Brown Peak, Smith Mountain
By: Scott Jamison, Barbee Tidball
A fairly small contingent of DPSers met at 7:30 at the Crowbar Cafe in Shoshone Saturday morning. The maitre'd, cook, table wiper and dishwasher all recommended the hash browns. He had been living in Pahrump 6 years, and was proud of his frozen spuds. A couple of us fell for them. They were good enough to skip the next morning.Fred Smith left his Escort (with 214,000 miles on it) at the cafe and rode with Julie Rush and me. Larrry and Barbee Tidball took their 4-Runner. and Richard Whitcomb and Judy Hummerick drove in Richard's'89 Toyota 4X. Between us, our Toyotas had a total of 606,000 miles!We drove into Death Valley for a fairly uneventful climb of Smith. It's a little weird be on the summit of a peak a dozen or so feet lower than the false summit you just hiked over, but the view of Badwater is better than the higher bump, and Larry said it was named Smith because it was visible from the Valley floor and the other bump wasn't. Either way, we had great views spanning from Telescope to Charleston. and Mummy looked like one! The sun was out and it was a perfect winter day. This was the 6th DPS peak for both Richard and Judy, so they became members on Smith Mtn.Back at Shoshone, Fred left for LA to take a sailing class at Newport on Sunday, so the rest of us soaked in Tecopa a while before heading to the Mud Cliffs for happy hour and dinner. We just finished filling up on Barbee's BBQ chicken and Julie's 7 bean burritos when Brian Smith showed up with Sue Shepherd. They had taken a whirlwind tour of Death Valley all day Saturday, and got to us in time to finish the rest of the food. Brian always has had good timing !Sunday we left Brian's car at the cafe, and he and Sue rode with us for the drive to Brown. The weather was cold, cloudy and very windy. A perfect day for Sue's first DPS hike.This was my second trip to this fine peak. Barbee led the way up the canyons past the large face with 3 eagle nests, past the waterfalls and beyond a water hole. Many types of dried scat were around. many with little bones of those animals who didn't look up fast enough. An aerie overlooking this tank was coated solid white - proof that lots of prey came for drinks in this rocky red wash.The route zigzagged up the canyon to a rib that headed SE to the final summit block. The cold wind, rough terrain and the fact that the cars were now out of sight with the naked eye almost denied Sue the peak, but she foolishly fell for the "around the nest bend" stuff from Brian ad me, and she climbed her first DPS Peak on Sunday. The rain was coming, and we had to down climb out of the wind to eat lunch. The trip back to the cars went quickly, as we were racing the predicted storms. We went north on the Deadman's Pass Road 7.1 miles and tied into Hwy 127 right by Eagle Mtn. This road is a bit sandy in spots, but it is much smoother and lots quicker than either driving route described in the DPS Peak Guide. We soaked at Tecopa once more on the way out. And didn't experience any real wet roads until we almost hit Baker, when Julie and I went in and brought a gallon of gas back to the Tidballs who were resting about 4 miles out oftown. Larry was saving his stove fuel for later.Much thanks to Barbee for the fine food and the great lead on Sunday. We had a good time and much better weather than those catching the snow on the way back from Vegas and those in LA suffering through the horrible wind.
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