Split Mountain, Mount Prater, Mount Tinemaha
By: Jim Adler, Larry Hoak, Kathy Price
This trip began haunted with problems, real and imagined. First I called the Forest Service about road conditions. I was given the impression that high water might block road access. Almost everyone worried about snow conditions. As a result I drove up the previous weekend and scouted the road and hiked in to Red Lake. All stream crossings were trivial (for four wheel drive) and from what I could see there was no snow problem (though not much could be seen from Red Lake).
Meanwhile my original co-leader had to cancel for personal reasons. Fortunately Larry Hoak and Kathy Price who were signed up for the trip agreed to help out.
We started out with 14 people signed up and three more on the waiting list. After cancellations and promoting one from the waiting list, 10 of us met Friday morning at a road junction on the MacMurray Meadow Road just before the start of the four wheel drive portion of the road to the trail head. We consolidated into 4 wheel drives (with which we were well supplied) and drove to the trail head.
We started up the steep short trail to Red Lake. About half-way up, a participant who prefers not to be named developed severe leg cramps and had to turn back. Kathy (who already had Split and Prater) volunteered to escort him out and drive him back to his car (parked in Big Pine) so he would not have to camp at the trailhead for three days. This was the last "problem" encountered on the trip ! The rest of the party had a leisurely afternoon at camp on Red Lake. Some of us took swims (brief) in the lake (cold). We had a community ("garbage bag") salad with dinner.
On Saturday morning (6 am) we left to climb Split and Prater. Larry expertly and flawlessly guided us to the top of Split by about 10 am and to the top of Prater before noon. We were back in camp before 4 pm. Snow was not a problem. We had to detour around snow on the way up to the saddle (between Split and Prater) but on the way back it had softened up and we could, in some cases use it as our preferred route. All eight participants got both peaks.
On Sunday morning, everybody but Wim, Kathy (who had rejoined us), and I signed out and hiked back to the cars. The three of us then climbed Tinemaha (great view) before hiking out.
Many thanks are owed to Larry and Kathy for stepping in to lead when needed. The entire group was great and contributed to a very successful trip. Participants: Kathy Price, Keith Martin, Paula & Bruce Peterson, Larry Hoak, Eric Lesser, Bruce Rorty Wim Burmeister, the unnamed participant, and myself. -- Jim Adler
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