Fri, Oct 11, 2019
It had been two years since I last climbed in the Inyo Mtns of Eastern California with Tom and Karl, and a few years before that with just Tom, both times with just a single day in the area. Tom had a 4-day weekend this time, allowing us a more thorough exploration of the area's peaks. We would visit 27 summit in the north end of the range over the four days, leaving a few stragglers for a future visit. We camped three nights at at an old mining site just off the main road at around 7,100ft, enjoying campfires and our modest desert cuisine (sorely missing the more gourmet offerings that Matt Yaussi used to provide). Most of the peaks we visited made for short hikes of a mile or less and it was difficult to keep track of them with so many. Most of the remaining parts of these TRs are intentionally short descriptions - one can get the best use by just downloading the GPX tracks and following those. Bear in mind that some of the roads are pretty rough and 4WD may be required to get to our starting points.
We followed the old road 2.7mi to its end in about 45min, finding the remains of an old mining cabin with a rock hearth that took up most of the space in the small, 1-room log structure. Littered about the outsides were the remains of an iron stove and lots of detritus from the homestead. Just up the hill was a 20-foot deep pit that looked to be excavating a blue-green vein of rock (copper?) from the hillside. It doesn't appear to have amounted to much given all the effort. We left the road to head north cross-country, reaching the easy summit of Peak 7,620ft in another 30min. A Rocky Rockwell of Bishop had left a register here in 1996, making two more visits through 2000. Only a handful of others had signed the small notepad. Not long after leaving the summit, we got sight of Mt. Nunn another mile and a half further north. There were some ravines and folds in the mountains between the two, necessitating some unwelcome dips along the way before finally climbing up to Mt. Nunn. We reached the top shortly before 11a, about 3.5hrs from the start. Lying in the open at the top were some scattered sheets of paper relating to the Deep Springs College Constitution and Deed of Trust. These formed a picture of a faith-based college built on self-determination, manual labor (there is an alfalfa farm, dairy cows and cattle to attend to) and heavy on student class participation. There was a register as well, with many pages and some older scraps. The main register was left in 1980 by Jim Morefield and Ed Cronk in 1980. The latter was the president of the college at the time, the register placed to commemorate the USGS granting official status to the naming of Mt. Nunn. Jim Morefield was a student there, and through Kirk Dixon was made aware of the register photo I had posted even before this trip report was written. I had a short but pleasant exchange with Jim via email, during which he provided a dated photo of the two of them atop Mt. Nunn, complete with Levis, the preferred hiking apparel of the day.
From the summit, one can tell where Deep Springs Valley is to the northwest, but the valley floor (and the college) are out of view because the peak sits back from the edge of the valley. Eureka Valley can be seen with its sand dunes in Death Valley NP far to the southeast, while the Sierra Crest around the Palisades rises in the distance to the west. One can also see far into Nevada, with the Silver Peaks Range recognizable to the northeast. After a short rest at the summit, we headed back, taking some variations on our outbound route in an effort to avoid some of the dips encountered along the way. The three of us ended up splitting up for about 30min while I nearly went back over Peak 7,620ft and the others found ways around it. We were back together before reaching the old road. On the way down the road we shortcutted a large turn in the road before regaining it and following it down to our start, finishing up by 1:45p.
This page last updated: Mon Oct 28 19:47:28 2019
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