By: Ron Jones, Bill Oliver
Our originally planned peaks for this weekend were Kern Pk, which I hadn't climbed since about 1963 on a long long backpack from the roadhead of. the time at Troy Meadows, & Three Rocks. George Toby had led Kern Pk last gear about this time but after the great spring snows of '91, Bill found on a scouting trip that the road wasn't even open to the current Black Rock roadhead. I then planned on a back pack of Olancha Pk but later learned that there were lingering snows on the south & west slopes of that peak. As a final choice I selected Homers Nose which I had done 3 or 4 times before. Homers Nose is a prominent granite dome visible on a clear day from the Porterville and Exeter areas of the San Joaquin Valley. It is named for noteworthy proboscis of Homer Oliver, a pioneer Mtn man & possible forbearer of Bill Oliver's.
Only six of us met at the South Fork Camp Ground on the Kaweah River. We started up the Cahoon Trail to Hockett Meadows. In perhaps 1/2 mile, just before the normally dry Pigeon Creek channel, keep your eyes open for the junction with the abandoned Coffeepot Canyon Trail leading off at a 300 angle to the north. It is marked by a small rock cairn on the left side of the Cahoon Trail. This route to our peak is nicely described in Jim Jenkins' 1979 Vol 2 of Self-Propelled in the Southern Sierra. We backpacked 3-1/2 mi, 2000', up to Surprise Camp on Bennett Creek. Here we dropped our packs and spent the rest of the day at the mouth of nearby Palmer Cave (need a rope & prussiks or jumars to enter) and lounging around camp. Bill, Tom Sakowych, Eric Schumacher, Mario Gonzalez of Cuba and Mike Gruntman of even further away Moscow Russia, were an amiable group. If Mike ever asks to come on your trip, he is an able, strong mountaineer with lots of backpacking experience in Russia and some interesting stories about Russian society & economy. Mike is living at 11925-1/2 Burbank Blvd in North Hollywood (213-740-6339). He is teaching in the physics department at USC and has no outdoor friends.
The next day we hiked to the intersection with the Salt Creek Ridge trail and, because it stays low on the snow covered north side of the ridge, we went the usual cross-country route up the ridgeline. That was a difficult route with the many many snow fields mixed with having to go around a fair amount of rock. Homers Nose is a hard peak to climb with the snow we encountered, Finally at noon we arrived at the high point where we had a wonderful panorama of the southern Sierra. This was my 5th ascent in 28 years. While the others ate lunch I dropped down 500 ft to the east through heavy snow and reclimbed about 460 ft for my 1st visit to the summit of the granite dome (with great technical rock routes on the sheer south face) for which the peak is named. I dedicated this climb to my 80 year old mother, Evelyn, who was watching from below at her home in Exeter.
Our descent was uneventful and we arrived back at our cars about 6pm. Thanks to all in the group for their good company and special thanks to Bill for co-leading and a splendid assist. Later I learned that Bill mis-represented the origin of the peak's name and it was actually named for Joseph Homer and that is a fact not to be sneezed at! --- RON
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