Mount Prater, Mount Tinemaha
By: Igor Mamedalin, Maris Valkass
The trail up the eastern Sierra escarpment to Red Lake is, in my opinion, the worst! But in the quest to complete the list it still offers the most direct access to these two summits. So, early Saturday morning eleven peak baggers gathered outside Big Pine to begin the journey. Due to its popularity the trip was initially sold out; however, Patty Kline graciously obtained an independent permit to accommodate the overflow in the trip's roster. The approach to the Red Lake trail head requires high clearance vehicles hence we consolidated leaving the obvious low clearance sedans behind. After several miles we took a wrong turn onto a rougher road which forced additional consolidation into true 4WD vehicles (leaving the 4WD look-a-likes behind). Recovering from the slight navigational error the 3 fully packed vehicles arrived at the trailhead around 9.
Hoisting our backpacks we set off up the sandy trail by 9:30. The trail was hot, dusty, sandy and steep. The advance party reached Red Lake by 1 PM setting up camp and resting before the planned trudge up Tinemaha. Red Lake reflecting the steep ramparts of Split Mtn. is an attractive camping spot. Around 3 PM seven eager participants headed off from camp to climb Tinemaha. The route heads up a drainage due north from the lake to an obvious low point on the east-west ridge from which one follows the ridge east to the summit. After laboring over what seemed endless miles of talus, six made it to the summit while one turned back to avoid hiking in the dark. Everyone made it back safely to camp as dusk settled in. After sharing a few hor'se devours and eating dinner everyone retired early for a good nights sleep.
Sunday morning seven folks set off to climb Prater. Before reaching the saddle between Split Mtn. and Mt. Prater two participants turned back. At the saddle one participant decided that he coveted Split Mtn. more than Mt. Prater and signed out to pursuit his ambition independently. The four remaining participants sauntered up the gentle southern slopes of Mt. Prater to claim the summit. On the return we regrouped al the saddle with the successful Split summiter and quickly descended to camp at Red Lake. Upon reaching camp we discovered that those that stayed behind already broke camp and headed down the trail. After a quick lunch we followed suit. On the way down the trail proved to be equally miserable, steep, hot and dusty.
Everyone arrived at the trailhead by 5:00 PM to drive back out to Big Pine for a nice dinner. Manny thanks to Maris for assisting and everyone else for making this another enjoyable sojourn into the Sierra despite the wretched trail. In addition to the leaders, the following people patiently toiled up the trail to Red Lake and/or made valiant bids to climb the two summits: Anna Valkass, Suzanne Mamedalin, Bruce Turner, Terry Turner, Daryn Dodge, David Leth. Patty Kline, Dolores Holladay, and Mark Day.
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