By: Jerry Keating
EARLY BACKGROUND ON MT. MUAH (1957)
Muah was first officially scheduled by the SPS in 1957 and then officially scheduled again in 1958. In another file, there is a trip report for 1958, when the peak was climbed, but be advised that the 1957 trip was canceled because of unsuitable snow conditions. That cancellation no doubt came in light of what had happened two weeks earlier. Here's how the 1957 trip was announced in the Angeles Chapter Schedule:
NOV 16-17 (1957) SAT.-SUNS. SIERRA PEAKS
MT. MUAH (11,012')-7:00 a.m. Meet in center of Lone Pine Sat. caravan to end of Carroll Creek Road. Knapsack 8 miles to Horshoe Meadow in Cottonwood Basin. Sun. we climb Mt. Muah by way of a trailless route over Mulkey Meadows (10,000 ft), then return to cars. Total hike Sun.: 18 miles, 10 miles of which is without packs. Not recommended for beginners. Driving 425 miles. Leader: FRANK SANBORN. Asst.: JOHN ROBINSON.
By way of further background, on Nov. 2-3, 1957, there was a scheduled SPS backpack from Balch Park to Summit Lake. That trip, led by Frank Sanborn and Chuck Miller, is viewed historically as a near debacle. Thirty-one persons, including some children, were on the trip, and most party members were snowed in Saturday night at or near the trailhead.
Observed Frank in his trip report: "No one was hurt in this incident, for which we all are thankful. We did come perilously close to being snowed in in the back country, however, which highlights the fact that hiking into the Sierra in November is rather risky. It is my opinion that in the future, no knapsack trips should be scheduled into the Sierra later than October, regardless of favorable weather forecasts. We were all lucky this time."
Frank's interest in Muah reappeared in the fall of 1964, when he and 15 others climbed the peak as a scheduled day hike. With Wonoga Peak having been climbed on Saturday from along what users now called the Horseshoe Meadow Road, the Sunday day hike started some 5,800' below Muah. Ron Jones was the assistant leader on the trip.
The year 1964 was a banner one for the SPS. There were 25 scheduled trips that year, and leading the large trip category was Rick Jali's Smith-Crag beginners' outing in April. It attracted 124 participants.
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