Last Chance, Waucoba, and Glass Mt

Harlan W S & Bart S
April 17-20, 2013

Roads: On this trip, all the roads I took into the east side of Waucoba, and the east side of Glass, were excellent, recently bladed and essentially 2wd. However, the road I took in to the east side "trailhead" for Last Chance -- the route recommended by the old DPS guide-- is absolutely terrible in a few places.  I got my soob (7.3" clearance) in there, but it was touch-and-go and required some very slow driving with careful wheel placement. There is one stretch about 0.3 miles before the old cabin site, where the Last Chance Road edges along a steep hill; there are eroded cuts on the downhill side, and big humps on the uphill side, caused by rockslides from uphill.  It's creepy.  Try the other route on the south side of the range (in Zdon's book, by Last Chance sulphur mine (Crater Mine)). Camping: For Last Chance, camp near the sulphur mine (Crater) or farther in.  Waucoba has a nice primitive site at 7200'+, right at the start of the trail-- just be aware that area can get cold at night.  Glass Mountain has "summer camping" at the Sawmill camground (~9200') and has a few turn-offs at lower elevation on the roads to Black Canyon/Sawmill Canyon.

0area-map 0LastChance041713
GPS trace on Last Chance. The up-route
was pleasant, but the trail disappeared
in a maze of scree on the way down.
The faint but generally good use trail on
 the southern of the two routes
on the gps trace.
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Unfortunately, the pleasant up-route
brings you over lots of intermediate bumps.
At top, panoramic view.  It took me
2 hours to reach the summit by the
longer S route (more elevation gain).
The wind chill was ~0F.
Self-portrait, view W to Sierra. The wind
was so strong that I had to hop
to keep from being blown over. Note
the sandstorms blowing across
Eureka Valley.
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Panoramic view, with sandstorms.
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I came down the ridge route  
recommended by DPS; it's hard to
call this "hands-in-the-pockets"
class 1.  Perhaps it was the dim light as
the sun set behind the mountain, but...
...the use trail tended to end over
sections like this, where the top of
a small cliff is covered with very loose
scree. I think it would be easier if I
had ascended this way, but I can assure
you that I didn't have hands in pockets,
and the trekking poles were anathema.
I cut down into the gully, and found
more territory that was more like class 3.
The spring.
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Next day I went to Waucoba. The minor
snow was a slight irritation, but I made the
top in less than 3 hours.
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Panorama from top, toward Sierra.
The top is huge, and you will want to
go to the N, W and S sides to
appreciate the view.
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White Mts to N.
Sierra to W.
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Mts Keynot and Inyo.
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The terrain is largely granite boulders
in sand made from corroded granite, and
some care must be used on descent.
The way down, view E.
Squaw Mt to the N.
I spent a day in Big Pine, dealing with a
car issue, then drove N toward Glass Mt.
From the N, Glass looked exceptionally
snowy; but I drove to the E side
"trailhead," took a 500'-gain scoping walk.
I concluded our group could take a
relatively snow-free route over
sun-exposed ridges.
View of Montgomery from near
 Benton Hot Springs.  I met the LVMC
at the springs, we camped, and got up
next morn for the short climb
 (1h 20m for me, despite the snow).
View of the Sierra from a few hundred feet
below the top.  The east side of this false
summit was very snowy; fortunately the
snow soon soften, allowing a safe descent.
The DPS summit.
View S from DPS summit.
View north to the slightly lower summit
indicated as "Glass Mt" on USGS maps.
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Joseph chills on top
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I headed down to give my poles to other folk,
and missed the group summit shots.
My tent.
Preparations for human sacrifice.