Waucoba Mountain, Glass Mountain Ridge
By: Roy Ward
Fifteen hardy DPSers met at the roadside rest just on the north side of Big Pine, Ca. Stuffing ourselves into 4 cars we took off for Waucoba. We started up the road to Westguard Pass. At the first intersection we turned right on the Waucoba Canyon Road that goes to Death Valley, Eureka Valley and Saline Valley. We followed this black top road about 13.5 mi to almost the ridge to a sign R. I.P. Saline Valley, there we turned right onto a dirt road. We followed the dirt road about 12.7 miles to the second clear area of Whipporwill Flat. A small dirt road turns off west for about .5 mile(before you start dropping down). Thirteen of us took off but one was suffering from carsickness and turned back, leaving 12 of us to follow the ridges to the peak. After a leisurely lunch and admiring the great view of the Sierras, we started down on a different ridge than we came up. Contrary to popular belief, I was not lost, just trying out a new route. We were back at the cars at 1600, back to US 395 and off for Glass Mtn. Some stopped in Bishop for a restaurant meal instead of the usual car camp fare. Leave Bishop on US 6, about 314 miles to Benton, turn left on Ca 120, go thru Benton Hot Springs, drive 6.8 miles from US 6 thru a small pass. At the bottom of the pass a couple of roads turn off then the road heads straight (NNW). 6.8 miles from this pass the road curves left to a NW direction for .6 miles. At the bottom of a large dip a dirt road turns left. Take this for .7 mi. then turn right (sign beyond reads Black Canyon and Old Sase Place), 6.7 mi turn left, 1.7 mi sign R.I.P. Sawmill Mdw. 2-1/2, 1.5 sing R.I.P. Sawmill Mdw. 1/2 turn right, .4 go right to the roads end or go left .6 mi to Sawmill Campground.
We arrived at the campground just before dark, where the early arrivals had a fire going. Liquid refreshments were brought out and passed around. There were all types and kinds, white, red, home made and even one bottle of 74¢ Special. We were joined that night by 3 others who wanted to climb Glass Mtn.
Next morning after a 0600 call and a proposed 0700 shove off time, the fearless leader (Roy) elected to stay behind and watch the cars, tents etc., thus Joe became designated leader for the day. Bernie Petitjean graciously accepted the responsibility of assistant leadership. Because he had slightly overindulged the previous evening, the designated leader had a mild buzz Sunday morning. And as if to prove otherwise he took off like a bat out of hell. Unfortunately this proved to be a fatal error, as the pace, terrain was too much for the group's only single chick of the designated leader's approximate age. Well anyway, she turned back, and we walked westward from the dirt road leading from the campground up a dry wash, then ascended the ridge on the right side of the wash. From there we evaluated possible routes to the peak and decided to climb the ridge which rims east-west and leads to the southern summit. Primary justification for this was the minimization of snow crossing. We climbed upward (south) onto the side of the ridge high enough to miss a lot of the snow, then contoured west to the summit. The summit was blustery but the views of the Sierra (Minaret, Banner, Ritter, Lyell) were impressive. It took 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the summit. Our descent was leisurely paced. We dropped into the saddle between the north and south summits, then down east across acreage of obsidian where everyone loaded up on the glassy rock which inspired the peak's name. The amount of rock carried down by the group was staggering, which is what we did going thru same soft snow. We proceeded east eventually retracing our path down thru the dry wash. The climb had taken about 4 hours and we were ready to head home.
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