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OAUSA Net - September 5, 2019 - Destination Mt Patterson

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:46 pm
by toms
This week we will discuss a trip to Mt. Patterson in California.
While our main destination was Mt. Patterson, we decided to include several ghost town - Bodie, Masonic, and Belfort. If you venture that way you might also visit Aurora, NV. It is easy to link them altogether in one trip.

This is a very scenic trip with large vistas. Likely you will be back again and again!

Mt Patterson is 11,654 and is the tallest peak in the Sweetwater Mountains.
The Sweetwater Mountains are north of Bridgport, CA. Some portion is in Mono County Ca and some in Lyon County NV.

The East and West Fork of the Walker river are separated by Mt. Patterson.

I have been told this is the highest PEAK in California that you can drive to. The key being 1) peak as there are other places that a road exists at higher elevation and 2) permitted access.

The only way to get to the top is by 4-wheel drive, hiking, or mule. (Motorcycles and side by sides where plentiful as well).

If we have time, we can discuss a triad of famous ghost towns nearby that can be part of a longer trip.

Re: OAUSA Net - September 5, 2019 - Destination Mt Patterson

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:10 pm
by toms
Mt. Patterson and the Sweetwater Range
MT Patterson: Elevation: 11,673’

• Mt. Patterson is the high point of the Sweetwater Range.
• Situated east of the Sierra Nevada and north of Bridgeport in the western edge of the Great Basin,
• the Sweetwater Range divides the West and East forks of the Walker River and straddles the California-Nevada border.
Geologically, colorful volcanic rocks possessing purple, red, white, green and yellow hues, cover much of the Sweetwaters,
• Granite is also present in some areas.
• the Sweetwater Range was the site of glaciation during the ice ages, signs of which can still be seen today in a few cirques and moraines.
• Generally however, compared with the Sierra, the slopes of the Sweetwaters are more rounded.
• The Sweetwaters also contain vegetation common in both the Sierra and Great Basin.
o The Jeffrey Pine forests that cover much of the Sierra continue up the Sweetwater’s western slopes.
o Towards the east, the Jeffrey Pines, although not disappearing entirely, give way to singleleaf pinyons, mountain mahogany, and Utah juniper which are common plants of the desert ranges of the vast Great Basin,
o Towards the top are common subalpine trees, including whitebark and lodgepole pines.
• Above 11,000 ft. lies the alpine zone.
• the range contains a rich mining history. Abandoned mines and mining settlements from as far back as the 1860s are strewn about the east side of the range, including Boulder Flat, Clinton, and Belfort.
• basque sheepherders have been grazing sheep in this area for over a hundred years and have left blazes on area trees for decades.
• Mt. Patterson provides fantastic views.
o To the southeast are the White Mountains, where Boundary Peak, Montgomery Peak, and White Mountain are visible.
o Closer to the south is the Sawtooth Range of the Sierra Nevada.
o To the east are Mt. Grant. and the Great Basin Desert. Most impressive, however, are the peaks near Sonora Pass on Highway 108.
Map -reduced.jpg
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MAPS: (for those of you that like to have maps)
• Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Map Bridgeport Ranger District;
• Humboldt-Toiyabe NF MVUM Carson and Bridgeport Ranger District
• Contact: Bridgeport Ranger District US395 HCR 1 Box 1000, Bridgeport CA 93517 760-932-7070

Re: OAUSA Net - September 5, 2019 - Destination Mt Patterson

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:36 pm
by toms

low Blue about a 4 on a 10 scale

= Rutted dirt or rocky road suitable for most sport utility vehicles. Careful tire placement often necessary.
Four-wheel drive, low range, and high ground clearance required.

Standard factory skid plates and tow hooks recommended on many trails. Undercarriage may scrape occasionally.

Some grades fairly steep but manageable if dry. Soft sand possible. Sideways tilt requires caution.

Narrow shelf roads possible. Backing may be necessary to pass. Water depths passable for stock high-clearance vehicles except during periods of heavy runoff. Mud holes may be present especially in the spring. Brush may touch vehicle.

Re: OAUSA Net - September 5, 2019 - Destination Mt Patterson

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:40 pm
by toms

Altitude sickness is caused by going higher faster than our bodies can acclimatize to less available oxygen.
Mild Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) has signs and symptoms similar to feeling hung over: headache, nausea, insomnia, fatigue, lack of appetite; usually develops over 8000 feet elevation.
Stay well hydrated and avoid excessive exercise and fatigue.

Mt Patterson is at 11654. The stay there is rather short. It is always windy. Too windy to camp or do much long term.

The camp site at the ghost town of Belfort, however, is at 10,000 plus a few feet.

Re: OAUSA Net - September 5, 2019 - Destination Mt Patterson

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:58 pm
by toms
To Get There

Drive 15 miles north on 395 from Bridgeport
Turn right on onto Road 31 and travel about 4.4 miles to road 67
Turn right on road 67 ( there will be a few stream crossings)
Continue on road 67 to Lobdell Lake (reservoir). It is about 6.2 miles
Drive around the lake clockwise and turn left and go down just before the berm/ dam
You will cross the outflow of the lake. This is the headwaters of Desert Creek.
A very short ways, cross the creek again and make a right towards the big sign board.
Straight ahead is the road to the top of Mt Patterson.
Switch to 4 low right away.
Until you are almost to the top, there will be very few places to pull over or pass.

