Glass Mountain Ridge


By: Ron Jones


Saturday was spent with 12 persons slogging through three foot deep snow to nearly 11,000 feet on the slopes of Lee Vining Peak on the unsuccessful SPS portion of this joint SPS/DPS weekend. That evening, Halloween, proved to be the usual resoundingly successful DPS carcamp.

We drove east on Highway 120 from just south of Mono Lake approximately 35 miles to the well-marked McGee Canyon-Sawmill Meadow dirt road leading south. Hoping to reach the road's end at Sawmill Meadow, we drove to about 8400 feet and four miles short of the roadhead campgroup before meeting icy snow which stopped us. The group met this adversity in the true DPS fashion by backing down to the first level spot and uncorking (or for some, unscrewing) the tops of bottles of various colored alcoholic stimulants. Soon the Halloween trick-or-treat hors d'oeuvres appeared, a pumpkin was transformed to a jack o'lantern and All Hallows Eve was celebrated next to a cattle watering trough and salt lick. Later in the evening Sue Wyman played the most excellent campfire guitar it has been my luck to hear at a car camp.

That night assistant leader Marlin Clark spent his second night of 20 degree temperature bivouacked without a sleeping bag (he left his at home) but wrapped up in parkas, space blankets, etc.

The next morning we walked up the intermittently snowy road to Sawmill Campground (9200') and then due west to the southern supposedly lower summit of Glass Mtn. This south summit, which registered higher than the north "official" summit on all three altimeters present, has one of the best DPS registers around with most of the old-timers and founders of the DPS signing in when this was considered the high point of the peak. I recommend visiting it as it is only a short detour from the route to the north peak. A leisurely lunch included a six pack of Dunker Akel beer shared by Leonard Ablieter. We then took the loose scree slopes of the north ridge directly down past spectacular obsidian formations to our cars at 8400 feet. (2700 feet descent in one hour 15 minutes) En route Lou Brecheen got the piece of red obsidian he had been looking for amidst the multitude of black volcanic glass.

My thanks to Marlin Clark who again assisted me so ably and to a fine group of climbers who added to the leader's pleasure.

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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