Ascent of New York Butte on 2001-09-15

Climber: Frederick Johnson

Others in Party:Among others: Pete Yamagata
Bill Hauser
Gail Hanna
Scott Jamison
Pat&Dean Acheson
Shane Smith
Steve Smith
Linda McDermott
Mary & Rayne Motheral
Ron Young
David Welbourn
Ellen&Ron Grau
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, September 15, 2001
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:New York Butte
    Elevation:10668 ft / 3251 m

Ascent Trip Report

Last night Pete Yamagata and I camped at Portuguese Joe, a county campground outside Lone Pine. This morning after stoking up on breakfast at P.J.'s in Lone Pine, we drove east on CA 136 to meet the DPS group at the intersection with the Cerro Gordo road, There were some 20 vehicles here with about 40 people ready to go. After some consolidation of hikers into 4WD vehicles, we headed up the steep 8-mile grade to the long abandoned silver mining town of Cerro Gordo. Its present owners have restored several of the old buildings to serve as overnight facilities for visitors. Our DPS group had considered staying here tonight, but balked at the high fee for the accommodations.

After regrouping once again and led by veteran Steve Smith, we started the 12.8-mile drive over the Swansea-Cerro Gordo Road along the Inyo crest past the Salt Tram and continuing NE to road's end below New York Butte near the Burgess Mine site. This 4WD road was cherry-stemmed into the Inyo Mountain Wilderness, which is administered by the BLM. The first part of the road beyond Cerro Gordo kept my attention as we crawled along the narrow westside track with a significant drop off. After that the road stayed more or less on the crest. One particularly rough, steep switchbacked hill before the Salt Tram was a challenge to all, and each vehicle had to proceed separately in the lowest gear to get around a particularly nssty turn. All but one vehicle made it. After the
2 1/2-hour drive we arrived at a convenient parking area for all the vehicles about 1,000' and 1 1/2 miles below the summit of New York Butte. It was quite a sight to see some 35 people wending their way up the gentle slopes of this DPS Emblem Peak, which is usually a much more demanding climb. How well I remember when in 1946 a small group of us led by Niles Werner climbed up from Long John Canyon some 6,500' below. Today we sprawled over the rocky summit area, enjoying conversations,leisurely eating lunch, and taking in the rewarding view. This trip marked the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of New York Butte by the DPS. What a great treat for me to share in this meaningful occasion.We started the hike at 11:30A, were on top an hour later, and after 30 minute break were back down by 1:45P.

On the return we stopped to the Burgess Mine site to visit one of a number of restructured structures restored by the BLM. Some of the group stopped at the Salt Tram, while I joined several others to visit Pleasant Point.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:968 ft / 295 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Trailhead:9700 ft / 2956 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:40 Minutes

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