Crag Peak, Jackass Peak, Smith Mountain
By: Ann Kramer
This hike in the Southern Sierras was Erik Siering's provisional lead. Dan Richter assisted. The other participants were me, Willie Richter, Asher Waxman, Patty Kline, Bruce Peterson, Paula Peterson, Randy Ragland, Steve Nardi and Vi Grasso. The trip was originally scheduled for May, but Postponed due to heavy snow.
On Memorial Day weekend, when Erik scouted the Crag route, we saw traces of snow. On the scouting expedition, I impersonated the rest of a typical hiking group. I was instructed to whine, complain, and request breaks every fifteen minutes. On top of the exposed summit of Crag, the wind was gale force, so we could not even stand. We hiked through hail and rain on the way back to the truck.
On June 19, 1993, we started from the Smith Meadows trailhead at 6:30 a.m. with clear skies and much better weather. We signed in on Smith by 7:30 a.m., where we found a cheery register greeting from Bill T. Russell and Pat Russell, who had signed in the previous weekend.
As we descended, the rear of the group entertained the rest of us by making dinosaur noises. (Jurassic Park opened last weekend.) Willie and Steve were particularly talented. Dan also demonstrated ape noises --· Willie's ability is definitely inherited! Further on, I slipped and fell hard on a bush, gathering an extremely impressive bruise in a place that I can't show to just anyone. Erik feels sorry for the bush.
We followed the signed Albanita Meadows Trail past Agua Bonita Springs until its turnoff to Hooker Meadow, then continued on use trail and cross-country via Corral Meadow to the saddle below Finger Rock. We saw extremely lush meadows with beautiful wildflowers, tinkling brooks and lots of very hungry mosquitoes. Albanita Meadows was a little squooshy in spots, while Corral Meadow was dry.
We approached Crag from the south, climbing over the named point on the topo map, thereby avoiding most of the heavy brush near the ridge. At the southeast base of Crag, a prominent crack leads up to the top, avoiding the 'knife edge' on the north ridge. Erik led Dan, Asher and Vi up to the small summit block, while the others waited below. Erik then stationed Dan and Asher at strategic points along the crack to assist the rest of us while he presided at the top of his mountain and Vi took a nap on the rocks below. There was another greeting from Bill T. Russell and Pat Russell. Everybody made it to the summit, photos were taken, then we ate lunch in the warm sunshine. On the ridge descent, Randy fell into a manzanita bush.
Throughout, Erik maintained a brisk pace that only Bruce was consistently able to match. Patty decided that she is only going to sign up for Erik's trips if he is bringing me. Bruce's strength was particularly remarkable because he and Paula had driven up that morning and got very little sleep the night before.
At the turnoff for Jackass Peak near the Smith Meadows trailhead, Randy and the Petersons opted to forego Jackass Peak in favor of an early return to L.A. Erik led the remaining hardy souls up the western side, then south for the scramble to the top. Here, in light of the peak's name, the group brayed in unison, and Patty dedicated the peak to an appropriate acquaintance. There was another greeting from Bill T. Russell and Pat Russell. Our view was breathtaking, again. Throughout the day, we saw, in turn, each of our other two objectives from the top of the third. We returned to our trucks for the post-hike happy hour. [Round-trip statistics for the day - approximately 16 miles, 3500']
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