By: Greg Roach
Our group consisted of Mirna Roach, Igor & Suzanne Mamedalin, Julie Rush, Katherine Sahm, Peggy Albright, and R.J. Secor. We met the group at the end of the Lake Thomas A. Edison Road above the Vermilion campground. There is trailhead parking at the end of the road as it makes a loop around a picnic area complete with tables and restrooms a good place to spend the night after driving up from L.A. We called the ranger station a few days before and they were happy to put our reserved permit out in the night box for us. This is a greatly appreciated convenience that the National Forest will extend to backpackers. It's unfortunate that the National Parks make you come in to their office to pick up the permit even if you have paid for the reservation in advance. We started hiking about 7:30 am for Devil's Bathtub. Take the unmarked trail that heads northeast uphill not the signed Goodale Pass trail that heads East along the lake. There are two stream crossings in about the first mile or so. The trail doesn't quit match the topo map at the beginning of the hike however; the trail leads to Devils Bathtub and is signed latter on at junctions. Stay on the main trail and you will get there easily. We arrived at Devil's Bathtub about 10:30 after a detour on some mule packer side trails. The Devil's Bathtub is a beautiful lake. We found good camping about 100 yards from the outlet on the southeastern side of the lake. At about 11:30 am after setting up camp Igor, R.J., Mirna, and I started out for Silver Peak. We stayed on the east side of Devil's Bathtub and headed up towards the slabs north of the lake at an elevation of about 9800 feet. Here we crossed the stream and had lunch. Above 9800 feet the stream meanders through a beautiful valley, that was green and full of July wildflowers. Our next goal was the pass above this valley at 11,240 feet elevation. This pass could be seen from our camp at the southeastern end of Devil's Bathtub and is located Northeast of peak 11470 feet and Southwest of peak 11,520 feet [UTM225475]. We climbed up out of the valley on slabs to the left (western side) of a stream cascading down to the valley. Then headed northwest up to the pass. One has a good view of the peak from the pass. It was 3:00 pm when we reached the pass. The northern side of the pass is steeper than the southern side. We headed down steep talus to the snowfield below and then over to a small lake at 10760 feet. From the lake we headed northwest up to the peak. It is easier to contour around the bump 11480 feet before heading up the southeast ridge to the peak. The peak is rated class 2 and has a nice view of the Margaret Lakes, Cascade Valley, the Silver Divide, and the Ritter Range to the north. Another predominate landmark to the north is Mammoth Mountain. After climbing the peak we returned to camp by the same route. We were back at the pass by 6:00 pm and back in camp about 8:00 pm. Total gain for the day including the backpack to the lake was 5,400 feet and 13.5 miles. When we arrived back at our camp at Devil's Bathtub we found the other campers refreshed from their day in camp. They had found a beach, which was perfect for swimming at the inlet of Devil's Bathtub, and a good time was had by all. Sunday morning we slept in and then hiked back to the cars. We were back to the Vermilion Valley Resort in time for lunch at their restaurant. Then we visited the Mono Hot Springs for a quick soak in the nools and hit the road for home. Thanks to everyone who joined us. It was a fun weekend.
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