Keep going until you find the flag at the top.

Flag on Mt Patterson
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The Sonora’s Mud Sweat & Gears (MS&G) puts up a new flag every July since 2011.

The flag pole was installed by Motherlode Rock Crawlers shortly after 9/11.

The MS&G club adopted the trail in 2016 and fixed washouts.

(from article in IN-GEAR by Terry Easley Oct/Nov 2018 issue)

Lobdell Lake
Lobdell Lake is a high mountain reservoir at an elevation of 9,274 ft above the sea level, located in Mono County, California. It is stocked with fish.

Re: OAUSA Net - September 5, 2019 - Destination Mt Patterson

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:03 pm
by toms
Best Time

The best time is summer and fall. Snow may block your travel well into late may and early June.
Expect the late September or early October, snow can happen at any time.

Dial 911 if you have cell service
Mono County Sheriff 760-932-7549 Central dispatch
Lion Co Sheriff 775-463-6600 Yerington, NV
Mineral Co NV Sheriff 775-945-2434 Hawthorne, NV
Douglas Co NV Sheriff 775-266-1028 Wellington NV

Forest Service
Humboldt- Toiyabe National Forest
Bridgeport Ranger District 760-932-7070

• Bridgeport CA
• Mammoth Hospital 760-932-1932; 39 E Summer Meadows Road Bridgeport, CA 93517
• Mammoth Hospital - 760-934-3311; 85 Sierra Park Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
• Northern Inyo Hospital – 760-873-5811 x 2264; 150 Pioneer Lane, Bishop CA 93514
• Carson Valley Medical Center - 775-782-1500 1107 U.S. Hwy 395 N, Gardnerville, NV 89410
• South Lyon Medical Center - 775-463-2348 213 S Whitacre St, Yerington, NV 89447
• Mt. Grant General Hospital - 775-945-2461; 200 South A Street, Hawthorne, NV 89415

Expect to have spotty cell service. Cell phones generally do not work once we are in the mountains.

The days are still reasonably long this time of year with sunrise about 6:26 AM and sunset about 7:27 PM.

This links will give you a “Point” forecast for several site. Point forecasts only look out 7 days so it is only useful just before you go.

Approximate National Forest Sweetwater Camp 6416 feet on Desert Creek ... 1KYSuTn_IU

Belfort 10,210 feet ... 1KWG-Tn_IU

Sunrise late August/ Early Sept is about 6:26AM each day and sun set is about 7:27PM

Pacific Time

Re: OAUSA Net - September 5, 2019 - Destination Mt Patterson

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:12 pm
by NotAMog
Mt Patterson Trip

I did a bulk upload of these pictures and they didn't come out in quite the order I expected but still, you can see them here.
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Sitting around the camp near Belfort after the day of exploring the summit of Mt Patterson.

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Proof that we where there. The bottom display is the USGS map on Overland Navigator showing the route to the peak of Mt Patterson. The upper display is a Yaesu FTM-400 displaying the elevation graph recorded on the way up and the current altitude.

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Re: OAUSA Net - September 5, 2019 - Destination Mt Patterson

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:31 pm
by NotAMog

• In 1859 William (a.k.a. Waterman) S. Bodey discovered gold near what is now called Bodie Bluff.
• A mill was established in 1861 and the town began to grow.
• It started with about 20 miners and grew to an estimated 10,000 people by 1880!
• By then, the town of Bodie bustled with families, robbers, miners, store owners, gunfighters, prostitutes and people from every country in the world.
o At one time there was reported to be 65 saloons in town.
o Among the saloons were numerous brothels and 'houses of ill repute', gambling halls and opium dens - an entertainment outlet for everyone.
o On a daily basis miners would emerge from the mills and head for the bars and the red light district to spend their earnings. The mixture of money, gold and alcohol would often prove fatal. Newspapers report that towns people would ask in the mornings "Have a man for breakfast?" Meaning 'Did anyone get killed last night?'
• Some records show that a "Wm. Body" took a ship from New York, around the horn to end up in San Francisco. It isn't clear if that's the same man who was prospecting near present day Bodie. In any case, the spelling of the name was changed at some point before the majority of the people made their way to Bodie, and it stuck.
• There's a story about a little girl whose family was moving from San Francisco to Bodie; Depending on who tells it, she wrote in her diary either: "Good, by God, I'm going to Bodie" -or- "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie". Learn more about Bodie and decide for yourself...

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In 1917, the Bodie Railway was abandoned and its iron tracks were scrapped. The last mine closed in 1942, due to War Production Board order L-208, shutting down all nonessential gold mines in the United States during World War II. Mining never resumed after the war. Bodie was first described as a "ghost town" in 1915. - Wikipedia

Re: OAUSA Net - September 5, 2019 - Destination Mt Patterson

Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:33 am
by toms
The Dangers of Shelf Roads
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The shelf road leading to Mt Patterson from the west is very narrow. Two vehicles cannot pass each other.

As a courtesy this vehicle pulled over to let 3 motorcycles go by and misjudged the edge. Another vehicle going up hill could have followed along, but motorcycles need a certain amount of momentum.

Recovery involved a winch line on another vehicle from the switchback road above to hold the rear of the vehicle from sliding off while the winch on the rig pull it up and out.

Re: OAUSA Net - September 5, 2019 - Destination Mt Patterson

Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:05 pm
by Diesel4x
thanks for early check in, KF6KOC Randy.