Ten Thousand Foot Ridge, Lake Peak, Grinnell Mountain
19 July 1997
By: Luella Fickle
Leaders: Luella Fickle, Diane Dunbar
Problem: The down alternate route described under route 1 and route 3 for 10, 000 Foot Ridge are difficult because of steep scree and dirt. If one stays in the chute all the way to the bottom, there is a bit of class 3 at a waterfall about half way down. I took a group down route 2 in 1983 to steep slopes to the west to go around the class 3 and stay within my I rating. In 1989, Erich and I attempted to find the nice ridge that descends directly toward the cars. (Two people told me about this.) We followed this a ways and lost it around 9300 and got into very steep dirt and trees below 8787 before hitting the Fish Creek trail at the upper meadow just above the junction to the trail camp. So in 1994 Erich decided to try again, this time from the bottom Erich located the ridge on the map. It takes off from the trail at the end of the first turn just past the first stream crossing of Fish Creek, about 8080 level on map, 1/4 mile past the first stream crossing.
Erich and I followed this ridge to top of 10,000 ridge in about 2 hours from the trail. On July 19, 1997 Diane and I took a group up this route. It is steep in places and there is a little manazita near bottom but it's easy to follow and does not get beyond high class 1 in any place. After topping the first rise one can see an avalanche chute on the side of 10,000 foot ridge. Use this as a landmark.
Going uphill the correct ridge goes just to the right of this chute up the side of 10,000 foot ridge. It took the six of us about 2 3/4 hours from the cars.
The day was clear and hot. We spent about 15 minutes on 10,000 Foot Ridge reading the register that Erich placed in 1994 and enjoying a view from Joshua Tree to San Jacinto. About halfway to Lake Peak we heard voices then saw four people. It was the no shows at the trailhead. Stephen, Jane, Jean, and Joel had not allowed enough time for the road into Fish Creek and had been so late that we left, thinking that they were not coming. They didn't know about the ridge and took route 1 over Lake to 10,000 Ft Ridge looking for us. They started about a half hour behind us and were about an hour behind us the second time we saw them at the Lake/Grinnell saddle after we had climbed Grinnell. This gives a perfect time test to using route one going and coming on 10,000' using this new route as an uphill variation. I do not recommend this new route for downhill unless one has gone up it first. It is too easy at 9300 to miss the easy ridge going downhill.
We then climbed Lake and found a register. Dry Lake was dry. The views were from San Gorgonio to Gold Mountain and Sugarloaf Pk. We descended to the Lake/Grinnell Saddle where we left Erich because he had forgotten to drink his Gatorade and was cramping. The five of us were on the top in about a half an hour. We found that the old register for the 1980's had been located and placed back on the summit block. It was funny to see the gap from around 1991-1995 when it was put back. Going down Grinnell the front of the group saw two deer.
Back at the Lake/Grinnell saddle we found Erich talking to Jane, Jean, Joel and Stephen. Erich was okay after hydrating with Gatorade. We descended the trail passing lots of wildflowers: purple sage, pennyroyal, lupine, penstamin, lemon lily, corn lily, columbine. We were back to the cars around four-thirty.
Thanks to Erich for finding the ridge, to Diane for the assist, and to Mars, John, and John who helped me check out the feasibility to using this new route.
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