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Spring 2016
Volume 22, Issue 2

INYO RANGE BACKPACK

May 14-15, 2016
Report & Photos by Joel Brewster

The Inyo Range is a rugged mountain range in California just east of Lone Pine and the hwy 395 corridor. It is quite an impressive range topping out at over 11,000', with numerous peaks over 10,000'. On May 14-15, Jodie and I climbed to the crest of the range in hopes of summitting Keynot Peak, the second-highest peak in the range at 11,101', and New York Butte (10,668').

I actually planned to do this same trip last June, but the weather was too hot. This year I scheduled it several weeks earlier, and the weather was nearly perfect. Friday night, we drove from Las Vegas to the trailhead. The last 1.5 miles of the drive were to be on the faint French Spring Road. To add to the road confusion, there were several roads leading in the same basic direction. We were hoping to get close to canyon entrance at 4400' or so. The first road we took stopped at about 3900', so we backtracked to the main road to try again. Our second road was much better, finally ending abruptly at a 20-foot deep gully at 4400'. We camped there for the night. The night was warmish, but very pleasant. Strangely, there was no wind except for a 15 minute period in the night, in which the wind blew like crazy, then suddenly stopped again!

The next morning our objective was to start early, and backpack the 5 miles (and 5200' elevation gain) to Forgotten Pass. Information was a bit vague, but there was supposed to be a decent trail most of the way. As it turned out, the trail was excellent and easy to follow the whole way. We made steady progress and enjoyed the shade in the early morning hours. Our packs were heavy (mine was 50 lbs), with all the water we would need for the weekend. I carried 13 liters, plus another 0.75 liters of wine!

Looking back at the Jeep (Note the gaping chasm just past where we parked!)

Who would have guessed a sign-in register in the middle of nowhere?

Jodie toting her water jug up the steep trail

Silhouette of Jodie against the majestic Sierras

Progressing up the warm canyon

Slogging up the trail with the Keynot ridgeline above us

Just before Forgotten Pass

Forgotten Pass at last

Despite the heavy packs we worked our way up along a ridge, then back into the French Spring drainage at about 6600'. The trail avoids several huge dryfalls in the lower canyon. From 6600' to about 8000', the trail follows the drainage up, passing numerous fire rings and campsites. Keynot Peak was in view at this point many thousand feet above us. The trail then begins a long series of switchbacks and we finally reached the pass at 1:30 pm. After setting up camp and relaxing a bit, we headed out for Keynot Peak. I knew the peak was to be challenging as there were cliff bands along the ridge that needed to be avoided. The summit was less than 1.5 miles and 1600' from our camp, so I figured maybe 2.5 hours to the summit...Wrong!

We had more difficulties than expected. First of all we followed the ridge too far, and were forced to descend several hundred feet on steep, nasty terrain. Then came a seemingly interminable traverse on loose talus. It was two steps forward, one step back, and we were already tired from our backpack in. We considered turning back, because going for the summit would probably force us to descend the unfriendly terrain in the dark. But, we had headlamps (and much determination), so we kept going. Eventually, we were able regain the ridge, and after a couple of false summits, finally made it about 6:45. After signing the register, a quick snack and summit photos, we headed back.

En route to Keynot Peak (Note the jagged ridgeline; I think the summit is on the far left.)

Sidehilling on loose talus - lots of fun!

We finally arrive at the summit of Keynot at 6:45 pm.

Jodie enjoying a summit snack of Fruit by the Foot

We stayed low on the descent, but still had the unpleasant traverse to deal with, some of it in the dark. Fortunately, the moonlight was bright, and we arrived back at camp at 9 pm. I fell asleep almost immediately and slept like a baby. In the morning we discussed bailing on NY Butte, but being "hardcore" peakbaggers, we decided to go for it, since we didin't want to come back up there again!

We were slow from the previous day's adventures, but progressed steadily, following a good use trail over several "bonus peaks" toward the base of NY Butte. The final ascent up NY Butte was long and arduous, made more difficult by the disappearance of a good use trail. Near the summit, we did finally pick up the trail coming up from the Long John Canyon route.

The top was flattish, punctuated to numerous rocky outcrops. It was a bit difficult to determine which one was the true summit as there were a handful of these outcrops of similar elevation. Finally at 11 am, we reached the narrow, airy summit. I called home to report progress, and we spent about a half an hour up there enjoying the views and the beautiful morning. There were still a few small snow patches near the summit, but Jodie declined my challenge of a snowball fight!

Jodie climbs a "false summit" near NY Butte for the view

Joel on NY Butte with Keynot in the distance

Jodie on the narrow summit block of NY Butte

Ready for a snowball fight?

We were excited to have reached our goal, but knew that we had a LONG way to go to get home. The descent was slow, but straightforward. We followed the use trail as best we could, resummitting only one of the three "bonus" peaks en route. When we finally arrived back at camp at just past 3, we were beat. We packed up, rested a bit, and hydrated (with water and wine).

