White Mountain Peak
By: Dale Van Dalsem
I needed the peak for the second time for the postponed double-double list finish, and friend Anni needed the peak, although she doesn't realize that yet. A phone call to the NFS ranger station in Bishop at (619) 873-4207 revealed it was O.K to mountain bike up this peak. A call to the Barcroft Lab at (619) 873-8990 revealed that there was just one snow bank on the summit, so we loaded 2 Trek 720 hybrid ("cross") bicycles into ON ON, the tired Toyota & got away about 6 P.M. Friday.
Somehow, we didn't get to the locked gate at ll,700 until 1 A.M., so we started up the road at 9:30 A.M. with daybags & Trek 720's. Altitude & a rocky road, combined with 700X35C tires, (1.46" diameter, somewhere between the skinny tires on a road bike and the fat knobbies on a REAL mountain bike.), meant that we mostly pushed our bikes up the steep grade before the Barcroft Lab. Anni left hers before the lab; I pushed on & was able to pedal most of the long, gentle rise after the lab, steep rise, & first drop. I abandoned my bike at the start of the final dip in the road before the peak & walked from there. I got to the top 3.5 hrs after the gate, ten minutes after Anni. We spent 30 minutes on top a placed a new register, which is probably full by the time you read this!
On the way down, one mountain biker was going down into the last dip, intending to try the summit grade. Perhaps 6 or 7 others had left their bikes just before that final dip, and were walking the last dip & summit grade. I was back at the truck less than two hours after leaving the summit, getting 2 great, long rides. Anni was 35 minutes behind, riding the last mile only. Totals, less summit time: 5.5 hrs mostly biking, 6 hrs mostly hiking.
Glad I took the bike; had a broken toe & severe heel bruise and the bike helped - and it was faster. Do I like & recommend the hybrid or cross bicycles? No! Consumer Reports loved them in their Nov. '90 Issue, and they're probably fine for White Plains, N.Y. In California, they combine the worst features of mountain bikes & road bikes! As a road bike, they're too heavy, the bars don't let you get into the drop position to cut wind resistance, and the fatter, lower pressure tires have significantly more rolling resistance than a decent road bike. As a mountain bike, we could have used, the knobby, twice-as-fat real mountain bike tires!
Could other DPS peaks be biked? Patterson, certainly & probably Navajo, & New York Butte to the summit block via Swansea Grade or from Cerro Gordo. Anyplace there's a closed jeep road. Trails? No, especially if damp. Ruts accelerate erosion!
Epilog: In September, 1980, Jackie & I joined Art Blauvelt's trip to White Mtn. Betsy Lutz got oxygen at Barcroft Lab & some local redneck shot off the lock on the gate. The next day, Jon & Betsy & Jackie & I drove Jackie's almost-new pickup up the Bloody Mtn 4WD road & John & I bagged the peak. We stopped in Independence on the way home I reported witnessing the lock shoot-off a license number. Mono County deputies & others had apprehended Rudy Redneck, but we were on-call for this trial. He plea-bargained for a $500 fine & probation. Art & Jackie are no longer with us, but Jon & Betsy & ON ON still are!
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