From July 8 – 19, my two partners and I drove from Denver to the Owens Valley area to do a 14ers bender of 8 peaks in 12 days. That journey began on White Mountain Peak, a desert peak not far from the Nevada border.
Elevation Gain: 3,205′
White Mountain Peak (14,246) is by far the least difficult of the California 14ers, and it made for a nice warmup for the unknown horrors that would await us in the Eastern Sierra over the following days. It is accessed via a long washboard dirt road that goes through the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest area. We arrived at the trailhead just before 11pm after driving since 5am. There were 8-10 other vehicles at the trailhead, but we had plenty of room to throw down a tent and crash for our early wake up.
We got on the trail (which is a dirt road the entire way) just after 5 and made pretty good time up the gentle grade past the Barcroft research station and observatory. From here, the summit comes into view. It’s still a ways away, but it’s all just easy road walking.
We summited around 9:30, hung out and took photos for a while, and started our descent at 10:00. We got back to the car right about 12:30. If you’re looking for a much more detailed route description and photos, look here.
The drive out was MUCH more interesting in the daylight; the bristlecone pine forest really is a thing of beauty. It’s completely different from any landscape in Colorado! We continued out of the area and into Bishop to pick up our permits for our next objective, Split Mountain.
Relive 3D Topo/GPS: