Saturday, May 27, 2023

White Mountain Attempt

 I got home yesterday from an attempt to summit White Mountain, the third highest peak in California and one I gaze at nearly every day from our house. The plan was to tackle it from the east side, driving up Leidy Canyon, hiking up an old stock trail to somewhere near Perry Aiken Flat, setting camp, then attempting the summit the next day.

The road up Leidy Canyon is well maintained until the last mile where it becomes more of a 4x4 route. I was stymied by this creek crossing. No way was I going to try to drive it, so I had to decide between wading it or bushwhacking upstream to where the road crosses back.

I chose the bushwhack through this. Somewhat of a nightmare, but for only about a quarter mile.

 I easily found the stock trail which was wonderful. Steep but not too steep, good dirt, fine views. I found a fine campsite at about 10,500', set camp, and explored the high country above.

Found an old shepherd's shelter among this small outcrop.

Complete with a fireplace and shelves!

Great stark scenery.

Bristlecones! Saw a bighorn sheep in the distance too.

I also enjoyed a pleasant, low angle ski descent back to camp, which was just a short distance down this drainage.

Took an after dinner stroll up to a nearby ridge with good views of Fish Lake Valley.

I slept well, rising early for my attempt on the summit.


I traversed over the ridge distant left into this huge basin at the head of the North Fork of Perry Aiken Creek.

For some reason my phone camera intermittently malfunctioned, taking blurry photos. A shame, but I include this one showing my routes.

I initially climbed the ridge left, reaching the rocks as the clouds rolled in. I descended and regrouped finally electing to cruise up the large bowl to the right.

Clouds rolling in high on the ridge.

Looking down on the expansive basin.

As I wound my way up the bowl I noticed this route up to the crest. Why not?

On the crest! Just 300' and a quarter mile from the summit (photo blurred so did not include, ugh). Looking north along the crest.

Sadly another wave of clouds rolled in along with steady graupel. Time to bail. I had a great descent nevertheless with just enough visibility to see the terrain and make good turns.

Leaving the basin the clouds parted briefly.

Pleasant descent back to camp.

Where the weather rolled in once again. Snow!

Next morning I hiked out. The creek had fallen, so no bushwhack. 

Sure had a lot of great moments up there!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Jawbone & Alice

 I toured the last three days, keeping it local. Thursday I tried my hand in Jawbone Canyon up Bishop Creek.

 Actually, I climbed "Little Jawbone" a shallow drainage parallel and east of Jawbone proper. It provided easy travel all the way up to pt 11286 - my goal for the day.

Low down in Little Jawbone.

Jawbone headwall.

Pt 11286 provided nice views. Was wondering if this line went, but alas it did not.

Views south along Table Mountain.

Northeast to Bishop

I skied the headwall and then down Jawbone. Fair to good skiing throughout. Warm temps have led to no/poor refreezes overnight, so there's a lot of soft snow out there.

Up canyon view to the headwall.

Yesterday my friend Phoebe and I checked out the South Fork of Big Pine Creek. This chute heading up towards Mt Alice caught our attention.

Phoebe skins up. She had just come up from sea level and was feeling the altitude, but was a real trooper, making it about 3/4s of the way up the chute.

The east aspect of the chute meant an early warm up with mushy snow, but the skiing was surprisingly good. Generally 2" to 3" of slush over a supportable base.

Today I decided to take a shot at summiting Mt Alice. Got a good early start, but the snow got quite soft as soon as the sun hit it. 

Above the low chute the drainage opens up into a wide, beautiful canyon.

The view up canyon to the headwall, where I found the best skiing of the day.

Nice Sierra granite.

Views from the ridge atop the headwall. Mts Winchell, Agassiz, Robinson, Gendarme, Two Eagle, and Cloudripper.

The canyon from near the summit - which involved about a half hour of scrambling and postholing to get to.

Coyote plateau from the summit.

Our summit register entry from 15+ years ago.

The skiing wasn't great, but not bad either. Always great to summit!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

South Fork, Bishop Creek

 With warm temps and rapid warming, I elected to ski a west facing line I've been eyeing all season.

 Unfortunately it's a bit of a bushwhack to get to the base of the chute. A chainsaw would have been helpful.

Many years ago locals diverted a small spring to form this waterfall.

The bushwhack wasn't the only issue on the approach. I started with boot crampons and hard snow, but isothermal mank resulted in deep post holing here. I switched to skis & skins briefly, quickly finding firm, supportable snow in the chute. I climbed it with boots and crampons.

Looking up the run just above the throat.

There were many of these old, beautiful snags on the way up.

I topped out at about 11,200' and enjoyed killer views.

Stark windswept terrain up high.

The first 500' was still a little firm, so I worked this sun softened aspect.

Real nice skiing once I got a little lower here.

Good run. Had to be careful of the mank at the bottom. Found a good route out that avoided the worst of the bushwhacking too.

The line, left.

 Another new one!