By: Ron Jones
Six climbers met Ron and Campy Saturday morning at the intersection of the Saline Valley Road and Highway 190. We caravaned to the lower hot springs in Saline Valley where most of us enjoyed the sun and water until mid-afternoon. Pt 2:30 we continued east and north on the rough road toward Marble Bath and the Eureka Valley. In 3/4 of a mile we past the pools of the less crowded middle hot springs and after another 31/2 miles the fenced but unimproved upper hot springs. We drove beyond the upper hot springs about 8 miles and made our camp at about 3500 feet. The road was rough but suitable for high-clearance two wheel drive vehicles. Surrounding the campsite were scattered an unbe1~evable number of apache tears, small blobs of obsidian which had been ejected during a volcanic eruption sometime in the past.
We managed to keep warm that evening with a good campfire and a lot of frolicking. The weather turned cloudy and windy during the night and we got an early start in the morning in order to beat any possible rain. Our route followed the obvious eastern ridge and the Summit was reached in just over three hours. The rains held off and chilly but clear views of neighboring Dry Mountain to the east, the Eureka Valley and Dunes, the east face of the Inyos, the Whites and a glimpse of the Sierra could be seen. A fast decent was made by dropping into the wash south of our ascent ridge.
I think this isolated area, the views and the hot springs all combine to recommend Saline Peak for inclusion in the Desert Peaks list. It could be coupled with a climb of Dry Mountain from the west.
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