Butterbredt Peak, Glass Mountain Ridge, Mount Morrison (SPS)

16-Sep-94 (Private trip)

By: Tom Sumner


It wasn't until after the incredibly possessed Sue and Vic completed a summer of continuous and berserk peak bagging in the Sierra that they realized that both of them were very close to finishing the SPS and DPS lists together (the DPS list for a second time) and that Sue was perilously close to finishing the HPS list too (Vic had finished the HPS list in 1982). Mt. Morrison would indeed be their triple list finish. In fact, they got 30 (!) Sierra peaks this summer. By contrast, I got three. Anyway, because they really didn't know how many peaks they would get, they weren't able to plan nor to send out their "list-finishing party" invitations until three weeks before the event (sadly, not enough notice for some). Still, it was enough notice that many of us were able to join them on what turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and weather perfect weekends for climbing (and partying) that I can remember.


Friday afternoon Sept. 16 a small group of us met at the Jawbone Canyon turnoff from Highway 14 around 6:15. Following Vic and Sue's dust (a precursor of roads to come), we drove to the trailhead of Butterbredt some 15 miles from the highway. Igor Mamedalin led the happy group up the peak staying to the right side of the rocky gendarmes that appeared just before each saddle. Armed with bottles of champagne and Cold Duck (yecch!), we were able to climb the peak while it was still twilight. We reached the summit just after dark and were greeted by a beautiful harvest moon in the east by whose light we celebrated Sue's HPS list finish. For Sue this was an especially memorable night as she climbed her first HPS peak 30 years ago and has been slowly working on the list ever since. (She must have climbed her first peak at age 2!) The descent by moonlight was beautiful and mystical as the light was bright enough to see one's way, but it was still dark enough that there were haunting and interesting shadows on the rock formations. We found a sandy trail which eventually formed a descending chute for running down which reminded Sue and me of our descent of Paricutin volcano in Mexico a couple years before. After arriving back at the cars, the group decided to split up and to reconvene at the trailhead of Morrison the following morning at 6:45. Those participating on the Butterbredt hike were: Sue and Vic, of course, yours truly, Igor and Suzanne Mamedalin, "Ron-Ron" Young, Gene Mauk and Vi Grasso. By the way, Mary Motheral did stop by the meeting place to congratulate Sue and Vic, but was on her way to the Sierra and couldn't do the hike.

That night I camped at the Goodale campground just outside of Independence; got up at 4:15 a.m., and drove to the Morrison trailhead near Convict Lake. While preparing my gear for climbing Morrison, much to my shock and disappointment I realized that I had left my almost-new boots on the ground of the campground back in Independence! So, I was faced with a soul-searching and mind-wrenching decision, either go back to get my boots and miss the peak, or lose the boots and use the old, ratty, unraveling and bare-soled back-up boots still in the truck, and get the peak. I opted for the former and drove the 80 plus miles back to Independence and, luckily, picked up the boots right where I had left them. Going back was a controversial decision, at best. In doing so 1 had to bravely endure the verbal slings and arrows of various, assorted and sundry climbing friends who felt that picking up my boots was a "pretty lame excuse" for missing Morrison. (Hey Tina, those suckers cost me a hundred and fifty bucks!) The narration continues now by Vic Henney who will describe the ascent of Morrison ... after all, I wasn't there, was I?

Morrison (by Vic Henney)

We met at approximately 6:30 at the trailhead parking lot at Convict Lake. Tom Sumner took one look at the peak, got in his truck and headed south (mumbling something about having left his boots somewhere, and besides, it wasn't a desert peak anyway). We proceeded to drive over to the day use parking lot at the southeast end of Convict Lake.

We began hiking at a few minutes after 7:00, angling up the slope on the south side of Convict Lake toward the upper end of Tobacco Flat. Here we met a 4WD road that comes in from Highway 395. We had driven this road a number of years previously. It's passable by 4WD but in light of the anticipated size of the group, we felt that it was just as easy to walk up the hill from Convict Lake.

