By: Patty Kline and Janet Graff
This was a great outing for all 15 of us co-led with WTC as an SPS Intro trip. We met at 8:00 am on Friday at the Devil's Bathtub Trail about 0.7 of a mile past the Vermillion Valley Campground. To get to Vermillion Valley Campground take Hwy 168 and go over Kaiser Pass to the Mono Hot Springs/Lake Edison Road. The campground is at the West end of the lake. The campground host graciously let our group camp over night, and said not to worry about the fee since we had gotten in so late and were leaving early. He said next time just camp at the trailhead complete with a large parking area, running water and an outhouse to accommodate backpackers.
There was a lot of confusion as to the correct trail. A sign "Devil's Bathtub Trail" pointed to the left, with no evidence of a trail and a heavily used trail went to the right towards Goodale Pass. After a mile, we realized our mistake and went back to the roadhead, and found a faint use trial directly behind the parking lot heading towards downed logs with yellow metal markers. Thus was a blocked off 4X4 road that was in use in the past. We continued on this road, becoming narrow at times, for 2.4 miles where it ended at a broad stream. It was easily forded or crossed on logs. A misleading trail went up the left bank of this stream leading nowhere. Once the stream was crossed we were on a trail for 2.0 more miles to the South end of the Devil's Bathtub Lake, our campsite. The gain was 1,200'. After looking over the possibilities for camping here, we crossed the outlet on 2 large logs and found a level campsite large enough to accommodate 50 people plus a nice fire ring. We were the first group of the season. I'm sure it is heavily used later in the season.
Happy hour started at 4pm with a contest for the best appetizers. First prize, a pair of sunglass savers was awarded Tim Kalliomaa for his guacamole dip made from fresh avocados. Second prize, a bandana, went to Hal Browder for homemade cheese loaf spread. Third prize, a Nalgene stash bottle, went to Spencer Berman for fresh salsa and black bean dip. With all the appetizers, margaritas, etc. dinner became a late evening snack.
Departure at 8am the next morning took us 3/4 of a mile around the West side of the lake over boulders and use trail. It was a little faster than the East side. Beyond the meadow at the North end of the lake we ascended granite slabs to the Northwest to a hanging valley. To the North was the correct saddle, hard to spot from the hanging valley. We were coaxed to the visible saddle to the Northwest. After getting into the correct saddle in slushy snow at 11, 520' and UTM 225475 on the 71/2 minute Sharktooth Peak Quadrangle, most of us gave up. The peak was still a distance away. Eric Lesser, Tim Killiomaa, Steve Erskin and David Leth got the peak. They dropped below the ridge to a small lake to the West and contoured up to Silver Peak.
The next day we backpacked out and had a late breakfast at the nice restaurant at the West end of Edison Lake. Everyone had a lot of fun and all those who didn't get the peak want to return with Janet Graff and me next summer to bag Silver. The participants were Eric Lesser, Tim Kalliomaa, Ilya Friedman, Steve Mutjtaba, Hal Browder, Suzanne Tanaka, Maria Roa, Spence Berman, Karl Schoettler, Carole Firstman, Kerry Allen and David Leth.
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