Iron Mountain, Sage Hen Peak, White Mountain Peak


By: Wynne Benti


Though our group was small in number, it was BIG in chapter geographic representation, from Reno in the Toiyabe Chapter to Torrance in the Angeles. We met at Schulman Grove early Saturday morning with two dogs on the trip, Rosy and big Jambo ("Hi" in Swahili). Using a variation on Andy Zdon's "Desert Summits," we drove north to Crooked Creek, then east on the Crooked Creek Road approximately 6.6 miles to a parking area within view of both peaks.

Both of the trip co-leaders cancelled so George Denny was kind enough to assist. We walked across the sage plateau spattered with red volcanic rock to the top of Iron, a notable, reddish talus-covered plug-like peak with views of Deep Springs and Fish Lake Valley and endless miles and miles of classic Great Basin landscape. Everyone signed the register placed in 1979 by Barbara Lilley and Gordon MacCleod, then clambered down the clanking talus stones. We walked back across that wide open plateau beneath the big sky to Sage Hen, and back down to the cars.

We drove a fair distance to our luxurious accommodations, courtesy Deep Springs College, for the evening. Everyone loved it. Places like that and the memories they inspire are vanishing at a rapid pace in the west. George Denny built a warm fire in the naturally occurring granite fire pit where we gathered around on upright bristlecone logs and hand-hewn pine benches drinking the wine for the evening: syrrah! For dinner, there were delicious home-made Asian chicken and pasta salads, chips and salsa made from fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro. When the sun went down, folks retired to their abodes and through dusty windows watched the peaceful starry night and near full-moon.

The next morning, we were up at dawn light but the sun wasn't visible until 7:00am. By 7:15 we were on the road and fell into a line of cars that eventually carried over 500 people to the open house at Barcroft Lab that day, according to a friend working the event. By 9:05 we were on the trail and all made the summit of White Mountain at varying paces. While some of the group stayed to visit the lab, I returned to Bishop via Silver Canyon where I saw about a dozen desert bighorn, the second time I've seen them there in the past week. All in all, a lovely trip.

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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