Sunday, September 1, 2013

White Mountain Peak (CA, USA) - 14,252 ft (4,344m)

In September 2013, we did a trip to San Diego and the Sierra Nevada to hike three mountains over 4,000m in 5 consecutive days. The first stop was White Mountain Peak which is 14,252ft (4,344m) high and quite an easy hike if you don't take the high altitude in account. We drove towards Lone Pine and then into the Inyo National forest. To adapt a little bit for the high altitude we camped at the Grandview Campground at 8,500ft (2,590m). The campground has great night sky views! The spots are usually first-come first-serve. If you don't find a spot, ask someone if they want to share there spot, as the campsites are quite big. The campground costs $5 per site.

The next morning, we got into our car at around 7am. You need to drive another hour to go to the trailhead, a 4-wheel drive is preferable, but we saw people with normal cars as well. From the trailhead to the summit the hike is 7miles (11.3km) long with an elevation gain of only 2,600ft (800m). Camping is also allowed on the trailhead if you want to go up early in the morning. The first part of the trip is a 2mile (3.2km) hike up the dirt road to the White Moutain Research Station operated by the University of Southern California. A gate looks this road. However, twice a year (first Sunday in August and Sunday of Labor Day weekend), the gates are open and you can park at the Research station making the trip even easier. We happen to be there exactly on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend ;-) Before beginning your hike, you can use the dump toilets at the gate or the Research Station.



We started our hiking day at around 8:45am on Sept. 1st. The hike is very straightforward, the trail can be seen way in advance. The elevation gain on this hike is not much, the first part was more flat. At the half point, you hike down again before starting a steeper switchback section towards the summit. It flattens a bit when being closer to the summit. We slowed down at the last part of the trail because of the high altitude but finally reached the summit at 12:30pm. Unfortunately, the view was blocked by a lot of clouds, but we still enjoyed standing on top of a >4,000m mountain (or second one, the first being Mauna Loa in Hawaii, USA).

After some food, picture taking and resting, we went back down. The weather got a bit worse in the afternoon. In general, mountain weather usually changes in the afternoon, that's why an early morning hike is preferable. We got back to our car at around 4pm. The next day, we went on a 2-day hike to Mount Langley, followed by another 2-day hike to Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the US (outside of Alaska).

Grandview Campground. We shared our spot with one other tent. 
On the way to the trailhead by car. 
After about 30min into. The weather was perfect. 
White Mountain Peak hidden in the clouds in the back. 
Last section of the hike. 
On top of White Mountain Peak!
This was on the way back. You can see the house on top. 
About 45min into walking down. 
Last section of the trail on the way down.

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