Old Woman Mountains, Granite Peak #1
By: Jerry Keating
Ten Desert Peakers celebrated spring's arrival in shirt-sleeve attire Saturday on Old Woman Mtn. (5,326') only to dig out part of their winter gear Sunday to climb Granite Mtn. #1 (6,786') in fresh snow and stiff winds. This scheduled trip started on an unceremonious note Saturday at Amboy with the discovery that the cafe/gas station, no longer is open on weekends. Surviving this culinary disappointment and finding top-off fuel at nearby Chambiss, the group proceeded to the Florence Mine ruins to start the Old Woman climb. Nine persons were on the summit in a little more than two hours after gaining the east ridge about 400 yards from the peak. Coleader Walt Whisman suffered a facial ding during the ascent when a falling rock broke a metal part of his eyeglasses and drove it across his skin.
After an uneventful return to the cars, the group next motored, via Essex (another source of gasoline) and I-40, to a junction 1.8 miles N of Granite Pass on Kelbaker Road. Cloudiness had begun to build as the group drove about 3.6 miles to a 4300' campsite in the upper reaches of Cottonwood Wash. Plans for a congenial campfire were abandoned as light rain, occasional hail and ultimately snow fell, sending two participants home early.
Sunday's dawn revealed powder snow from the cars to the summit and a few wind-whipped clouds. Six parka-clad diehards did the peak, however, in quick order and returned to the roadhead before noon. The snow enhanced the beauty of this attractive part of the East Mojave National Scenic Area and more than made up for the poor weather during the night.
Participants were Bill Banks, Alice Cahill, Darl Dumont, Charlotte Ekback, Nancy Keating, Jon and Betsy Lutz, Bob Tomlinson, and the leaders.
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