White Mountain Peak
By: Jon Inskeep
Light sprinkles fell on the group camped Thursday night at Grandview Campground north of Westgard Pass. The clouds must have been right at ground level as the skies alternately cleared and became overcast with amazing speed. Fish Lake Valley was sunny Friday morning at the 9 a.m. meeting time as seven of us in four vehicles headed up Indian Creek Road in pursuit of Bill Clifton who had gone ahead the night before. Five miles from the paved highway we crossed Indian Creek; a mile farther the road divided and a note from Bill directed us up the left fork, toward the Green Monster Mine (Mt. Barcroft quad). After two more miles we abandoned the only two wheel drive vehicle and proceeded up using both four wheel drive and compound low gears. By 10:30 we had negotiated another mile or two of steep overgrown mountain road and arrived at Bill's Jeep at 8700' elevation.
After some time studying map and compass we hiked up the badly eroded remainder of the road to the top of the ridge which we followed west. It was a hot, brushy trip to the eastern end of Chiatovich Flats. This route parallels about 1/4 mile east, the trail shown on the topo. A lunch break at the high point before reaching the flats was punctuated by light rain and finally terminated by nearby bolts of lightning. As we approached the "cabin" at 9700' on Cabin Creek we were met by Bill. This is open, rolling country, but the hundred or so head of cattle in the flat were a surprise as there is no obvious way in or out for them. We did little Friday afternoon excepting clearing away of meadow muffins and pitching tents and tarps. The cabin offers no protection as it is only a foundation of four logs. The rain continued on and off through the night with a spectacular lightning show. Saturday morning the rain continued; The Whites were in clouds down to about 11000'. We cancelled the climb, not only because of the weather but because it had become apparent that the climb was understated in the write-up (8 miles round trip, 3200' gain). Since the camp was at 9700', the gain was obviously at least 4500' and the summit appeared to be a good 6 to 7 miles away. Upon inspecting the ridge after reaching the highway, we discovered that from camp we couldn't even see the summit! We had apparently been looking at Peak 13908, with the real summit still another mile away. The drive home Saturday was through torrential rains in the Owens Valley all the way to Red Rock Canyon. One vehicle descended the western, slope via Silver Canyon Road which was in good condition for four wheel drive. Cabin Creek is a very pleasant area for backpacking and camping, but as an approach to White Mountain it is not easy, and the weather is unpredictable this time of year.
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