From our point of intersection with the road, the road continues for only about another 100 yards. From the end of the road a fair use trail can be followed most of the rest of the way to the summit. We did encounter several hunters near the road, but none once we were a few minutes above the road. We reached the tarn (which was dry) located at the base of the peak and began our ascent up a long slope, essentially following Bob Hartunian's 1991 write-up. The route went quite well and we were on the summit by 12:30. Of the 21 climbers that started, 19 reached the summit.

In addition to ourselves, there were 6 other SPS list finishers on the summit: Vi Grasso, Tina Stough, Gene Mauk, George Toby, Roy Magnuson, and Ron Bartell. After appropriate celebration, we began our descent to Convict Lake. Mike Lorr's watch, lost on the ascent, was discovered on a bush near where we took a break on the way up. There are a couple of areas of loose rock that require some care, but the group did well and the descent was relatively uneventful other than the complaints of a few knees.

Participants other than those noted above were: Igor and Suzanne Mamedalin, Christine Mitchell, Maris and Anna Valkass, J Holshuh, Sue Leverton, Kathy Price, Jim Adler, Ron Hudson, Mike Loft, Tom Bowman and Ron-Ron Young-Young. Thanks to all who assisted and gave advise on the route for a very successful climb.

Let's Talk Party! (by Tom Sumner, again)

Sierra Clubbers, DPS'ers, SPS'ers, HPS'ers showed up from all over the state to the South Crowley Lake campground to celebrate Sue and Vic's accomplishment. The windy weather at the campground that afternoon turned pleasantly tranquil by the time the climbers returned from Morrison and from a refreshing swim in Convict Lake (Sue never misses a chance to swim in a lake). As people arrived, food tables continuously appeared and before you could say "Desert Peaks Section", food was displayed all over them. Naturally, the sound of popping champagne corks, that unmistakable "whoosh" of corks being pulled from wine bottles and even the sound of more than a few beer bottle caps was heard to echo through the night... and that was just to accompany the hors d'oeurves! As the evening progressed, the entrees started appearing, including lots of salads, pasta, baked beans, fried chicken, chicken "flautas" and even some chili (from you know who). Just when it was obvious that no one could possibly eat another bite, out came the desserts. Did I say desserts? Yes, there were some, by the tray full, as if we needed them by then! In fact, there were so many desserts that when Sue brought out her famous, very delicious, and very caloric "Kahlua Cake", only a small portion of it was eaten by the next morning... a first, believe me!! (Rumor has it that she broke out the cake the following afternoon for a small, hungry and select group after the descent of Glass, depriving 99% of us of that savory delight, drat!) A little while later, a delightful fire was lit and Sue got out her guitar and played as expertly as ever, as if two years had not gone by since the last time she played. We sang songs and were treated to Sherry Harsh's rendition of "The Cremation of Sam McGee", the Robert Service poem that only she can truly do justice to. Later, after begging and pleading, we convinced Terry Rivera-Turner (maybe champagne had something to do with it) to sing "The Rose" and later on "Amazing Grace" and "Summertime". George and Ira would have been proud at the latter. In all, some 49 people attended the party. I don't really know what time the festivities ended. I was in my truck and dreaming of desert peaks by 11:00.

