By: Jerry Keating
From The Sierra Echo (Vol. 3, No. 3), July-August 1959
A seldom-visited canyon provided the access to the Sierra crest May 16-17 as the Sierra Peaks Section climbed Mt. Bradley (13,280').
Twenty Sierrans assembled at Independence Saturday morning and left their cars at the mouth of Pinyon Canyon. A primitive trail started up the north side of the canyon but soon vanished. The party camped at the last timber on Pinyon Creek and calculated the elevation at 10,200 feet.
Wood was plentiful, and the group enjoyed a warm campfire. The fire was visible in Independence, and several residents called the sheriff's office in the fear someone might be in trouble. Fortunately, the party had checked in with the sheriff before beginning the climb, and deputies assured the callers that everything was in order.
Cold winds buffeted the climbers Sunday morning as they cramponed up a steep snow chute and then walked up the gentle summit slopes. The winds chased the party from the summit, but not until the climbers enjoyed an intimate look at Mt. Williamson and other nearby peaks.
Leaders for the climb, in which everyone reached the summit, were Bud Bingham and Tom Amneus.
Note: This trip was important in the history of the SPS in that it marked the end or near end of what often were termed "Bingham roasts." While this was a trailless, seldom visited canyon with an apparently ample wood supply, the section recognized that large bonfires were not appropriate for a Sierra Club group. That the fire alarmed residents miles below simply added to that recognition. Fortunately, the sheriff's office knew the SPS party was camped high in the remote canyon. The leaders had notified the sheriff of the group's plans, as was a newly instituted practice for backpacking into remote areas early in the season. That practice was an outgrowth of the deaths in early May of Burl Parkinson and Francis Foley on Boundary Peak. Both being members of the SPS, they had left the Los Angeles Basin on a Friday. When they didn't return home by Monday night, a relative asked for help in finding the missing men. The pair had indicated they planned to climb Boundary and Montgomery, but it wasn't known for certain that that's where they actually were. A Sierra Club search party was organized by Frank Sanborn, and the missing pair's bodies were found in the early evening Wednesday by Bud Bingham and Jon Shinno.
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