Boundary Peak, Montgomery Peak, Glass Mountain Ridge
By: Igor Mamedalin
This was initially advertised as a leisurely paced three day climb of Boundary Pk. (13,140') and Mt. Montgomery (13,441') with lots of time to explore historical sites in the desert. But, Suzanne did not have Glass Mtn. (11,140') and it is in the area, so why not throw it in also? So done.
Nine desert explorers and climbers met at the Country Kitchen in Big Pine as planned at 8:00 AM on Saturday. After a good breakfast served by a cheerful waitress, we headed over Westgard Pass into Nevada to explore old mining towns. First we attempted to find a dirt road, marked as a good gravel road on some AAA maps, leading from Oasis to Silverpeak. After failing to spot it amid the dozens of farm roads we inquired about it and were informed by the locals that the road to Silverpeak is a formidable jeep road with rocks in the road the size of one of our vehicles, a Fiat Spider. Well, another day, perhaps with the Backroad Explorers. (The AAA needs to re-survey this area because we found several other discrepancies between their map, the terrain, the roads, the official Nevada tour map, and the Rand McNutty map).
From Oasis, we headed east to Gold Point finding a good short cut that was not on the map. Gold Point is an abandoned mining town that is privately owned with a few people still residing there and trying to preserve it without turning it into a state sponsored tourist trap. From Gold Point we headed round about through Goldfield toward Silverpeak, forsaking another more direct dirt road option. At Goldfield we had lunch at Mozart's Bar and Grill - - they were out of symphonies but had plenty of country western corn on the jukebox.
The long sought Silverpeak was finally reached that afternoon: it was not worth a quarter of the effort. Silverpeak rivals Trona as a mining town of historic value; it's the place to go to see two-trailer gravel haulers racing around a large dry lake. Disappointed we headed west from Silverpeak to our roadend. We were saying that the dirt road to Trail Canyon was not supposed to be a 4WD road as the Fiat Spider ricocheted against the rocks and overheated as it steadfastly made progress uphill. Forced to stop 3 miles short of the road's end by a little hill that could not be negotiated by "low" clearance vehicles, we made camp among the cow patties at the side of the road. After dinner around the campfire in the middle of the road, a heated discussion raged long into the night about women's rights, discrimination, management practices, corporate responsibility, alcoholism and the environmental impact of the quantum field effect resulting from colliding leptons.
Sunday morning everybody was ferried in high clearance vehicles to the roadend; just past our camp we discovered our tenth participant, Ray Wolfe, who had driven his Mercedes sports coupe in during the night (so much for the debate about what constitutes a 4WD road). From the road end we followed a use trail to the saddle north of Boundary Pk. From the saddle we trudged up the ridge occasionally encountering remnants of a use trail. Everyone summited on Boundary Pk. including 71 year old Gordon Lindberg. From Boundary nine people headed for Montgomery, a DPS emblem peak. The weather was clear and the vistas of the Sierra and the highlands around Mono Lake were beautiful. After returning to Boundary and reuniting with Gordon, we headed down a different ridge which. From the low point on this ridge we dropped, dirt skied, into Trail Canyon. Everyone reached the cars as the sun's rays dropped behind Boundary. Not wanting to move camp, however dismal, we remained for a second night among the cow patties at the side of the road.
After a leisurely breakfast Monday morning, we coaxed the cars back down the Trail Canyon dirt road. The assessed damage was a dented oil pan on Rod McDevitt's Fiat and a large hole in the muffler on Forrest Hopsen's Ford Escort. After hitting the highway we looped around to the north over Montgomery Pass and regrouped at the Benton gas station/cafe. From here we caravaned to the road end for climbing Glass Mm -- accurately described in the "Road and Peak Guide". Negotiating the last 1/4 mile of the road, Ron Zappen's VW van dug itself into the soft pumice/ash and required help from all of us. From the road end it took less than an hour and twenty minutes to summit Glass Mtn. where we had the pleasure to witness more spectacular views of the Sierra and Crowley Lake. On the way down specimens of the abundant obsidian were picked up study and/or decoration. After getting down to the cars everyone took off for an early start home.
The weather, the mountains, and the company were excellent -- a promising start of a new desert season! The other participants were: Fred Bright, Tanya Mamedalin, and Dave Welbourn.
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