Pleasant Point, Waucoba Mountain
By: Scot Jamison, Larry Tidball
This trip was originally scheduled as Waucoba/Nelson for this weekend. The ranger in Bishop claimed to have seen lots of snow on Waucoba on the Tuesday before his hike, so I canceled Waucoba and changed the meeting place to the Lone Pine Visitor's Center at 7am Saturday. Eight people showed up, so the plan was to do Pleasant and Nelson Saturday, camp at Saline Hot Springs, and possibly get over to Porter on Sunday. We headed up the Cerro Gordo road from Keeler, and Keith Martin's Cherokee decided it wasn't into the climb. It stopped about 1/2 mile from the mine, and its battery went from passive to obnoxious. We waited nearly 45 minutes for it to stop hissing and boiling before we finally disconnected and abandoned it to go climb Pleasant, which truly was aptly named. The caretaker in Cerro Gordo was very cordial, showed us his museum while we signed his waiver, and told us where to park. We took the road to the saddle, then followed the ridge to Pleasant. The snow-covered Sierra was right there! Olancha was so huge-looking that it finally justified itself to me as an Emblem Peak for the SPS. We could also see Mt Humphreys and beyond. The snow level on November 2 was about 9,000'
We got back to Keith's car, and it had not healed itself, so we left it and phoned a tow-truck from Keeler. "Nada" was the answer I got when I asked a pretty Keeler resident what she did there--and she had been doing that for over six years!
It was past 2pm, so we bailed on Nelson, and Larry took the group to Saline Hot Springs. Paula Peterson and I dropped Keith off in Lone Pine after helping arrange for his tow truck, and he caught a bus for LA.
We arrived at the springs around 6pm, making a big hit with all the various naked groups gathered around each pool. We were using Paula's "Big Max" spotlight in an attempt to find our group, Funny how those 4WD vehicles all look the same at night! A group waving their arms and yelling for us to kill the light turned out to be ours, so we alighted. Perfect timing, as happy hour was just being served when we pulled up. The hot springs were great, and we joined a few folks from SC International Community Section in their post-Halloween antics. Randy Bernard, the editor of the DPS Guide was there, and suggested climbing Waucoba even though we did sight snow from Pleasant. It was unanimous, since there wasn't any snow at the hot springs.
We left the springs at 7am Sunday, and parked in the Pinyon Pines near the ridge to Waucoba. We started hiking at 9am, and never did find the gentle ridge to the peak, so we took the steep one, and lunched on top at 11:30. We walked through a few drifts the last 1500 feet, but it was still powder, and the day was warm, and there were no problems. Barbara Hoffman discovered a rare type of fungus near the summit, and was going to cart the curly red stuff down to the Visitor's Center until it was stretched a bit and declared a balloon. We left the top at 12 and found the cars at around 1:45. It was an enjoyable climb, but I am interested in seeing Ann Fulton's (BRE) route that took her to within 20 minutes of the summit by 4WD!
Other trip participants were Cyril Weaver, Doug Hatfield and Jack Wickel.
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