Successfully topped out on White Rock Peak on a perfect late winter day in Red Rocks! After a failed attempt a few weeks earlier my hiking partner Lee and I returned better prepared and even had a bit of a game plan. The first of which was to start earlier! The first time around we started too late and didn't have enough time to bag the summit before dark. We didn't realize how much it was going to take to finish this thing. For a minor object which doesn't even look all that impressive compared to the monoliths to it's south, this little peak packs a serious punch!
The hard work was totally worth it though. The ascent was one of the more fun things I've done to this point. Lot's of scrambling which I love! Just watch out for loose rock. The sandstone around White Rock Mountain can be surprisingly loose in some sections. I wouldn't trust anything without first judging and testing it. That said there was a ton of fun scrambling with lots of different options available.
On our first attempt we traversed the northern section of the mountain and descended the gully. We wanted to try a different route so this time around we took the northern ridge that leads to White Rock Spring Peak and cut left beneath the large cliff on that peaks southern face. This was simply a matter of scrambling down a gully and traversing over to the saddle. This was a much more enjoyable route then the gully or traverse options and although you do lose some elevation that you eventually have to regain, it was well worth. And lots of fun! The biggest risk on this section of the route was rockfall CAUSED BY US, so there were a few instances where I would descend as Lee waited above and waited for me to clear the gully (which was more like a chute). As long as good judgment and care are taken I saw no problem with this route. I've read here on SP that it looks impossible to traverse this section of the mountain but it isn't! And it's actually quite fun!
From there we traversed the saddle and scrambled the rest of the route to the peak of White Rock Mountain.
The descent felt a bit long and tedious simply because we were pretty darn tired by that point. We retraced our steps back to the saddle and began the traverse below White Rock Spring Peak. By this time we weren't feeling like climbing back up the chute to the ridge line so we just decided to traverse along the slope until we finally descended.
Overall this was a great hiking/scrambling adventure but I'm not sure I'll be doing it again unless there's a really good reason! This thing is a thrasher! And it's definitely not easy! That said if you haven't done it you should - you will definitely feel accomplished afterwards! At least for a little while…
"So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's on the worst day of my life."
--Peter Gibbons (Office Space)