A friendly collared lizard at camp

Horned Lizard

Descending as dusk approaches

Beautiful cactus blooms

Back at the Jeep as night falls

I was ready to roll a few minutes before Jodie, so I got a little head start figuring that Jodie would catch up quickly, but I made excellent time down the switchbacks, and Jodie didn't catch up until I took a break, almost halfway to the car. We hiked the rest of the way together, but it seemed farther than it did on the ascent! We finally reached the vehicle at 8:15, just as it was getting dark. From there, it was supposed to be an easy 1.5 mile drive back to the main road, but...

On the way out, somehow I drove off the faint road and began driving through the desert, which in my defense, looked about the same. Soon the "road" we were on ended at some boulders and we realized the problem. By this time, it was totally dark, so navigating by sight was tough. After several false starts, we finally rediscovered the road, and were on way home.

It was just after 1 am by the time we arrived back at Jodie's, tired but content.

Total stats for the trip were about 25 miles, 10,500' of gain, not to mention the heavy packs for half of it, and the difficult terrain on Keynot. Here is the stat that is most telling: total hiking time was about 27 hours, almost exactly half of the 55 hours I was gone from my house! So of the the other 28 hours, 10 of it was driving, and about 15 was sleeping...leaving only 3 hours of "extra" time! As Jodie pointed out, this itinerary probably would have better for 3 days/ 2 nights, but we did it without the extra day!


RENO PEAKBAGGING & BBQ

September 2015
Report & Photos by Eric Kassan

Every Labor Day weekend, Reno hosts the Best of the West Rib Cookoff where many of the best BBQ restaurants in the west compete, both for judges, and guests. Fortunately for mountaineers, Reno is also one of the best areas for mountaineering with easy access to the northern Sierra as well as numerous Nevada desert ranges east of the Sierra. In 2015, the second annual LVMC trip there enjoyed some great mountains every day, and BBQ every night, except the last night when we were well on our way home.

The trip started out the Wednesday before Labor Day, leaving Las Vegas that evening driving much of the way, camping just north of Hawthorne. This allowed us to briefly enjoy a nice sunrise over Walker Lake before continuing to our first outing- the Petersen Mountains north of town. That proved to be a nice relatively easy hike, but one with great views. Afterwards we headed to our usual campground near Washoe Lake to set up out a site for the weekend. From there, we were off to the BBQ for dinner. The nature of the BBQ event is that the visiting restaurants set up booths where one can purchase a wide selection of BBQ foods (and some non-BBQ foods). Usually we would get a small rib-sampler plate from a variety of places and then share them amongst us allowing us to sample as many places as possible. That said, some had compelling larger dishes, most notably a pulled pork sandwich that also had bacon mac and cheese on it, and wrapped in a pretzel bun. Mmmm mmmm! Sorry I didn't get a photo of that- maybe this year!

The next day saw us take a new route up Tule Peak. The road was rather torturous and pushed my driving skills and tolerance to the limit, but we made it to the end of the road, making the hike easier (less gain, and much less steep than the traditional route). It also had great views, not just from the summit, but during the hike as well.

On the third day, I had an ambitious plan to get several peaks with 2,000' of prominence, but the first one (Keddie Peak) had the road closed lower than I had expected, and then we ran into some horrible bushwhacking that ate up most of the day. One of the remaining peaks (Kettle Benchmark) could almost be driven up the summit, so we figured we would get that on our way back to the BBQ for dinner. Some of our group hiked up 140 vertical feet, while others drove to within about 40' of the summit. Either way, in a matter of minutes we were enjoying great views from the summit, before hunger for the BBQ made us leave.

 

The fourth day was the most ambitious, where half the group did three peaks - Freel Peak, Jobs Sister, and Jobs Peak, while half turned around at or near the first summit. There was a clear trail up all three, but to return to our car without going back over the first two peaks required some relatively easy cross-country travel. All peaks had good views, but for us the views diminished after the first as smoke from some distance forest fires began to obscure the views.

On the last day, with a long drive ahead of us, we chose to do Fairview Peak (another drive-up) that was more or less on the way home. With more time, some of the group elected to get over 500' of gain on this one, following the vehicle up the road.

As fun as the 2015 trip was, with the prospect of many great nearby mountains and some of the best BBQ in the country, every year's trip is sure to be a blast. For those considering joining the trip this year, please be aware that many join for a subset of the trip. Also, flying to and from Reno can greatly reduce the time commitment.


