By: Ron Jones
SALNE EMBLEM HOTSPRING AND SCHEDULED SALINE PEAK EXPLORATORY
Saline Peak will be on -the 1983 DPS ballot to be voted for or against inclusion on the DPS peak list. The Saline Valley hot springs have already been given emblem status (2 points for a winter visit, 4 points in summer) on the Sierra Hot Springs Emblem List.
Ten climbers in three vehicles met at 9:30 at the middle "Palm Spring" for an early morning refresher after driving until about 2 a.m. that morning. We took about 2-1/2 hours for the usual careful caravan eleven miles up the jeep trail (BLM 1864) toward Steel Pass. At this point, about 3300 feet, we set out beneath--and then climbed through--a thick fog which covered all the Saline Valley below 5500 feet. We followed the obvious route along the east ridge on the 4-1/2 mile ascent, with 3700 feet of gain, to the summit of Saline (7063'). Above the fog, really good views of the Eureka Sand Dunes, Last Chance Range, Dry Mountain, Telescope Pk and a section of the snow-capped Sierras between Independence and Big Pine were seen. Everyone made the summit and 10 of us, including the drivers of the 3 vehicles involved, supported Saline as a high quality peak for the "DPS List." Round trip took 4-1/2 to 5 hours, returning in early winter darkness to our camp where Adrienne, Sue, Delores, Bob Rogers, Vic, Don, Don's son Donald, Mans, Igor and I shared in a Mexican potluck dinner and relaxed and partied around the campfire.
The next morning at 6:30 six of us started out from our camp on the 5500 foot assault on the western face of Dry Mountain. This is an awesomely steep, rugged class 2 ridge route. At one point we climbed at a rate of 2200 ft/hr for more than an hour. A. short lunch was enjoyed on top where it was noted that 4 of us had climbed Dry Mountain twice during 1982! We four felt that Dry is a better and prettier climb from the west than from the east. I sketched and described this route in Sage #154, May/Jul 1980. This year we heavily ducked much of the route in case we encountered heavy fog on our descent. We returned to our cars before 4 o'clock and arrived back at the hot springs and good road by six. Here we joined Bob & Delores, who had come down early, in another dip in the 113° water of this Emblem hot springs.
I have led this climb of Saline Peak three times now with a total of 7 vehicles making the slow careful drive to the campsite with no problems other than making road improvements. Short wheel base light cars, vans and pickups have always made the drive into camp. At least 20 of the 23 climbers who have made the peak with me said they would vote for it on the list. George Barnes also led a party of 12 with 3 or 4 vehicles to the peak in March of 1973. The reward is a climb of a peak which is the dominating main summit of the Saline Range. The view from the top is totally unspoiled by the sight of any of man's activities. My special thanks to Maris Valkass for a strong assist on the 9200 foot weekend and to Don Weiss for the tamales.
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