Corkscrew Peak, Eagle Mountain #2
By: Bill Bradley
The weather forecast for L.A. had the third in a succession of Pacific storms coming in over the weekend but we headed north to Death Valley optimistically hoping for the best. After Jon Fredland's vintage Buick decided it was not going over Towne Pass, we hitched a ride with the assistant leader to Stove Pipe Wells. There a total of 27 enthusiastic emigrants from L. A. weather started out in a caravan of 11 cars to the starting point for Corkscrew.
To reach the summit, which was shrouded in clouds, we went up the main wash and then branched off to the left up a gully going directly to a saddle on the ridge. From there it was an easy ridge traverse to the summit. We enjoyed lunch and clearing skies before descending by a different route. Dropping down the southeast side we followed a gully down to the main eastwest drainage canyon. Several waterfalls were encountered which necessitated detours. The main canyon was a delightful walk with scenery which added a great deal of enjoyment to the climb.
Saturday night the campfire and refreshments were evident early in the evening. We had made camp just east of Death Valley Junction and a group of us went to see Marta Beckett at the Amargosa Opera House. Upon returning to camp we found that the wind was blowing hard enough to render the campfire ineffective and so most of us were in the sack early.
Sunday morning we woke to an almost cloudless sky and warm temperatures. Three of Saturday's group decided to stay with the cars and the rest of us started up the gully to the ridge. One turned back part way up and another left us at the ridge. We were split into two groups to minimize rockfall problems but both groups merged when major obstacles were encountered which necessitated detours. Although we had brought ropes no one felt the need for their reassurance over the class 3 portion of the summit block.
After enjoying the view from the top, the 22 climbers made an uneventful descent via the same route. Back at the cars by 1:30 PM, it was party time all over again with many of the group sitting on the desert floor passing around snacks and liquid refreshments. By 3:00 however we reluctantly left our companions of the weekend and started on our homeward journey. Upon reaching Cajon Pass we were back into the rain with only fond memories of warmth, sunshine, and good companionship.
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