White Mountain Peak, Waucoba Mountain


By: Ron Jones


A group of 15 desert climbers met at the Big Pine roadside camp Saturday morning ready to start the drive up White Mountain ending at the locked gate at 11,700 feet. The sky was gray with a high overcast and there was a strong wind. I had written the Barcroft Lab some time earlier asking that they show us about and explain their function as a laboratory for the University of California. The two persons in residence for the winter were very hospitable, served coffee to us all, showed us the facility and explained the two on-going experiments in high elevation rabbit breeding and marmot hibernation. Earlier experiments have yielded a strain of chicken which grows well at high elevations arid is a satisfactory egg producer. This bird is being introduced to natives living at high elevations throughout the world. The staff people at the lab told us that the USGS had recently made a laser beam resurvey of the area and White Mtn. was now found to be the second highest peak in California, 14,411.08 feet.

Braving a 20 to 30 knot wind with air temperatures of 32 degrees we followed the road (where a nice indian point was found) and the trail to the summit and back to the lab where we were again given coffee and one climber was restored from the effects of rapid elevation gain, the cold weather and smoking by 15 or 20 minutes of oxygen inhalation. It was so cold that the expected camp and evening fire were forgotten and the night spent in Lone Pine.

The next morning we took the Waucoba-Saline Valley turnoff from the Westgard Pass Road, down through Marble Canyon and to about 7300 feet on the south end of Whipperwill Flat. Here we were met by Elliott Snyder who had driven down from Sparks Nevada. The day was a real contrast with Saturday and the weather was clear and sunny. A relaxed and routine climb was made of Waucoba.

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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