Hayford Peak, Mount Sterlin
By: Dale Van Dalsem
On 3-22, Bill Gray & I did Rosa Point, & found the HPS guide better than the DPS guide: Cross Palo Verde Canyon at 3200' & get on the ridge running S from Rosa, in the 3600' saddle. On 3-26, I met John McCully & Wendy Ruess in Bishop to attempt the Milner Creek Mine Roadhead, then ridge to Barcroft Pk to get White Mtn Pk.
Bad news; big storm coming. So, off to do Sandy that afternoon. We got to the high point on the road & found some mine roads we didn't remember from our lead of 6 years earlier. After going S. for over an hour, I realized we were on a parallel ridge a couple of miles west of the ridge S to Sandy. OOPS! On to the Last Chance Hut, which was our home for the next two nights. The storm rolled in & we got up early Weds & postholed up Last Chance, in a snowstorm that did clear for us to come down. Snows were up to 1.5' deep & it was slow going, but our tracks were easy to follow down. Thursday we did the REAL Sandy in 6 hours & split up; John & Wendy went to try Stirling & I went to do Tucki. Tucki (The turn north from the Skidoo Road is .8 mi E of the Skidoo sign, not .5) took 9 hours as I had bad stomach trouble & stopped for a half hour twice with dry heaves. Boring, some snow, as had Sandy.
Sat A.M. we met at the T-junction in the Desert Wildlife Refuge at 5:15, then caravaned to the roadhead for HAYFORD. Eight intrepid soles braved the snows: Dale, Bob Wyka, John McC & Wendy, Dick Agnos, Bob Sumner, Cyril Weaver, & Bill Stevens. The snow drifts were wall-to-wall after about the first hour, and snow was well over 1.5' deep by the time we reached the cabin. After a false turn or two, we got on the ridge that goes directly to the summit. Snows on this ridge were 2-3'+ deep, as it took a strong group 8 hours up and 5 hours down Hayford. Wyka & McCully did more than their share of postholing, but all helped, and all made the peak in a total team effort. The leader was too pooped to attempt Stirling Sunday, so all drove home. John & Wendy had floundered up some bump Saturday, & didn't know if it was Stirling or not, but they were wallowing in snowshoes.
The March miracle dumped 15+ feet of snow at Mammoth, and a lot on all desert peaks above 7000'. I gave up on the double-double!
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