Desert Divide: Sam Fink Trail
Leader: Paul Lipsohn
Asst.: Les Stockton
Despite the weatherman's dire weekend predictions, 26 indefatigable climbers assembled at Morris Ranch Road for a short caravan to the trailhead at Tripp Meadow. We climbed the "Switchback Trail," and on attaining the main ridge exchanged backpacks for summit bags and began the southern leg of our trip. Blessed by improving weather, which ultimately became just overcast, we promptly bagged Pyramid Peak, Lion Peak and Pine Mtn. During lunch on Pine Mtn. we reconsidered our plans to attempt the summit block on Pine due to a shortage of time and equipment. Resuming our northward trek, we regained our packs and proceeded for Palm View Peak, arriving in a white-out that was to remain throughout the rest of the trip. This marked the end of the trip for 11 climbers, who were led back to the cars, while 16 backpackers proceeded towards Fobes Saddle and a well deserved rest.
An early call started our peak-baggers off into the gloom towards Spitler Peak on Sunday. Passing through oak, fir, and cedar groves, we soon attained our summit, paused briefly, and pushed on for Apache Peak. On reaching Apache Peak, the weather really turned poor, forcing cancellation of plans to do Antsell Rock. Retracing our steps through wind-driven rain we regained our camp, rapidly packed up and returned to the cars at Morris Ranch. Wet, tired, cold, and hungry, most of the group assembled at Mountain Center for hot food and an early start home.