Peak 9,460ft P300
Peak 9,140ft

Wed, Oct 21, 2020

With: Tom Becht

Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profiles: 1 2

Continued...

On the last day of a three-day trip to the White and Inyo Mtns, I had planned on a trio of summits that would allow us to finish up before noon for the long drive back home. We only managed two of these because the going was harder than expected, though not unwelcome. In fact, we both agreed the two summits had the best scrambling of the three days in a granite playground more characteristic of the higher elevations of the Inyos. Heavy smoke from the Creek Fire in the Sierra Nevada had returned overnight, leaving unhealthy conditions that we tried to ignore. Tom commented that his wife had given him a hard time for hiking at home with only a quarter of the smoke we had today - probably a good thing that both our wives weren't here today.

Peak 9,460ft

Camped just off Waucoba Rd, we got an early start by 6:30a for the long 45min drive into Squaw Flat to the south. The road is in decent shape and there is little brush to contend with, mostly it's just a long way in. We got started to Peak 9,460ft, following an old road into the Inyo Mtns Wilderness. The road leads into a wash between Peak 9,460ft and its northwest neighbor, Peak 9,380ft (aka Banana Crags) that we had climbed with Karl a year earlier. On that previous visit I had tried half-heartedly to get the others to continue on to Peak 9,460ft, but the deep canyon between them had been terribly dissuasive. Today's approach would take us right up this canyon between the two and it couldn't have been more cooperative. Deer and perhaps hunters have plied the wash enough that a trail of sorts made the effort rather pleasant. After about a mile, we passed through two rock outcrops in the wash acting as "gates" to the upper part of the canyon. Just past this we turned out of the wash to the south to begin the 1,000ft+ climb out of the canyon that would take up most of the next hour. There is brush, sand and rock encountered, nothing particularly tricky, but good fun. It was 8:40a by the time we topped out, the highpoint found at the south end of a class 3 summit ridge that stretched several hundred yards. The views were open, but obscured by the smoke. We noted from PB that Chris Kerth had visited the peak back in June, so we added his name to a register we left at the summit. We returned by the same route, more or less, taking variations intended and otherwise as we descended back to the wash. We were a little surprised to see that it was already 10a by the time we returned to the Jeep, and I was already mentally dropping the third summit from the day's agenda.

Peak 9,140ft

This second peak lies about 2mi NE of Peak 9,460ft, in the western shadow of Waucoba Mtn which rises almost 2,000ft higher. We repositioned the Jeep about at the end of a short spur road at the southern end of Squaw Valley, the peak is less than a mile to the southeast. We had first to cross the brushy bottom of Squaw Flat, which turned out to be easier than it looked. The scramble up through more granite boulders then begins in earnest, continuing for 1,000ft to the summit. From below it looks like the route could be fraught with small cliffs, but this seems to be an illusion and the peak can probably be climbed via almost any route. We noted a set of fresh-looking footprints as we were exiting Squaw Flat, most likely from Chris Kerth who had climbed this one as well back in June. We would run across these prints at various places on the way up and back, evidence that he'd used much the same route. We spent almost an hour in reaching the summit, about 45min for the return. We agreed that this peak had been almost as good as the first. It was getting close to noon by the time we got back to my Jeep and close to 1p by the time we got back to Tom's Jeep and had showered. Because I didn't have a permit to get through Yosemite, I ended up driving back over Sonora Pass to return to the Bay Area. Another fun trip in the bag...

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