White Mountain Peak, Black Mountain, Keynot Peak


By: Bill Henderson


Bob Bear and Stan Migley the trip in Migley's jeep. On Saturday they drove nearly to the end of the Navy road on White Mtn. And ascended to the summit of White Mtn. Peak in 1-1/2 hours. On Sunday they climbed Black Mtn. at the end of a long ridge loading west from Westgard Pass. Bob states, "there is a respectable mnt. road most of the way out to the Mtn. giving access to a recently-operated mine. From the end of the road it is an easy 2 hour walk around Black Mtn's twin summit (only 10 ft. to 20 ft. lower) to the 9075' peak with a fair trail all the way."

Bob and Stan then spent their remaining day climbing Keynot, 11,125' peak in the Inyo Mtns., north of New York Butte. Bob's account follows: "On Monday, we got an early start to climb Mt. Keynot, fearing it might prove a tough climb for one day. We drove the jeep to the end of a rough desert road up the wash draining the west face of Keynot to on elevation of about 5300'. (Road shown on Mt. Whitney Quadrangle just northeast of Owenyo). Very shortly after leaving the car we mounted the ridge splitting the 2 main forks of the canyon end followed its somewhat dog-leg course all the way to the main N-S crest of the Inyos at about 10,000'. Then we followed the crest S about a mile to the summit. Here, there was much evidence of prior visits including 3 cairns, 2 wood triangles, and numerous dry batteries. On one wooden triangle was a handwritten evidence that someone called the peak "Monarch". On this largely trailless, loose rock route, two fast climbers ascended in 5 hours and descended in 2 hours."

Purely by coincidence, and on the same weekend, Marie and Eleanor Smith, and Fritz Sloman made nearly the same trip as Bob and Stan, only in reverse order. It was on Saturday that Fritz, Marie, and Eleanor climbed Keynot. They used a different route. Starting from French's Spring (take dirt road east, halfway between Mt. Whitney Station and Owenyo) in the big canyon south of the one Bob and Stan used, they made use of a good 8 mile long trail all the way to the top. Fritz ran on to this trail several months ago when he climbed New York Butte from French's Spring. The group found a sketch map, thrown away very recently by the Geological survey, which diagramed the half dozen or so major triangulation points in North East California. One of the points was "Monarch". Checking the latitude and Longitude, given on the sketch with the topo map, "Monarch" turned out to be peak 11,125 ft. elevation, or what has been known as Keynot. So it looks like the new maps will call it "Monarch"

The next day, the three drove to the end of the Navy road on White Mtn. and climbed White Mtn. Peak. Fritz said it was no fun at all, with the new road to take you most of the way. I will certainly agree with him.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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