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White Mountain Traverse

June 2021

With the summer solstice approaching, I figured it would only be natural to head out to Bishop for a huge send with Anthony. Our buddy Clax was visiting too, so the three of us got a little trip in the works. The longest day of the year should not go to waste — and it certainly didn’t — we used it to complete the White Mountain Traverse in less than forty-eight hours. This remote and relatively unknown route is completed by maybe a dozen intrepid hikers a year, and is my favorite hiking/scrambling route to date.


Come Friday, we dropped one car off in Nevada at the end of the route, and drove back to Chalfant to start hiking. By sunset we were hoofing it, deciding to get a jump on the 10,000 ft climb from the Owens Valley straight up to the top of White Mountain. We had climbed this peak before via the more popular dirt road, but this route offered a much more engaging experience, with beautiful ridge lines and some loose class three sections. 


10,000 ft climb, the tip of White Mountain visible in the top left


Fun class 3 climbing on the way to the summit

After a few thousand feet of climbing, we got some sleep. Waking up early Saturday morning, we knocked out the remaining 7,000 ft to reach the summit. We took in the views for a few minutes and were off, heading North along the ridge line of the White Mountains. Clax had to turn around soon after leaving the summit due to an injury from a previous trip that he was still nursing. Anthony and I plugged along. 


The hiking was mellower after the summit, but the consistent elevation above 13,000 ft was extremely taxing. We tagged several peaks along the route, I believe there were five in total: White Mountain, White Mountain Peak (a confusingly named minor peak near the main summit), Dubois, Montgomery and Boundary Peak. 


Vast landscapes


A solstice well spent

Saturday night, after using all the glorious daylight we could, we found a fantastic little spot to sleep, right on the saddle below Montgomery Peak — which looked extremely intimidating to climb, but that was a problem for Sunday. We slept like rocks, and began our rambling ascent of Montgomery peak at the crack of dawn on Sunday. 


The climb was loose and slow going, but relatively navigable. The summit was beautiful too. From there, we descended to the saddle between Montgomery and Boundary Peak, which also served as the (very scenic) state border between Nevada and California. We trotted up to Boundary, and saw a ton of entries from “state high-pointers” — people who try to climb all the state high points in the US, or at least the contingent states… 


Nevada State high point: Boundary Peak, 13,147 ft

A faint trail down from Boundary turned into a lovely singletrack, and we romped on down it all the way to the van. A methodical drive out along the treacherous dirt road saw us back to Highway 6, and within a few hours we were back in Bishop, pleased to hear that Clax made his way back down to town in one piece. A solstice well spent.

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