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Pilot Knob

24 October 1998

By: Joe Young

Leaders: Joe Young, Asher Waxman

Fifteen participants met the leaders at 7:30 AM this morning at the entrance to the Walker Pass Campground. Temps were cool; some clouds. After consolidation we drove to the route 1 trail head. There we were met by some Indians along the road who wondered who we were. These people occupied the trailers/shacks near the trail head. (Joe's attempts to contact the property owner prior to the trip had been in vain.) One of the Indians asked if we had any cigarettes. One of our participants had a pack to donate, another offered $20. Joe presented the pack of cigarettes and the money to the Indians and explained that we were going to hike all day and expected to return mid-afternoon.

We began the hike at about 8:30. Joe, leading, soon found the beginnings of the main wash. The group traveled slowly, stopping frequently. The outing consisted mainly of traversing an ever steeper wash/gully, frequently choked with brush. About three hours into the hike, Tom Hill reported that Asher and one of the participants had turned back. (One person had been traveling particularly slowly.) Tom graciously volunteered to serve as assistant. The remaining fifteen proceeded up the wash, occasionally climbing right (north) along the side of the wash to avoid brush or steep rocks. We found no "major" obstacles; variance from the wash was for convenience. As the wash widened but got steeper, we veered slightly to the left and scrambled up loose sand and through boulders to gain the ridge. At the top of the ridge we discovered we were just south of the saddle south of the summit. We dropped maybe a hundred feet, then followed ducks to the summit. We arrived there at about 1:30 PM.

The group signed the excellent register, then lunched briefly a short ways below the summit rocks. Temps were still cool, clouds ubiquitous.

Joe led down to the saddle, then followed ducks and prominent use trail to the main wash. Travel was still slow. Further down some of our hikers began experiencing problems descending the rocks in the wash. Skies began to threaten. Nearing the bottom, Tom Hill found himself with two of the hikers having some problems, and he stayed with them. Joe led the remaining twelve hikers on down, now worried about darkness. It was about 5:00 PM. Mars Bonfire, who had hiked this peak within the last year (Joe hadn't been there in over twenty years), pointed out a short cut taken by Carleton Shay on his recent outing. Joe gathered the group of twelve and took this short cut, which appeared to be a series of cattle trails which led to the road, and arrived at the cars at 6:30 PM. Darkness soon set in. We waited for Tom & co. Soon Joe dispatched participants so that only a handful waited at the trail head. Byron Prinzmetal and Hugh Blanchard took flashlights and hiked up the road a ways in an effort to guide Tom & co down. At about 7:30 rain began. It was not until 8:00 PM that Tom arrived.

This had been one tough outing. Rosemary "No-Wimp" Campbell announced that this was the toughest HPS peak she'd climbed. (And she's nearing her List completion!) Total time was ten hours, much longer than nominal.

Thanks to Asher for co-leading, and especially to Tom Hill for assisting and for escorting hikers down the wash and out to the cars in darkness.

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