Crater Mtn

22 Dec 1998 - by Eric Beck

Crater Mtn is the cinder cone ssw of Big Pine. Conditions were bleak today in the Owens Valley, +1 at dawn with an icy overcast. Joe Kelsey, Toby, and I picked out a project proportional to the conditions. We turned left off the Glacier Lodge road at the McMurray Meadow turnoff and were confronted by an unexpected "T" intersection after 50 feet. Common sense dictated the right hand branch, which proved to be not a great road. After a little over a mile and moving several rocks, it was clear that it was heading east, not south which we sought. We returned and took the left branch which proved to be the correct road, and excellent in quality. We parked west of our objective and after an hour of easy, although sometimes tedious walking cross country in the lava, arrived on the summit.

There was a register in what I would best describe as a drug container with a single entry from 1 November this fall by Andy Smatko, now 81, and several friends. It was very cold, so we just signed and left. One hundred feet below the top, Joe noticed that Toby had picked up a souvenir; he had the register in his mouth. They went back up and reset it. Crater Mtn is a worthy peak with a nice view of Big Pine and possibly the Sierra ( we couldn't tell because of the clouds ) and deserves a real register.

This could be a preliminary entry on the WIMP ( Winter, Inyo, Mono, Peaks ) list.

Round trip stats: 3.5 miles, 500 feet, 1 hr 45 minutes. Later in the afternoon Lori and I went running; it read 24 degrees on the bank sign. We had a few flurries.


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