Leaders: Alan Coles, Bob Meador
The early 6:30AM starting time was not enough to deter 17 strong hikers for the ascent of Heald and Nicolls. Bob Meador stepped in as co-leader for the sorefooted Frank Goodykoontz.
We had no trouble reaching the traditional starting point out of Kelso Valley. From there we started briskly up the old road to the old mine in the early morning cool weather. Once we started up the slope to the saddle between the two peaks, the temperature started to soar. Luckily, a cool breeze met us on the ridge and kept things nice and pleasant.
Picking our way along this scenic and somewhat rough ridge, we more or less stayed on the best route to the summit - named for the founder of the HPS. Some people questioned my suggestion to wear shorts, especially along the flat false summit. However we managed to reach the top around noon (minus two who dropped out along the way) with mostly minor scratches and bruises.
After a 45 minute break, we retraced our steps back down the ridge and then the final grunt work up 800' to Nicolls. Two people opted to return straight back while the rest of us enjoyed the view on this fine summit.
Soreness did not slow down the group's quick descent back down to the mine. All
were back to the cars by an early 5:30PM. Most of the group reconvened back at
Walker Pass campground where we enjoyed a community salad. John Backus and his
entourage were there after their ascent of Scodie Mtn. A great evening was had
before the group settled down around 9PM. Sunday, things went quite smoothly
for the ascent of Pinyon. Thirteen started the hike at 7:30AM and all were back
by noon. Many thanks to you all for a great weekend now.