Glass Mtn. Ridge

The following morning people slowly started getting up around 7:00 a.m. (not Vic; he was at my truck begging for hot coffee by 6:30 a.m.) and getting ready for Sue and Vic's DPS list finishing peak, Glass Mtn. Ridge. Instead of having to drive all the way around to highway 120 from 395 via the Lee Vining turn off, Campy Camphausen suggested we follow a short cut on a recently paved road to highway 120 which would save us at least 40 (?) miles. The road he mentioned did indeed save us mileage, BUT a good portion of it certainly wasn't paved. Not that dirt roads bother the experienced DPS'er too much, but this particular road was made of fine and powdery dirt, and we had around 12 vehicles, We kicked up a dust storm so big that it could be seen from Manitoba! It was necessary for each car to turn on its headlights just to prevent running into the vehicle directly in front or behind. We arrived at the trailhead to Glass more than a little dust covered around 10 a.m. and immediately headed for the peak with Vic and Sue leading. By halfway up the peak the group had splintered into three groups. As per suggestion by Owen Maloy, we followed some sandy washes from northeast of the peak hiking in a southwesterly direction which are located to the right of the usual route. It was a very leisurely paced hike and we took various breaks along the way in order to allow everyone to catch up. We were on the summit by 11:30 or so, and once again the sound of champagne corks leaving their snug bottles could be heard all over the mountain tops. Just what we needed, more champagne! Vic and Sue celebrated reaching their second DPS list finish with a long kiss on the summit as they also have the distinction of having climbed all the peaks on both the DPS and the SPS lists together!! (Sue claims that it never would have happened if Vic weren't such an "unrelenting and sadistic slave driver") One climber was so overcome by the emotional moment and so inspired by their accomplishment that she promised to make her list finisher just as memorable by hiking her last DPS peak naked! (For her sake I hope it's not on Cerro Pinacate with all that cholla ..(ouch!) There's more! We also had the opportunity to celebrate with George Toby his 73rd birthday. We all joined in for a hearty rendition of "Happy Birthday" to George.

After a suitable time on the summit Ron Grau guided a small group down the easy, soft and sandy chutes that led directly back to the vehicles. That group consisted of this writer, Mike Lorr and three of Sue's colleagues from Santa Monica College who not only made the peak, but returned to their cars safely, I think much to their surprise! Meanwhile Sue, Vic and company hiked to the north summit where a relay station is located and got that peak just for good measure ("someone might move the register there someday!"). Afterwards, they descended Glass only to discover that there were six bottles of champagne still remaining back at the vehicles. Though I wasn't present for the uncorking (damn it!), rumor has it that Suzanne Mamedalin needed little coaxing from Marge Montgomery to abandon her work and help initiate some serious partying. As befitting the DPS, the six bottles were disposed of in good and timely fashion, along with Sue's Kahlua cake. It was gobbled up so fast, in fact, that even she never got a piece!

Wow, what a weekend! Happy birthday, George! Congratulations Vic and Sue, and congratulations to me too for getting my boots back!


Butterbredt: Sue and Vic, Torn Sumner, Ron-Ron Young, Gene Mauk, Vi Grasso, Igor and Suzanne Mamedalin. Meeting us just off of Highway 14: Mary Motheral

Morrison: Sue and Vic, Igor and Suzanne, Kathy Price, Jim Adler, Mike Lorr, Vi Grasso, Maris and Anna Valkass, Roy Magnuson, George Toby, Christine Mitchell, Ron Bartell, Tina Stough, Tom Bowman, Ron Hudson, Ron-Ron Young, J Holshuh, Sue Leverton, Gene Mauk

Glass Mtn. Ridge: Vic and Sue, Tom Sumner, Scott Sullivan and Elena, Roy Magnuson, George Toby, Igor Mamedalin, Terry and Bruce Turner, Ron-Ron Young, Torn and Karen Ferguson, Ron Grau, Cecile Hanrahan, Ricky Madison, Kiff Kirnber, Mike Lorr, Pat and Gerry Holleman, Owen Maloy, Sherry Harsh, Adrienne Knute, Dan Richter, Kathy Price, Jim Adler

The Party: Sue and Vic, Tom Sumner, Marge Montgomery, Leona Hackney, Ron Grau, Mike Lorr, Cecile Hanrahan, Ricky Madison, Kiff Kirnber, Edna Flores, J Holshuh, Sue Leverton, Maris and Anna Valkass, Terry and Bruce Turner, Igor and Suzanne Mamedalin, John and Carol McCully, Chessie (K-9), Patty Kline, Eivor Nielson, Campy Camphausen, George Toby, Roy Magnuson, Ron-Ron Young, Scott Sullivan and Elena, Sherry Harsh, Owen Maloy, Adrienne Knute, Carl Faber, Luke (K-9), Tina Stough, Torn Bowman, Ron Hudson, Pat and Gerry Holleman, Torn and Karen Ferguson, Kathy Price, Jim Adler

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