Black Mountain


By: Wynne Benti


This named peak is visible from Bishop's other side. Black Mtn is passed by Hwy 395 at the south end of the White Mountains. The occasional DPS-led party formerly climbed it from the east.

Ed Zdon Senior and I drove to the intersection of Black Cyn and Marble Cyn and then sought out the beginning of the mine trail shown on the Blanco Mtn 15' sheet. The weather was again sunny and without a hint of chill in the air. By now the Sierra snow of November was thinning and, in fact, the White Mtn road was driveable all the way to the locked gate.

The mine trail on the northwest side of the peak is where the topo says it is but its start is not seen from the road. The trail begins within the canyon behind rock shelters dating from the original mining camp. After arriving at a substantial inclined prospect we climbed upward on broken and fossil-bearing limestone. We topped out just west of the 9083' summit. The true summit appears to be 30 yards east of where the VABM plates are anchored.

A register book was placed in 1990 by a person who then laboriously hand-copied many pages of earlier climbs which he had found on scraps of disintegrating paper. Following the first transcribed entry involving Gordon MacLeod and Barbara Lilly in 1976, I read with interest about my own first climb of the peak, in February 1977, then in the company of Mike Manchester. Andy Zdon's name was incorrectly spelled in his 1987 entry and this elicited the inked-in comment by Ed that "My son doesn't know how to spell his own name!". We determined later that this was a misunderstanding during the transcription process. Climb stats: 3 mi, 3500', 3.6 hrs (out-of-shape).

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