By: Fran Smith
This was the fourth year for Fran's Frolic climb of Rabbit Peak, and each year this dawn-to-dusk activity has been enjoyed by an increasing number of participants. The 1972 outing started Friday night as numerous cars picked their way to the roadhead via a map furnished by the leader or by previous knowledge of the Salton Sea "dump" area. Finding the roadhead at night was a project in itself, and pre-dawn arrivals were discernible by headlights dancing over the rough road. By 5:59 twenty-six starters had signed in; and with dawn at our backs, we started up the broad alluvial fan trail towards the objective.
Each year a different route up has been used and since there has seldom been altitude loss, complaints have not been heard. Although planning to use a ridge trail this year, the leader overshot the turn off from the fan, thereby missing this trail. Fortunately, following a route having shade for an extra hour made the end result much better. One couple turned back two hours after starting, and one hiker reached an outcrop at the southeast point of Rabbit's ridge where he waited for the returning group. So, twenty-three reached the summit to sign the register, eat lunch, and enjoy a rest and the views.
A dozen tigers were assigned to Jon Inskeep (thank you, Jon) and returned to the roadhead by dusk, The other eleven later arrivals at the summit left fifteen to twenty-five minutes later in two smaller groups with the leader as sweeper. At dusk, as the tail-enders were just starting down the alluvial fan trail, red tail lights of departing cars gave added incentive to keep going.
Usually a volunteer assistant leader has been picked from among the slower climbers at the first rest stop, but future frolics will follow Club practice of naming an assistant ahead of time. Wayne Vasey has consented to assist with the 1973 scheduled frolic on December 1st. Wayne was on this years climb and has been on 3 of 4 Fran's Frolics. Incidentally, Don Gabiner also made it 3 out of 4 with this climb. It is sort of comforting to know that others are either dum-dums or eager tigers (take your pick) like myself. Due to the long delay in writing this trip report, my ascending helper's name has been forgotten. Twenty- two people he was not; but which of the remaining four is the question. Whoever you are, let me know after you read this (if you do) and credit will be given in the 1973 trip report.
The 1972 frolic had the largest number of interested people, starting group, and successful climbers of the four frolics. The challenge of Rabbit's dawn-to-dusk ascent each December seems assured for a few more years. Experienced participants in out group included Jon (and sons), Don, and Wayne previously mentioned. Also Bill Russell, Claude Walker, Diana Dee, Gene Mauk, Doris Golden, and a climber that always adds prestige to an outing - Sam Fink. Everyone reached the roadhead by one hour after dark and were soon enroute towards L.A. About a dozen tired people stopped at Bannings "come-as-you-are" Inn to wine and dine.
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