Grouse Mountain

27 Dec 1998 - by Eric Beck

Grouse Mtn ( 8067 ) is the high point of the Buttermilk, and an obvious candidate for the WIMP ( Winter, Inyo, Mono, Peak ) list. Today was beautiful with the temperature in town pushing 60. Joe Kelsey, Toby, Lori and I decided that we should bag this noble peak before it got too snowy. We drove up the Buttermilk road 1.5 miles past the cattleguard at the boulders turned left on a spur, drove .25 miles to a circle around a Pinyon and parked. At this point we are about 1.5 miles NW of the peak. Separating us from the peak was the 200 foot deep wash of McGee Creek. We contoured west, upstream for a bit until we found an easy crossing. At this point, we are west of the peak. Easy sand slopes led up to the west shoulder and a series of rock towers. We were concerned about Toby's ability to negotiate these, so we dropped down to the south and found an easy sand route meandering up through some spectacular orange granite towers to the saddle west of the summit area. Scrambling through large blocks brought all of us to the summit expeditiously. We had concerns about Toby's ability to handle this, but Joe reminded us that Toby had climbed Fremont Peak. Beautiful on the summit, no wind, Joe ate lunch in a T shirt. We descended the north slope directly from the saddle, covered with four inches of snow. Considering that this slope receives no sun this time of year, it was surprising how little snow there was. A short walk nw, a drop into and out of the McGee Creek wash and we were back at the car. Round trip stats: 3 miles, 1000 feet, 2.5 hours. Could be done faster by taking our descent route up.

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