Boundary Peak, Montgomery Peak


By: Art Blauvelt


This trip was an interesting one. To begin, I spent the night in Big Pine, intending to have breakfast at the Colony Kitchen there. Sorry. Restaurant closed.

I had scheduled the meeting for 10 a.m., allowing lots of time for breakfast. I got to the meeting place at 7:30. Oh, well. Art Blauvelt The meeting place was the intersection of Chiatovich Creek and Highway 3A, approximately 17 miles north of Dyer Post Office. Unfortunately, the only place I found Highway 3A was on my AAA map. The actual highway was 264/266--depending on whether one was in California or Nevada. The distance north of Dyer P.O. was about 12 miles-the post office had been moved.

We then caravaned into the road-head at Trail Canyon, had lunch and prepared to back-pack up to the camp site. I picked up the first aid kit, approached a young and strong looking individual--a BMTC/M-Rated Leader from the South Bay-and asked him to volunteer to carry the first aid kit up to base camp. He informed me that he had enough equipment of his own to carry and refused.

About this time, I was turning to Chuck Stein to sign him out, but I was reminded that I had asked him to volunteer. Oh, well. Unfortunately, in my anger, I turned to a very nice friend, one of my BMTC students, and, in my best Ich-ben-der-Herr voice, told him to carry the kit up the hill. Sorry, Mike: We were still at the cars when one individual came up and informed me that he had brought neither ice-axe, or crampons. I signed him out immediately. (Nice guy, but I understood that he had contacted the Ranger who told him that there was little snow on the mountains).

By this time, my neck was a little red. I made a small, macho type speech: "This is my trip. I am the leader. Do what I say, or sign out . . . " I then took off up the hill.

Unfortunately, R. J. Secor, Sherri Harsh, etc., thought that I meant them since they had been discussing with me the possibility of making the trip a day hike and whether we really needed crampons. Oh, well. I explained, but I'm sure going to stay quiet on any trips led by R. J., or Sherri.

By the time we got to base camp, it had turned a little cold arid windy. We passed a pleasant night, got up at 5, hit the trail at 6, and went up a snow filled gully, avoiding the scree. At this point, I talked to the gentleman who had refused to carry the first-aid kit, suggesting that the way he had put on his crampons was not proper. He informed me that he had worn cramps twice before and needed no advice from me.

On with the day. Everyone was climbing well. I got a large lot of snappy salutes from Randy et al and the major party reached the summit of Montgomery by 12. Ice-axe and crampons were not necessary, however they were very useful in allowing us to climb the snow gully instead of the scree slope.

Five people earned their emblems and three people got into the DPS. About 1 p.m., we started back down, leaving Mel Lees to bring up the rear with Chuck Stein. Because the first time I led this peak, I started down the wrong ridge below Boundary and was saved when Ed Lubin corrected my error, this time when we reached Boundary I picked up the compass heading from a topo map, checked the ridge and headed down. As I descended the ridge, I eased off to the left of the crest and descended some.

About then, Donna O'Shaughnessy called out, "You have taken the wrong ridge, Art," Fortunately, this was before I got more than 50 feet down. Some days one shouldn't get out of bed!

I understand that Dr. Holshuh recognized my error first. Thanks, Doctor. I returned to the ridge, raised my trusty ice-axe on high and acted the "Fearless Leader" back to camp.

We arrived at camp between 4 and 4:30, packed out to the road-head at 4:40, got to the cars at 6 p.m. and so home by 2 a.m. Chuck and Mel got out at 8 p.m. Stan Icen waited at the road-head until they arrived.

I want to apologize to all those who caught the edge of my temper--I'm not normally as bossy as I appeared. I want to thank all of those who helped in getting the rope arid first-aid kit up the hill, helped the less experienced over the rough spots and helped me to find my way down.

Special thanks to Randy Bernard, Mel Lees, Stan Icen and Donna O'Shaughnessy for their efforts. With one exception, it was a pleasant group to associate with. --

P.S. For you birders, there were lots of Horned Larks, several Burrowing Owls, Lesser Nighhawks, many Swainson's Hawks and Rosy Finches.

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