By: Patty Kline
This trip was a three day 4th of July trip. To get to the roadhead take Hwy 168 from Fresno past Shaver and Huntington Lakes over Kaiser Pass and eventually turn left on the Mono Hot Springs/ Lake Thomas Edison Road to Lake Thomas Edison. Take this road beyond the W end of the lake and turn right into a short road to the trailhead.
Saturday morning July 3 a group predominately made up of WTC students and others wanting to find out more about the SPS assembled at 9:00 am at the Devil's Bathtub trailhead. This trailhead is located 0.7 mile past the Vermillion Valley Campground, and it also is the trailhead for Goodale Pass. Joe Wankum. and myself led the trip in conjunction with V*ITC. At the time of the trip Joe was the curTent Chair of V*ITC, and coincidentally I am the current Chair of the SPS.
Be sure to take the left-hand rail marked "Devil's Bathtub trail." (The permit calls it the "Devil's Graveyard"-trailhead.) The right-hand trail goes to Goodale Pass. The trailhead is somewhat confusing, but a lot clearer than in the past due to much needed trail work. About I mile, there was a stream easily forded or crossed on logs. If one crosses on logs there is no trail on the other side, so go left back to the trail. At 2.5 miles there is a trail junction. The right hand branch connects to the Goodale Pass trail. We went left 2 more miles to Devil's Bathtub Lake at 9200'. This scenic lake was bear-free for us. At the SE end of the lake are enough campsites for several large groups and nice fire rings on flat sandy areas. We crossed the outlet to the lake on 2 large logs to get to the campsites. The statistics for the day were 4.5 miles and 1700, of gain. Many of us took a swim in the lake, which must be partially spring fed to be that warm. Happy hour was started at 4:00 pm. We had a contest with prizes for the best appetizers. Sara Wyrens and Robert Amaral tied: Sara for fresh Thai spinach salad and Robert for his homemade brownies. Runner up was Dee Denton for soybeans in the shell. After margaritas, wine and dinner it was 4 hours later and time to say good night.
Sunday morning we left for Silver at 6:30 am, this being led at an easy pace. The route divides itself between 2 7.5-minute quads: Sharktooth Peak and Graveyard Peak. The E side of the lake goes nicely with use trails near the lake and also up higher. At the N end of the lake it was a little boggy. Then we crossed the inlet and went up a narrow valley, partially on talus to the "the slab." It was a low angle friction slab made up of high quality granite. Just don't slip. An easy route is found on the extreme left side, complete with use trail when you are facing the slab from the bottom.
Once at the top of the embankment, we headed W through an idyllic hanging valley with meandering green meadows. In 0.5 mile this ends in a headwall with many choices on the right for a would-be second class gully that goes up. Nothing really goes second class until the E end of the headwall where it is not so steep. Don't go as far as the 2 small lakes on the W or you will be way off route heading towards the top of the headwall, which goes at 4 1h class. We then traversed diagonally up to just South of peaklet 11,400' and peaklet 11,470 (indicated on the topo) to a saddle at 11,240' and UTM 225475. This is the key. From here you can see the peak about I mile away as the crow flies. From the saddle we dropped down 500' to just above a tam and then started a long traverse with some talus. We stayed down low until we reached the gully that feeds the saddle just below the peak at UTM 216484.The peak was easy second class to the top at 11,878'. It was 3:00 prn when the last of us left the top, 14 had summited. Altitude and dehydration can be a factor on this peak of seemingly low altitude because it is a long way from camp. The slow group got in just before dark at 8:50 pm. The total statistics for the day were I I miles and 3200' of gain.
Monday morning we got to Vermillion Resort, located at the West end of Lake Thomas Edison about 11:00 am and hogged out. About two thirds of the group joined Joe and me. The phone number of the resort for cabins and advance warning for large groups for meals is 559-259-4000. Many in the group went for a soak in Mono Hot Springs. On July 2 they started draining Florence Lake and some of us found the river crossing and subsequent hot steep trail too arduous for the reward of a soak.
The participants were Bob Amaral, Sara Wyrens, Jane Gibbons, Patrick Wood, Lynn Heath, Dee Denton, Paul Trautwein, Mary Trautwein, Sherry Ross, Bob Yeager, Peter Lara, Gail Spielman, Dave Jamison, Mike Weislik, Carl Petersen, and Rich Gnagy. Thank you to everyone for making this a great outing. Also thank you to Joe Wankurn for his very capable and impeccable assistance on this trip.
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