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White Mountain

September 2nd- 2012

It took us two attempts but we made White Mounatin and FINISHED THE 14ers!!..

Also known as “We'll try it in the snow and if it don't go, then we'll try it in the sun....."

Those present:  Adrian Crane, Deborah Steinberg, Carey Gregg,.

Pictures on Flicker

White Mountain - September 1st, 2nd and 3rd.. 2012. Whoops and Hollers.

Whoops and Hollers. Thirteen of us summitted White Mountain on Sunday September the 3rd to complete the Climb For a Cure California 14ers. Deborah and Adrian made their 15th 14,000 ft summit and thus completed all the 14,000 foot peaks in california. On to Mt Rainier! White Mountain is the last 14er for the Climb for a Cure team, and it was a not so easy 14 mile round trip The group travelled to Bishop near the mountain on Saturady after a Friday evening acclimatisation camp at 10'000 ft on Sonora Pass or 6,000ft in Bridgeport. We then camped at the trailhead at 11,000 ft after a gentle hike around the Patriach Grove of Bristlecone pines with great views from the White Mountain ridge out over the Sierra Mountains to the west or the Great Basin and Nevada to the East. On Sunday we hiked to the summit. Because of the altitude we moved slowly and it took five hours but all 13 of us reached the hot and dry summit. We celebrated with pictures and champagne on the top then returned to the trailhead. Thank you to everyone for their support and interest in our project. We have all been touched by this terrible disease with relatives and loved ones suffering. Deborah and I believe that basic research will help find the cures for cancer and that is why we have chosen to support STOP Cancer.

White Mountain proved a good final mountain with our failed attempt in January and then our successful climb in September.Pictures to follow.

January attempt: On Friday January 27th 2012 we did start up White Mountain from the West. This, the last of our 14ers, was to be a challenge in winter with the approach roads closed. It could be very cold and windy on top. Deborah, Adrian, Carey Gregg and Derek Castle made up the group. After a rough dirt road from Hwy 6 near Bishop to a trail head, we followed a narrow foot trail into the canyon and soon reached the remains of the lower mining camp of the abandoned Champion Spark Plug mine. After a quick look at the interesting remains and the slightly renovated cabins we continued up a poor but fun trail to the upper camp perched in a high side valley. This camp was next to the diggings and many tunnels and shafts riddled the hillside and cliffs. A couple of cabins were still barely standing and we lunched in one of them. Our route up the western ridges seemed to be rarely travelled and so we had found no trip notes or trail maps. Thus we followed the only existing routes which led through the abandoned mine camps. We hoped that there might be a trail heading on upward from the upper mine camp but we found only traces for a few hundred yards beore everything evaported into the dry scrub and snow on the top of the ridge. At least we were on the ridge top though and surely it must be plain sailing up these ridges as they coalesced and eventually connected with the summit ridge 5000 ft above. We struggled up the ridge through sparse stunted juniper with full packs for a couple of hours and then made our camp at a convienient clearing on one of the few flat spots on the ridge. Ahead, the ridge looked broken and rocky as it rose to the first knoll that we could see but it probably improved beyond, we thought. A 50/50 chance of success agreed Derek and Adrian as we lay in the tent that evening. We got a good start at 5:30 am on Saturday mroning and followed the crest but it immediately became a full contact scramble with large boulders, thin treacherous snow cover and thick brush. After 2 and a half hours we had made a half mile progress and Derek and Ados agreed that the 'summit likelehood meter' was now done to 10%. Two hours later with no imporvement in the state of the ridge line and only more ahead, our spirits were as low as our 'summit likelehood meter'. We realized that there was no way we could make it to the top and back before dark and any time on this terrain during the return journey in the dark would be terribly slow. The weather was great but we knew we also had to allow for the chance of poor weather coming in and it was not prudent to committ ourselves to the kind of return journey that the day might end with. So we turned around and retraced our steps. The silver lining was that we packed up camp and moved down to the cabins at the lower mining camp where we had a delightful second night on the mountain in relative comfort. So White Mountain, the last 14er to summit for the Climb for a Cure team, and an easy walk-up, IF you do it in summer, proved to be a fun if tough challenge and got the better of us. We will re-group!

 Adrian Crane and Deborah Steinberg

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