White Mountain Traverse

From the Owen’s Valley, White Mountain dominates the eastern horizon. A huge wall almost two vertical miles above the valley floor. This trip had always been on my mind, but I did not fully get the motivation to do it until moving to Bishop, California.

We put one car in Nevada and drove the other to Chalfant. If not for COVID, this would have made for a good hitchhiking trip, by hitching up highway 6. It is a long and slow drive up to the normal route up White Mountain. Having already hiked that one, we decided to do the more challenging west ridge route, which involves a 10,000 ft climb up from the Owens Valley. One cannot get a true sense of the massive size of these mountains until climbing up on foot.

From White Mtn Peak, the route was simple but remote. We followed the ridge all the way to Montgomery and Boundary Peaks. In the middle of the ridge there were summit registers with only 7-8 names/year. There was even a babbling stream at the saddle halfway. This traverse is very comitting, and most of the route is at high elevation. There are some miles of flat cruiser terrain, but also slow and loose class three sections. Before attempting this route, one should be well acclimatized and very comfortable on loose class three terrain.

We hiked the first mile or so along a dirt road.
Beautiful last light on the Whites
Continuing the 10,000 foot climb the next morning, the solstice.
One third class move, easier then this picture makes it appear
Well deserved rest on the summit
Soon after reaching the summit we were back off trail again. We would see no one else for the rest of the hike.
After a brief class 2-3 section we were treated to great flat walking. Unfortunately Clax had to turn around so we continued on without him.
Nice long gradual downhill to the one stream along the route.
Although the terrain was mostly rolling hills, the altitude definitely made it harder then it looked.

Beautiful views at the “jumpoff”, looking across at Montgomery Peak
Matt resting after out 15 hour day of hiking. What a way to spend the solstice!
Atop Boundary Peak. The hike behind me.
Down into Nevada!