Funeral Peak, Smith Mountain, Eagle Mountain #2
By: Linda McDermott
On the way over from Arizona to meet Tom Sumner, Neal Scott and Linda McDermott for Smith Mountain on Saturday, I came a day early and soloed Funeral Peak on Friday. There's a fine description of this peak by Bob Michael in the September 1996 SAGE, Page 13. There were good Death Valley views including the snow-covered Panamint range. After doing Linda's 92nd (and Dog Maggie's 1st) DPS peak on Saturday, we drove back out to the junction of Gold Valley and Greenwater roads where Linda and Neal left their 2wheel drive trucks. Neal and I were going to do Eagle Mountain from the south end on Sunday. .Linda had a grueling weekend the week before on Porter, Sentinel and Maturango and didn't need another peak. on Sunday so she and buddy Maggie headed back for Van Nuys. Tom Sumner needed to go back the next morning, but stayed over to camp with Neal and I. We took the cutoff over Dead Man Pass by Brown Mountain. It clouded up, but the sun came through like a spotlight on Eagle Mountain. We had a view of the entire west side of the mountain. Those broad light formations running horizontally through the dark limestone were spectacular. We had a much- needed fire in camp and after giving Tom Spanish and English lessons, I went to bed. It was already 7:30 pm, way past my bedtime.
There was ice on all the windows for the third straight morning. Tom went home and we left Neal's truck below the DPS Eagle Mountain route and drove mine to the south end.
You just get started up the southwest ridge and you are into class 3 on stable rock. It was good climbing on a steep (narrow in places) exposed ridge up to the main south ridge. The trip on the main south ridge was interesting route finding and climbing. The summit block is an awesome sight, coming at it from the south. There's a good bit of exposure on this ridge and the climb to the summit. The sun was out and warmed up nicely, and we really enjoyed our day. After some lunch on the summit, we descended by the DPS route. We were down early so we sat in the sun drinking a brew and shooting the breeze for an hour and a half. A couple of Ole boys from the same generation just enjoying life. In spite of the freezing mornings, it was a great trip with fine company. Jeanette Vincent and I went back December 16 and did the same thing from the north end to the summit. It's longer but we got to the summit earlier than expected. We've got it wired now from end to end. There was cold north wind when we started, but it stopped when we were on the main ridge and we had a fine day.
Linda's version of Smith Mountain : Ted Brasket, Tom Sumner and Neal Scott all agreed to help me up Smith Mountain on Saturday, November 15. We met about 1/2 mile in the dirt road leading to Smith on a cold morning. This was the kind of morning I just wanted a cup of coffee, then to follow someone's footsteps. We piled in to Ted and Tom's 4WD vehicles for the hour-long trip into the roadhead. The road followed the guide accurately, with no wilderness boundary markers on the road we took.
We parked near the wash leading to the right, and found the peak easily, hiking to the top in about 1-3/4 hours. Because it was cool, we didn't stay on top long, though I was sure to stay long enough to get some of Neal's chocolate-covered almonds! The panorama from Smith is great, and the view to Porter and Sentinel showed snow on the peaks - a good thing we climbed them the weekend before.
The trip down was uneventful, and we got back to the cars quickly. My thanks to Tom, Ted and Neal for getting me up yet another peak. Of note: This was peak #92 for both me and list finisher Ted Brasket.
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