Our second day in the Inyo Mtns had us driving around the Squaw Flat and Papoose
Flat areas, found north of the main road and west of the range highpoint,
Waucoba Mtn. We left Tom and Karl's vehicles at our campsite off Death Valley
Rd, using my jeep for the dirt road adventure. Karl took up the back seat while
Tom rode shotgun, the general seating arrangement we used all four days. As we
were heading out, I looked to the back seat to notice Tom had left his banana
there, next to Karl. With a straight face I told Karl he was welcome to the
banana. Tom sort of laughed, to which I asked if he wanted it up front with
him. He said, "No, leave it back there and I'll eat it later." Not five
minutes later, before we'd reached our first peak, I looked back again to see
Karl happily consuming the banana. I started laughing out loud which garnered
only a mild response from Karl - "What?" Seems he selectively heard only the
first part of the earlier conversation and genuinely thought I had offered him
my breakfast fare. Tom was understandably incensed, Karl was confused, and I
couldn't help finding it hilarious. This set off a chain of banana jokes and
comments the rest of day, the unofficial naming of one of the summits, and all
in all great fun to be had at the cost of a single banana.
Our of the day was a short but to Peak
8,980ft north of
Squaw Flat. It was 21F outside when we started just after 7:30a, but we would
warm quickly with the steep ascent and the temperature would improve rapidly
with the rising of the sun. We spent about 30min to reach ,
warmer but still chilly, and left before heading back down.
There's a fine view of Squaw Flat to , where we headed next.
This summit lies at the northern edge of Squaw Flat, detached from the
surrounding hills. We drove down to , parking on
of our peak, and headed off cross-country from there.
We spent about 30min on the , finding another good
view of .
Located on the west side of Squaw Flat, this summit required more effort than
the last two, about 1.5mi roundtrip and taking just about an hour. Tom and I
went north of the summit through forest and mild brush
while followed the rocky East Ridge. He was able to circumvent
the rocky outcrops
that had deterred Tom and I, finding reasonable paths through them that made his
route no longer than ours. We all went down the north side drainage on the
This officially unnamed summit lies roughly halfway between Squaw Flat and
Papoose Flat. The hike from the northwest side is about the same distance as the
last peak, but the elevation gain is considerably more, over 1,000ft. In
addition, there are lots of in the upper half. Getting
ahead of the others, I found my way to of one of the lower
pinnacles, a rather
stiff bit of class 3 work, only to find I was still a fifth of a mile from the
highpoint, now clearly visible to the east. I had to climb back down from my
tenuous perch before continuing on to the actual highpoint. With several points
looking to be of similar height, it wasn't obvious which was the highest. I
ended up climbing a lower point to the south, then traversed along the
, some fun scrambling actually, to make my way to
the highpoint. Tom and Karl appeared below me to the west as I was nearing the
top. I directed them towards for the easier ascent line,
though Karl came up a spicier route anyway. Guess he
didn't want to leave me all the fun. It was the best peak we'd visited so far,
though it was also the most work. With 640ft of prominence, it was also the
most prominent peak we visited on the day.
I gave the name Banana Crags to the interesting summit in
here, to commemorate the fun we were having with the misappropriated piece of
fruit. Another summit, Peak 9,460ft lay about a mile to
and I had hoped to convince my companions to continue on to it in a larger loop.
Unfortunately there's a 1,000-foot drop between the two in a canyon which
proved very dissuasive. They seemed happy to let me run off and do it on my
own but that didn't seem like so much fun to me, so we left it for some other
After returning to the jeep, we continued west across Papoose Flat, then
southeast on a rough road that climbs up and over a ridgeline before dropping
down to Badger Flat near Mazourka Peak. Before going over the ridge, we stopped
in area to climb Peak 9,481ft ,
a climb that took all of 18min. Though fairly easy, it was
of the day and had .
and were able to get cell service on this one, so
they frantically set about trying to log this and the earlier peaks on the
peakbagger app before the other could - peakbagging in the 21st century.
We drove back down to Papoose Flat and then east for a peak we'd missed on our
first pass through Papoose. This summit is unlike the
others, that looks from a distance to be rather hard. Karl decided to
while Tom and I headed off on foot up
no longer open to vehicles. Our approach from the south
followed up a shallow drainage along the road, then cross-country as we aimed
for rising to a saddle on the east side of the summit.
We were greeted by that had us thinking we might
not make it to the top of this one. A short distance ahead of Tom, I had a few
minutes to look around and found up through a weakness on
. It was a bit brushy at , but it proved
to be a very fine scramble indeed, one we both enjoyed. Tom got his
atop before we reversed the moves
back down the way we came. Later we would get a view of
of the peak and realized that side probably has a class 2-3 route to the summit.
This is an easy summit above Papoose Flat to the north,
from the road. Karl skipped this one as well. A few trees stand at the otherwise
. It was from here that we got a good view of the
north side of Peak 8,900ft.
My companions were about done at this point though it wasn't yet 4p. To entice
them, I offered Squaw BM with 500ft of prominence and the promise of a MacLeod
register. This worked like a charm, even perking up Karl who decided to join us
since it would be another short hike. We weren't able to drive as close as I
had expected with the spur road now . Still, it took
but 20min to to the base of the mountain, then climb the
steep and gravelly but thankfully short slope to . There was
some disappointment when I failed to deliver the MacLeod register, but we did
find a busy one left by Rocky Rockwell , 13yrs after MacLeod's
visit. It was 5p by the
time we returned to the jeep, calling it a day. We left five other summits in
the area untouched, not having enough time to tag them all. We had other places
to visit the next two days, so these five will have to wait for a future date.