Sandy Point, Last Chance Mountain
By: Dale van Dalsem
Distance from L.A. is about equal via Death Valley or Big Pine; we chose the latter & met in Big Pine after carbo/cholesterol loading at the two breakfast places there, then caravaned to the high point in the pass over Last Chance Range, 1.5 hrs from Big Pine. This is in the middle of Sec 36 on the Last Chance Range 15' topo, which doesn't show the road. Caution: If weather is dubious, phone Inyo Cty Road Dept, 619-873-8481 x2202 to see if road is open. Sandy Point was a long, boring stroll down a lumpy ridge whose sole merit seems to be that it "goes well with Last Chance". 6-12" snow, one slow person, 71/2 hrs round trip, 2500', 10+ miles total. I had advised running shoes before the snowstorm; most had their lightweights & cold, wet feet. 16 people.
we then drove to the tin shed just below Last Chance Spring, well mapped on Auto Club "Death Valley" map. All cars made it; no problem.
Will Colston had brought a bundle of wood, Ben Sher a gigantic bag of chips, & Steve Zoschke a flute, so we had a party, although the weather was sub-freezing. four or five slept in the hut, some on beds!!!
Any of several ridges go up to Last Chance; use care coming down to avoid the wrong drainage. We took two lefts in the canyon, then went right up the ridge at the inevitable dry waterfall. This ridge went well with a minimum of ups & downs, but with some interesting 'high cl 2' rock. We turned right at the top, over the bump & NW up the gentle summit, to be greeted by the most glorious views many of us had seen in ages. The Sierras were etched by a dazzling mantle of white. We started down the next ridge north of the one we came up on, contoured around 7380, then dropped down into the canyon between the two ridges. Went fine until the big, double-dip dry waterfall, which we skirted on the left with no problem. All back to the cars by 12:30,. 51/2 hrs, 6 miles, 3000', 15 people, a worthy peak, unlike Sandy. Scheduled co-leader Maris Valkass was out with a broken ankle; Randy Bernard & Bob Michael subbed on successive days. We observed a moment of silence for John Leonard, who died on Baboquivari the previous Saturday.
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