Rockhouse Peak, Taylor Dome
By: Ron Jones, Bill Oliver
Fifteen of us met Saturday morning at the north end of Big Meadow. We caravaned to the south east corner of Big Meadow at the alternate Manter Meadow trailhead located there and where we established our camp for the weekend. After signing in and completing the waiver and release forms it was nearly 8 AM before 14 of us set out leaving Leora to guard the hors d'ouvres and campsite.
Enroute to Manter Meadow we first encountered bear tracks on the trail and then the bear itself downslope from us along the stream. Startled, he quickly disappeared in the brush and trees.
We left the trail due south of Rockhouse at about 7,300', made our way around the east side of the peak and climbed the easy class 3 moves leading to the summit from the northeast. The views from the top were quite nice and we could see emerald green meadows around us in many directions, Jenkins Peak, Owens Peak, Lamont Peak, Spanish Needle, Olancha and beyond. We descended on the class 2 route on the west side of the north 'ridge' to a half mile east of Manter Meadow. This was my 3rd or 4th ascent since 1969.
Upon our return to the cars we began feasting on the Mexican food which was part of our optional potluck. Some very good bean guacamole dips, tamale pie, tamales and other goodies appeared followed by the entrees. Our campfire was pleasant and most were in bed by 9 PM.
The next morning Bob Wright and Ann Gasparich checked out to climb Sirretta Peak, John Gibba went home to Three Rivers to help his neighbor build a swimming pool, and Sam Brandt, Howard and Barbara Eyerly left for home. This left 8 of us to start for Taylor Dome. We were about 2 hours reaching the class 3 north 'face' which Bill led in fine style [look, no hands, mom!]. This was my 6th time on this peak. Views were not as good Sunday as the day prior. We descended the class 2 west 'ridge' and were at our cars about noon.
Nine of us met later at Benji's Basque Restaurant in Bakersfield on the west side of Union Ave just south of California Street (an off ramp from the 99 freeway). The restaurant is convenient, very clean and reasonably priced and I think its traditional Basque meals are as good as any in Bakersfield.
Thanks to Jim Kilberg, Sylvia Sur, Ed Kenney, Dave Murray, Mario Gonzalez and Martha Flores in addition to the previously named folks for making this trip a success and special thanks to Bill Oliver for his trail skills, steadying influence and droll wit.
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