North Maggie Mountain, Moses Mountain

May 1961

By: Andy Smatko

From The Sierra Echo (Vol. V, No. 3), May-June 1961


From the camping area at the Ranger Station in Balch Park (snow and mud prevented us from driving all the way to Shake Camp, a distance of over 2 miles), Arky Erb, Mike McNicholas, Tom Ross and I hiked along the trail towards Summit Lake. From a point in a small meadow somewhat north of North Maggie we started up a ridge towards the prominent knob of rock, circled to the left of it and continuing on above it to the right, we climbed to the summit west of the true summit (almost as high). We dropped to the saddle (400') between North Maggie and the west summit and on up. From the summit of North Maggie we dropped down in a NW direction into the wide valley and circled a little in a westerly direction to the trail. Hiking about 20 miles (estimate).

Next day, Sunday, we hiked back almost to the same small meadow, then struck up along a pine-covered ridge on the east face of Moses Mountain. Above the main portion of tree-level the climbing ranged from Class II to pretty high Class III on good rock, and we never knew for sure whether we might not "get hung up" (one should on trips to this mountain carry a rope). On reaching the crest of the ridge about ¼ mile north of the summit there is a sheer drop-off on the west side. This forced us up some steep snow (soft by now) and we gained the summit by traversing along a corniced ridge. There was no register to sign, only a wooden tower left by a survey party. On the west side of the peak we saw the remnants of a huge avalanche that went down for 1,500 feet. Several pinnacles on the ridge are fifth class, quite spectacular. We descended another ridge, which was easier than the one we climbed, although again we couldn't be certain whether it would go all the way. Returned to the car, dinner at Gang Sue's and back home.

Andy Smatko


Note: The above is the earliest report of a trip to North Maggie that is indexed in The Sierra Echo. The index incorrectly listed it in Vol. V, No. 4, but the report instead appeared in Vol. V. No. 3. Sadly, the text does not include the date of the trip, a private one, but the reader may assume the trip occurred in the late spring of 1961. Gang Sue's is a Chinese restaurant that was often used by SPSers passing through Porterville.

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