BACKCOUNTRY COOKING
by Heather Witt

Backpacking Beef Stroganoff

(Adapted from "More Backcountry Cooking" by Dorcas Miller)
Makes approximately 2 servings for very hungry backpackers)

Dehydrated ground beef crumbles (from approximately 1/2 lb ground beef)
2 tsp dehydrated onions
1/2 tablespoon paprika
2-3 tablespoons dried mushrooms
1 package Lipton onion mushroom soup mix
1/4 cup instant potatoes
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sour cream powder (can be ordered from Amazon or Packit Gourmet)
3/4 teaspoons dried parsley
8 oz egg noodles (cooked and then dehydrated)

At home: combine meat, onion, paprika, mushrooms, soup mix, and potatoes in a zip top freezer bag. In a separate bag, combine the sour cream powder and parsley. Place dehydrated egg noodles in a zip top freezer bag.

On the trail:
Add boiling water to the bag with the meat, just to cover. Set aside to rehydrate for 10-15 minutes. Add boiling water to noodle bag and set aside to rehydrate.

When meat is close to being rehydrated, place contents in pot and heat, adding more water if necessary- I suggest using water from the noodle bag. When the meat is completely rehydrated add the contents of the sour cream bag and mix. Add the rehydrated noodles, stir and serve!


 

LVMC MONTHLY BIO FEATURE
Kevin Humes


Where were you born?
Whitter, CA

How long have you lived in Las Vegas?
22 Years

What is your occupation?
Quality Assurance @ a health & wellness company - Life Extension

How long have you been an LVMC member?
Since January 9, 2011

What is your favorite hike/climb?
Mount Shasta

What is the most challenging hike/climb you have done?
Mount Shasta

How did you get into hiking/climbing?
A friend took me to Bridge Mountain in Red Rock & I was hooked!

What are your hobbies other than hiking/climbing?
I love traveling to new & unique places, listening to music and attending concerts.


LAS VEGAS MOUNTAINEERS CLUB
BOARD OF DIRECTORS


President: Matt Riley
Vice President/Training Director: Richard Baugh
Secretary:
Treasurer: Jim Morehouse
Newsletter Editor: Joel Brewster
Outings Director:
Membership Director: Eric Kassan
Website Director: Amy Brewster
Public Relations/Marketing Director: Minas Mkhitarian
Club Gear Director: Dan Young
Social Director: Lynda Gallia
Community Outreach Director:
Amanda Wagner
Directors-At-Large: Sue Beauchamp , Jose Witt

The Ascender is the quarterly online newsletter of the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club. All content is property of LVMC and may be used only by the original submitters. All others must obtain written consent from the Board of Directors.
All Club members are invited to submit trip reports, photos, trip listings, recipes, classified ads and other related information. August 20th is the deadline for the next issue.

SUBMIT ARTICLES TO:
Joel Brewster
E-mail: web@lvmc.org

Hikers

CLUB MEMBERSHIP

RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP ONLINE

Please send any address, phone number and e-mail changes to Eric Kassan, membership director. LVMC currently has approximately 130 paid members or families.


If you wish to send a check instead of using PayPal online, please make your check payable to the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club and mail to: P.O. Box 36026, Las Vegas, NV 89133-6026.
Single membership is $30 per year, $85 for three years. Family annual membership is $40, $110 for three years.

To the following members, please note that your membership will expire in the next three months, unless you have recently renewed it:


Judy Kelly
Joseph Krznaric
Phillip Luchetta
Dan Young, Lynda Gallia & Margaret Gallia
Lyn Blackshaw
A leksandr Erdoglyan
Valerie McNay
Minas Mkhitarian
Jenna Roxbury & Cody Moyer
Virginia Ziel
Dan Baxter

CLUB GEAR

This club gear is available at no charge to members (a refundable deposit of the gear's approximate value may be required):


4-season tent
Helmets
Bear Barrels
Alpine Axes*
Snowshoes
Strap-on Crampons*
Hiking Boots
Climbing Shoes
Carabiners
Quickdraw

Quantity
1
8
3
5
8
7
2
2
18
1


Grigris
Harnesses
Slings
Cordalette
Belay Devices

Belay Plate
Ice Tool
Ice Screws

Deadman Anchors
Quantity
4
5
15
1
4
1
3
8
4

*Will require a signed waiver.

Non-members are not eligible to borrow club gear. Deposits taken on gear must be in the form of cash or check and will be returned upon return of equipment. Gear is also available to members for courses with no deposit required. If you have any questions or would like to inquire about club gear, please contact Dan Young.

Classified Ads
Members: Free
Non-members: $5

Business Ads
1/8 page (business card): $5
1/4 page: $10
1/2 page: $15
Full page: $20
All rates are per issue and will be discontinued automatically unless renewed. Ads must be prepaid and sent by e-mail or submitted on CD. Please make checks payable to Las Vegas Mountaineers Club.

Gear

CLICK HERE FOR LVMC EVENT CALENDAR

GENERAL MEETINGS

The Las Vegas Mountaineers meet on the 4th WEDNESDAY of the month at 7 pm at REI in Summerlin.

 

JUNE

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Desert Peaks Section Peaks
Jim Morehouse

 

JULY

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Health Issues of High Altitude Climbing
Ed Forkos

AUGUST

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Climbing in Italy
Richard Baugh


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