North Maggie Mountain

Celebrating 50 years of the SPS

October 1 - 2, 2005

By: Jennie Thomas

After an active summer climbing in the Sierra my first SPS trip lead rolled around sooner than expected.  This trip was filled with SPS all-stars including two list finishers (Greg and Mirna Roach), the chair (Patty Rambert), two up and coming leaders (Jeff Dhungana and Ed Cottone) as well as several WTC students attempting their first SPS peak.  With such an excellent group of people and a rather mellow trip ahead, the goal for the weekend was to have fun and spend some time reflecting on what the 50th anniversary of the SPS means to us while also climbing a beautiful and historic peak. Upon reviewing the trip reports by Andy Smatko in 1961 and John Robinson in 1962 the historical significance of N. Maggie was apparent to me.  Now, it was time to take action and climb this historic peak!
The trip included leaders Jennie Thomas and Greg Roach along with participants Mirna Roach, Patty Rambert, Kirt Smoot, Ed Cottone, Ghislaine Stuart, Sandra Nakamura, Dave Haack, Daryn Dodge, Nikol Ketterer, and Jeff Dhungana.  We met late on Saturday morning and left from the Hidden Falls Campground around noon.  After a short hike, we approached Long Meadow and arrived at an established campsite by early afternoon.  This was a nice time of year to do this peak because the weather was cooler and the mosquitoes were gone. 
We set up camp and sat to share stories about our SPS experiences.  This trip was an opportunity to bring together some extremely experienced SPS members with a new generation of leaders and participants.  For me, the SPS has meant mentorship, training, and sharing my mountaineering experience with some amazing people.  We reflected on the past and future of the SPS.  Looking forward we all agreed that there is a bright future with so many young leaders and participants involved in the section.
After a wonderful campfire, lots of wine, and even some chocolate fondue we headed to bed in order to prepare for our attempt on N. Maggie the following day.  Sunday morning we woke up and again gathered around a campfire for breakfast.  We set out for the peak at the late hour of 8:00 am!  But, we had filled up on some nice strawberry crepes, so we had plenty of energy to move quickly. 
We diverged from the trail at an old metal sign, which cannot be missed.  We crossed back over the Middle Fork of the Tule River towards N. Maggie (peak 10,234’ on the map).  We stayed just north of the ridge when approaching the peak and then cut over to the saddle between 10,113’ and N. Maggie.  This route proved to be relatively brush free and is recommended for future parties in the area.  Other approaches can be quite brushy and problematic.  From the saddle, the summit is easily gained by going straight towards the summit, while also avoiding the brush.  After gathering at the saddle for a rest, we all reached the summit together.  Upon aving at the summit we spent a lot of time reading the summit register and thinking about all of the people who climbed this peak before us. 
After leaving the summit, we returned to camp and then to the cars.  We headed down the road towards Porterville in the daylight.  We gathered at Hodel's Restaurant (5917 Knudsen Drive Bakersfield, CA) for some excellent food. 
Looking back on this trip, it was a great success on many fronts.  We all made the peak, but more importantly we created an opportunity for new and experienced SPS members to interact and share experiences.  I’m excited to get out there and lead many more SPS trips.  Here’s to another great 50 years!

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