By: Gene Olsen
This was a private trip. 2 peaks left to go. We spent the night below the mouth of Surprise Canyon on a very warm area amongst a herd of ORV's. Left early for Chris Wicht camp where we found George Novak and gave him the fruit and veggies that Betty McCosker had us get for him. He was overwhelmed with her thoughtfulness. Left for Panamint City at 0630 to try and avoid some of the heat. The road is completely destroyed for the first 600 vertical feet. Until you leave the narrow canyon area its hard to believe that a road ever existed through here. I doubt that a horse or burro could make it. Just above this point the road begins in a derivable condition. Someone had driven an old 4 wheel drive vehicle down from up higher within a few days. This gave us some food for thought but we later found that this was a captive vehicle that did not make it out before the last bad storm. There was plenty of water on the road. Both Brewery Spring and Limekiln Spring were running freely with good tasting water. The 4wd had come out from Sourdough Canyon and it appears as if someone may reside here. The road thru Panamint City is also washed out. The facility at Panamint is quite amazing. Everything is left pretty much as it must have been prior to the 84 flood. A 100 kw generator has been removed from the mill and is stored in the machine shop. People must have left in a hurry. We checked out some of the living areas and found childrens toys, dishes on tables and of all things a frig full of food left from the previous year. Checked the area over in detail and found no vehicles operable except the 4wd. The reported runway for light aircraft had been built and used at least once as evidenced by the bent propeller we found in what we now realized was a hanger and not a machine shop. The backpack in to Panamint City was fast. We were there by 1030. Next day we left for the peak about 0700 following the trail to Panamint Pass. From here we went up the ridge. The leader erred at this point and SHE stayed too low on the east side. Actually this made for a more interesting trip as we got into some low 3rd class. Made the peak by 1130. Weather was great and the views too. The last trip up was Ron Jones. We came down the ridge into Magazine Canyon. Back to our camp by 1500. Stayed overnight and got out early the next day. This makes a real nice easy backpack with all the water and camping area one could want.
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