Mount Muah, Wonoga Peak

24-Oct-64

By: Frank Sanborn


FROM THE SIERRA ECHO (Vol. 8, No. 5), November-December 1964

MT. MUAH I11,016'), WONOGA PEAK (10,371'), OCTOBER 24-25 (1964) … Frank Sanborn

This next-to-last SPS trip of 1964 was blessed with beautiful, clear, sunny weather, just cool enough to be comfortable. On Saturday, 24 persons met in Lone Pine and caravanned to the Carroll Creek roadhead. Leader Frank Sanborn and assistant Ron Jones conducted the group about a mile up the Little Cottonwood Creek trail, which is the route of a road to be constructed into the Cottonwood Basin. The road is now under construction. Leaving the trail, the hikers followed the crest of the Wonoga Ridge for approximately another mile to Wonoga Peak. A 1½-hour lunch break was enjoyed on top while some of the tigers went on up the ridge toward Mt. Langley. They were attempting to reach Owens View, an 11,000+' promontory on the ridge, but didn't make it. After the 3300-foot gain in elevation, most of us luxuriated in the leisurely lunch. The view of the Owens Valley, the Inyos and the Sierra crest north and south was inspiring in the clear autumn air. Saturday P.M., we car-camped at Cottonwood Camp beside Cottonwood Creek; some ate steak dinners in Lone Pine. We were joined by Jerry and Nancy Keating and their two boys from Sacramento.

The leader's car horn awakened everyone at 5:00 A.M. (Sunday) as the Sierra was bathed in moonlight and soft, warm breezes blew down Cottonwood Canyon. Promptly at 6:00 A.M., 16 hardy climbers assaulted the great, trailless ridge which leads directly from camp 4800 feet in about six miles up to the Sierra crest to the south, between Diaz and Wormhole Canyons. By 9:30 A.M. we were on the Sierra crest escarpment and by 10:30 atop Mt. Muah, enjoying the view of the southern Sierra, the desert ranges to the east, and the nearby bulk of 14,000-foot Mt. Langley. Although strenuous, the 5800-foot climb was easier than anticipated. A leisurely one-hour lunch near the summit of Muah was followed by a swift descent to the escarpment. Then we exulted in what is surely the most exhilarating soft-sand "glissades" in the Sierra, losing 2000 feet in about ten minutes on the steep north slope! We were back at the cars by 2 p.m.

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