MT. TOM (13, 652') August 5-6, 1978

A trip, led by one of the prime peak climbers in the local chapter, was met by only two other participants. It fell to me to drive, and I gladly took the climbers in my 38 mpg subcompact. They had few complaints about the ride, being otherwise that one of them would have to drive. One stated to disdain cars, and despite taking a ride at some 2-3 cents a mile, the chapter recommended rate of reimbursement, happily paid for such pollution, by him, later.

Our usual Friday night drive down U.S. 395 went cheaply and safely, and Saturday morning, we arrived to the Horton Lakes trailhead after some of my skillful rough road driving. I had been here earlier, and knew how the road was. Our start at about 8,000 feet elevation came with my doing plenty of photography, with a wildflower bloom of note.

A closed off roadbed leads to Lower Horton Lake, and instead of enjoying the high mountains with a rest, one climber took off for Basin Mountain. I stayed about the lakes, doing some photography. We had this area to ourselves. I was to return in winter, an easy ski, and with a snow camp, to again enjoy this remote area. Doing more photography wandering about the lower lake, I rested back at camp, next to an old hut of sorts.

The next morning, we hiked up the roadbed that leads to the high ridge, the road going to an old mine. We took the class 2 southwest ridge, and shortly reached the summit. I began to do my recording of the views, trying out a 200 mm telephoto lens. I could not afford a good Nikkor lens of that sort, running then about a thousand dollars, so the slides came with some color cast, or tint. I am unable to correct this fully with my software, but they do show some conditions.

The leader took us down a scree gully more to the east, and we shortly intersected another road bed to another set of mines. This same road thusly leads down back to our camp at the lake, a restful walk instead of the typical tedious downclimb. There was a plaque to honor some deceased individual.

We packed up our camp, and shortly left to go back to the cars. Another successful climb! One of the climbers didn't keep his head down enough, so upon the car slowly hitting a bump in the road, he collided with the car roof, slightly. Happily, there was no lawsuit.

Not stopping to snap pictures of the sights from the highway, then, I have no photos of the glorious sights along our beautiful route. I am too busy driving, even though the riders could snap pictures out the car window.

The trip leader was shortly to meet his demise in a work accident, and the well-deserved heir to the peak section was never to be that. He had done some 200 ascents by age 21, with a few, quite impressive, big, Canadian peaks. While I was an avid attendant of his ambitious and strenuous leads, no one, or few others, were. The typical participant of the peak climbs then weren't athletic people. Some disdain was shown for "being made to hike," so they never went with me, when it came to my leading peak trips.

It's funny the way it worked out. The chapter cut loose the climbers, as a Club article stated, and that was the end of the local peak climbing, as we did it. But I was to go on, bagging peak after peak, to my total count of 1,339 peak ascents, presently. Mt. Tom was to stand high among them, and while I went back to ski Elderberry Canyon, a route to the top from the northeast, I had no enthusiasm for what might be a redundant activity. I have my summit photos, so that would be that.