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#198121 - 04/11/17 04:04 PM California's White Mountain Traverse
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
My daughter is graduating from college in June, and she suggested she would like to go on a backpacking trip with me right after. She has been backpacking before, and I have shown her pictures of this area (so she won't be shocked by the lack of trees). We are just going up to Pellisier Flats to check out the plants, animals, and native american signs (hunting blinds ect. Don't worry, not going to take anything but pictures.), although it would be cool to head over to Boundary Peak. I'm thinking easiest way to do this is essentially as an in and out from our parked car. Maybe there is an easier way to do this. Any other thoughts, or suggestions on this trip? We will bag on the trip and do a plan B if the weather looks bad.

She's in pretty good shape at 22 years old, and has backpacked with her friends in the Sierra Nevada Mtns.

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#198124 - 04/11/17 06:42 PM Re: California's White Mountain Traverse [Re: skcreidc]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
This year would be perfect for the White Mountains, because of the snowpack. In dry years, drinking water is a real problem.

Just a warning, once past White Mountain, going north, there are no roads; it can be quite rough and steep. It is really remote-the Sierra feels very civilized compared to the White Mountains. It is difficult to get all the way to Boundary Peak - steep class 3-4 stuff.

I've done four trips; climb White Mountain from the south (the standard road walk), up Chiatovitch Creek attempting to traverse to Boundary Peak, up Leidy Creek attempting to climb White Mountain from the north. I ended up driving back out and going in Trail Canyon to get Boundary Peak. The Leidy Creek trip was weathered out- I probably could have done it if I was more aware of the wierd weather - nothing like anything I have ever been in - horribly threatening thunderheads that puff out of existence then rebuild. It freaked me out enough that I backed off. If there is snow on the ground, it also is really wierd - walk on an icy crust early then it becomes like fluff that you sink into to your waist. Really hard conditions. And LOTS of elevation gain, REALLY steep, high altitudes. Windy, cold as hell!

Ran into lots of rattle snakes lower down.

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#198125 - 04/11/17 06:45 PM Re: California's White Mountain Traverse [Re: skcreidc]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
By the way, Boundary Peak is no easy walk. It has steep snow- I used crampons and ice axe. I would not do it with snow unless you know what you are doing.

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#198128 - 04/12/17 09:02 AM Re: California's White Mountain Traverse [Re: wandering_daisy]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Thanks for the response W_D. These are all good points you've brought up and I need to seriously consider these before I take her up to a place like this. I think Michaela and I will have to have another planning session soon.

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#198129 - 04/12/17 11:02 AM Re: California's White Mountain Traverse [Re: skcreidc]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
When I walked White Mountain on the road, I camped at the trailhead. Late that evening I saw a van with several people arrive, two of the group lurched out of the van and immediately threw up. They had drived from San Diego. That is a quick trip to 12,000 feet! A lot of people get really sick. I did not do that climb until end of the season, and immediately after a 10-day trip in the Sierra.

The White Moutains Traverse is a serious mountainering undertaking. Conditions are brutal and really differnt from the Sierra.

There is a high altitude research station/ weather station on the road (from the south), near the top. You can google into that website and see neat graphs of the winds! Lots of good data there. They do all sorts of high altitude projects.

How about going in from the Bristlecone Forest? Lots of great stuff down lower to acclimate a few days, great campsites, and then you can do the road walk to White Mountain. This is a good introduction to the White Mountains.

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#198131 - 04/12/17 02:03 PM Re: California's White Mountain Traverse [Re: wandering_daisy]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
I had originally planned to hike the Bristlecone pines on the first day, then sleep lower and try to ease into the higher elevation. What you say makes sense tho, so I'll look into this version of the trip with my daughter. Bottom line, I want her to enjoy herself on this trip. And thanks for also reminding me about Barcroft Station.

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#198169 - 04/17/17 11:08 PM Re: California's White Mountain Traverse [Re: skcreidc]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California

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#198480 - 06/15/17 09:13 AM Re: California's White Mountain Traverse [Re: wandering_daisy]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Thanks WD. I've seen this guided trip as well, when I was researching doing my own variation of the traverse a few years ago now. I did the traverse to Boundary Peak in a heavier than normal snow year then, but apparently it was nothing like this year. The road is still closed from Schulman Grove on.

So the current plan is to drive up and spend 2 days getting acclimated/ hiking/ conditions. She's never used snowshoes or "snow camped", so we will be prepared to do these things and do an overnighter to White Mountain. I was told by the Ranger Station we could just leave an itinerary in the front window of the car and go. Even if we don't need the snowshoes at the start, we will bring them along just in case. If it seems too much for her, we will just turn back and I'm going to bring enough food for 2 days just in case.

This is also sort of a shake down trip for me, as I plan to get on Ellingwood Ledges with a friend of mine later this summer; either late July or early August. Last August I took a lead fall and broke my ankle, so I'm just getting moving again so to speak. I have been hiking a lot for prep so the ankles good to go and there will be plenty of snow to ice it with smile

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