Old Dad Mountain, Granite Mountains #1
By: George Tucker
We staggered into the road junction meeting point at 7 am, hoping to get both peaks in one day. The Stirratts noted that the road to Devil's Playground does not follow the powerline to Kelbaker Road as I had thought. Julie King confirmed that Old Dad would be her LIST FINISH, thus vindicating the decision to do it first. We proceeded to the Guide roadhead, then shoehorned into the 4WDs for what turned out to be only about 100 feet of passable track. It was 9 am before the Dirty Dozen disembarked and ambled upstream.
The Guide said to go up the gully, then right to the ridge. The only route we found was to go straight up the gully to a saddle near the top, then swarm up the slope. All were too tipsy to ponder alternate return routes. Carolyn hobbled both up and down despite a knee injury from Maturango (private trip), Julie's penultimate peak.
At the cars after noon, we opted not to hike down Granite after dark. Instead we took the 4WDs searching the lava flows for some petroglyphs and a lava cave I know are out there somewhere. Does anyone out there know how to find them? Finally we visited Kelso and crashed at Kelso Dunes. Barbara Reber informed us there that the Dunes are not the customary campsite. On the other hand camping is not prohibited, so we stayed. The party and campfire befitted a List Finish, and we all learned C. West's middle name. It was noted that a list finish trip led by two non-finishers is an exceedingly rare event.
The Stirratts had mentioned that Kelso Dunes was one of only 3 or 4 in the world that made an audible low-pitched vibration when trod upon. Many of us, of course, were compelled to bag the high point and make the dunes groan Sunday morning. Yes indeed, stomping on the lee side where no one else had been did elicit a loud vibration. We noted that we might not hear much if the area became a park swarming with tourists, paved roads, interpretive signs, trails, lodges, gift shops, hot spring dress codes, permits, etc. Member support for said park may be less than the liberal spenders at the helm are willing to admit. We shed various vehicles at various points on the road to Granite, driving the 4WDs to a saddle beyond the standard Big Rock stop. Ten of us started about l0am, and all returned in about 4 hours. We went up a ridge and down mostly toward the wash. Patches of snow remained unmarred by absent ice axes. Anything to the right of the Guide route (as seen from the cars) will work and all are lovely. Fine granite blocks abound for those on private trips with more interest in climbing than in political power.
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