Glass Mountain Ridge
By: Mary McMannes
While climbing Baldy for Duane McRuer's memorial hike, Doug Mantle reminded Gene Mark and me that we gotta get those remaining desert peaks (for Gino) while the getting is good--so we scheduled Oct. 25 to bag Glass (and Tucki would come, later). When Doug says, "Climb!" we answer in chorus, "How high?" (and "Give me a second to throw my knapsack in the car!") Away we went, and we were especially happy to escape the orange fire-skies of the S.F. Valley and our coughing and hacking, results of the Malibu and Santa Clarita fires.
We all met at Nicety's Restaurant, Lee Vining, fairly early in the morning, and Bob Sumner drove down from Hot Horn (now Cold Horn) to meet us. I reminisced about how nice the Nicelys had been to me back in the old days. One time when emerging from the back country, we found no motels available anyplace ... we were hungry and trail-weary and told Mrs. N. about our dilemma. She gave us keys to one of her apartments in the back, and there we spent the night. I'll never forget that sweet Midwestern lady who was so kind to strangers. She passed away ten years ago - but her recipes and spirit live on as one smacks his lips over chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy.
After the breakfast banter, away we went to the Glass Mtn. roadhead. We turned 5 miles south of Lee Vining and went east on Hwy 120 for 32 miles. Then we turned south on Sawmill Rd (FS 1501) - drove 11 more miles on various roads to the standard north side trailhead for Glass (class 1 to the top.) There were patches of snow on Glass which made us do a few fancy maneuvers here n' there - but hey, we were following in the footsteps (and expensive boots) of Doug Mantle who had done the Hillary Step. This was a piece of cake. Hawthorne Bob (our beloved Sage editor) left us in the dust, but be has all those peaks in his backyard that he can climb daily. We reconnoitered on top and congratulated Gene for his new peak, and for the rest of us, Glass was a saunter we'd done four or five or six times before. Since this is a climb that takes an hour or so ... people love it for a List Finisher peak. There's another summit beyond us with a little weather shack on top--but that's not the summit of Glass (phew!). Snacks, photos, and conversation were shared, and away we went back down to the cars. Bob found a variation on the route, so we could avoid the snow-covered rocks.
Gene, Bob, and Doug bagged Tucki a few weeks later (while Mary "bagged" the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in San Diego), and now Gene is sitting pretty for his DPS List Finisher in April. Thanks Doug and Bob for your time, efforts, and friendship in paving the way for Gene's long-desired milestone (he'll be a 3-way List Finisher as he finishes the HPS List, same day.) On our way home, all the Sierra peaks were ghostly outlines as the smoke had wafted up through the Sierras on its way to Reno and beyond. I had a few samples of black shiny obsidian in my pocket which is the reason it's called Glass Mtn.
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