was placed on each summit. Roger Mitchell of Bishop, Calif. (Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter, Pinon Group) had climbed VAIN Zinc and left a business card without a visitation date.

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