Glass Mountain Ridge, Mono Craters
By: Maris Valkass
In spite of the ify weather conditions eight determined climbers met at the site of Mono Mills on Hwy 120:
Although Friday night was overcast with slight drizzle/snow, Saturday started bright and sunny. We caravaned 22 miles East on 120 to one of several dirt roads leading to Sawmill Meadow. The road was much better than the typical desert road, and was well marked. After 9 miles on the dirt road, we parked the cars near the old mill ruins and headed for the peak. The East ridge route, which we took, is "obvious" and should present no problems in finding it. We started at 9 am and were on the peak before noon. Most of the hike was in snow, which made the walking easier because the cinder was covered. As we progressed, clouds started coming in with occasional whiteouts and higher winds. By the time we got to the top the gusts were up to 30 mph. The weather made the scenery very dramatic and more attractive. As we were descending the weather deteriorated and by the time we were in our cars and on the main road the mountain was socked in and it was raining.
Our campsite Saturday night was near Mono Mills (site) which was near our planned starting point for the 9100' Mono Craters. Since it was still too early to start cooking and there was some daylight left we decided to visit the Panum Crater. Two people at this point decided to go home, but the rest of us, in spite of the rain, went to admire the jumble and starkness of the rock formations of the volcanic plug and crater. We were treated by rarely seen views of Mono Lake as the result of the stormy weather.
Later we enjoyed the our potluck dinner in the camping area where everyone participated. That night we experienced strong wind, rain, and finally woke up in the morning under 3 in of snow. Because it was still snowing and the craters were covered by clouds, the trip was cancelled. However, the snow covered desert scenery was magnificent.
My thanks to Jon Lutz for assisting me on this trip.
PS. I called the Lee Vining Ranger Station for the weather report. The girl who answered gave me a good and accurate report. One of the first. My hat is off for her!
I recommend Tokiwa's Restaurant located 10-15 mi North of Mojave on Hwy 14. It is the old Sprague's place. They serve good Japanese food for a reasonable price. The owner previously had a restaurant in Bishop and Big Pine.
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