LEAVITT PEAK (11,570'), DISASTER PEAK (10,046') August 11-12, 1979
Securing the company of one of the local peak club youths, we agreed to explore this area about Sonora Pass. I took my 38 mpg and we motored down U.S. 395 for a Friday night weekend car camp. Being still a student, he didn't have a lot to spend. That was O.K. by me, since having a partner, however inexperienced, saves me any expensive guide fees. Or, at least, the worry from climbing solo.
Our first summit was Leavitt Peak. We took a route from Sonora Pass, to change it to a use trail up Blue Canyon. At that time, there was no Pacific Crest Trail there. Also at that time, this area was proposed for wilderness designation, so my photos could help there. Many club people see nothing in wild scenery, only figuring in dollars and cents to be somehow gained by them. I had some artistic background, and see talent in photography. This hiker did later get a Nikon camera, so had some sense when it comes to preservation. But, later in life, he was to be employed by a resource extraction company.
Having nice sights hiking up, we soon came to the slope on the north side of this mountain. The register went back to the 1970's, with several Club members signed in. Because there is no cairn, I suppose registers do get blown off the top. I had one up here for awhile, but they all seem to disappear. I recorded the views, and then we headed down to make a loop of our hike.
There are nice glacial lakes below the peak, and then we came to a good stand of wildflowers. I took plenty of photos, and even though some rain might be imminent, we completed the climb without getting soaked.
Camping nearby, we had a good start for the next peak. Disaster Peak suggests some terrible incident, but it was a good day for us. This is not a high peak, or particularly challenging, but it is on the peak lists. Cows grazed on its slopes, and I took photos of our trail route. The trail goes over a high shoulder of the mountain, but the pass has no name. We clambered over rocks to the top, and I shuttered the views, again.
The weather on both peaks was cloudy, so the light was diffuse. I like challenging conditions, so shot away with my Nikon. The student was smart enough to handle my camera to take a couple of pictures of myself. A real difference from most of the hikers in this chapter. No one has ever dropped my camera, but some sure came close with their moronics. I also place the camera strap around their necks, so that provides a safety measure.
We hiked back down the same trail, with looming weather and more cows. Back to the Clark Fork road, we motored home speedily enough, and this student saw how I do things in peak climbing.
Some may surmise then that I ran a Sierra shuttle, with me driving so many club hikers and then guiding them up so many peaks. I have my fun bagging the peaks, and while it is almost a free ride for the climbers, I do not do that to make any money. I had received similar good deals from earlier, well-off, climbers in the chapter, so in the spirit of explore, enjoy, and protect, pass the generosity on. Now, no one seeks to climb anything, being that the chapter removed its support, and the risk of injury is just too worrisome. The cost of peak climbing, with gas and gear, seems to be prohibitive for most, or all. While I now offer no-cost trips, it's not worth it, by most all, for the gear and exertion. So, I drive where I wish to go, and if the local hikers prefer staying in town, so much for that.
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