TABLE MOUNTAIN (11,696'), MT. BAGO (11,870'), MT. MUAH (11,016') July 18-22, 1996

Having my fun motoring south on U.S. 395 to another trip on the Eastern Sierra, I hoped to bag Mt. Gardiner (12,907'), a class 4 Mountaineers peak. Staying a night in Reno, NV, I first hiked to the top of Table Mountain from Tyee Lakes in the Bishop Creek drainage off Highway 168. This was an easy hike, to a wide plateau, and I topped a bump to snap some sights.

Back to Bishop, I motored south to meet the group at Onion Valley. We packed over Kearsarge Pass, and base camped then at Charlotte Lake. We had a small group of four. The next morning, we set out to do a novel route, on the south side of the east ridge of Gardiner. This involved a lot of sidehilling. Though we reached the summit area, the leader stated not to use a rope. I knew that there is fearsome exposure on the far side of the peak class 4 ridge, so after getting spooked on the short downclimb to the knife-edge ridge, decided to stop.

I had to protest this decision, as it was my understanding that when requested, a rope must be provided. This is Club and section safety policy. They went on to climb the peak, as I watched and took some photos from the start of the scramble. I was also to have to turn back from Deerhorn Mountain, which with this one, would have given me me two mountaineers peaks to qualify me for my Master Emblem. But, better to be alive and well, than falling from such peaks.

We headed back the same way, and shortly came back to camp. I muttered about my rope request, to be verbally assailed by both leader and participant. They then chose to pack out, and I stayed to pack out the next day.

Being a shame to not bag the nearby easy peak, Mt. Bago, I hiked up solo to bag it. It had some nice views with the morning light. Packing out, I motored down U.S.395 to enjoy a stop at Manzanar National Historic Site, Diaz Lake, and with more sights of the Eastern Sierra.

Motoring up to Cottonwood trailhead the next day, I'd do another easy peak, Mt. Muah. This involved an easy hike south along the Pacific Crest Trail, and then some short cross-country to bag the summit. I had plenty of time to enjoy the views, then hiked back to the trail and then back to the car. I liked the many snags along the trail, and this was the finish to another Eastern Sierra adventure.