White Mountain Peak: From leisurely 14er to Doom's day

White Mountain Peak: From leisurely 14er to Doom's day

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Oct 7, 2006
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Easy Fourteener

We were planning on doing Whitney a week later, so we decided to head up to White Mountain Peak for some altitude exposure over the weekend. It's the third highest mountain in CA, standing 14,246 feet tall. It is also the easiest 14er to hike in CA; the trailhead is at roughly 11700 feet. So, a perfect match for our goal!

Friday Oct 6th 2006

I left work at noon and took off with Chrissy to meet up with Eric in Northridge, CA. As he's blessed with a company truck, we decided to take his ride. By night time we met up with Allen where the 14 highway meets up with US395. He was swamped with work but as usual, I could tempt him to another high country adventure (and an adventure it shall be...) ...
MoonriseMoonrise just at the junction of the 14 and 395 highways.

It was already dark when we hit the dirt road up to the Grandview Campground (8500 feet). When we rolled in, the temperature had dropped to about 38 degrees but it was a beautiful night with crisp and clear skies. We set up our tents and decided to still make a campfire. With gloves and a hat, it was actually pretty enjoyable. We had some beers and snacks and laughed and chatted the night away. Turned out to be a fun camping night! It was past midnight when we hit the sack.

Saturday Oct 7th 2006 - A quick hike ... NOT...

Around 8am we woke up to a mild frost. After a quick and chilly breakfast, we broke up camp and were on our way to the trailhead. The views of the High Sierra were absolutely awesome and I immediately recognized Middle Palisade. That's one of those peaks that fascinates me. Probably because
The palisadesWhat a great view of the Palisades!
it was the first 14er I saw up close and it looked truly impressive to me. We got out and snapped a few pics.

10:30am, 27 degrees. Ready to leave the trailhead! It's one of those beautiful days with a mixture of clouds and blue skies. Looking at the dirt road, it looked like cakewalk but the altitude was very noticeable!
Mystic CloudsThe clouds created a mystic atmosphere.
The hike turned out to be rather mystic getting higher up. A moon landscape combined with clouds floating around us. A little past the 2nd Observatory, we were walking in the clouds and it started snowing. About half way to the switchbacks, there was snow on the road up to about a foot in places. With poor visibility and snow getting heavier, Eric decided to turn around. It was agreed that we would continue to the summit and meet up with him back at the truck.

Close to the switchbacks (13200') the snow got really heavy and we weren't sure if it was really worth it to continue to the summit; we wouldn't be
Frosty!Chrissy and Allen encountering some heavy snow.
able to see anything anyway. Moreover we realized Eric's truck is only 2wd and we had no chains... Ok, it's below freezing, snowing hard and we have a 2wd vehicle at almost 12000 feet... Time to turn around! No need to get stuck up there!

Getting closer to the trailhead, the clouds partly broke up. Oh my, what a scene! Black clouds mixed with sun and a very bright white landscape! I tried taking several pictures but as usual, it didn't do justice to it.
When we got back to the truck, I was actually pretty tired and shivering
Clouds breaking upClouds are breaking up. What a scene!
from the cold. It's one of those days where I didn't eat enough again. Oh well, who cares if it is 23 degrees, we were back in the warm truck and would probably be sitting down for dinner around 6pm. Wohow!

The drive back... the 'fun' begins...

TWO flat tiresTWO flat tires!
We were driving back over the dirt road. The snow was very patchy. Some parts of the road were dry, others were covered with several inches of snow. It was a little scary driving up the steeper snowy hills but the powdery snow provided excellent traction and soon we were past the snow zone. It was just cruising now!

All of a sudden the drive got a little rougher and Eric suspected we had a flat tire. I could feel it too; Eric slowed down and pulled to the side of the road. I immediately saw the flat tire in the side mirror. We got out of the car and assessed the damage. Yep, the right rear tire was entirely flat. Crap, it's cold and we're hungry. Oh well, let's change the tire and get it over it. I turned around to go get my gloves and ... OH NO! The front one is flat too!! Now what!?

What are our options? Well, it's pretty simple 1) get a spare tire and bring it back up here or 2) get towed to civilization. As a responsible salesman, Eric has a premium AAA membership, so we decided to try to get a tow. Let's give them a call... Oh, wait..., of course, no cell phone reception! Well, looks like we're dependent on other car traffic...
Finally a small truck rolled up. As Eric would have to be the guy calling AAA, he decided to ride in the cab of the truck to phone reception. Allen joined him; I was freezing cold and in case we had to spend the night in the truck, it seemed logic that I stayed with my fiancee...

Off they were and we waited in the truck, occasionally firing it up to heat up the cab. It was kind of peaceful and the stormy sunset above the Palisades was nothing short of stunning! Time went by slowly and soon it was dark. Being past 6pm, I thought Allen and Eric would spend the night in town and come back in the morning. I didn't think AAA would come all the way up here. Chrissy and I got our sleeping bags out of the back and prepared for a long night...

The rescue... sort of...

Around 6pm I saw 2 faint headlights making their way up to our truck! AAA, wohow, finally! Food and a bed are coming closer to reality again (well, that's what I thought).
Allen looked pretty miserable. Apparently they had been waiting outside the ranger station until the tow truck showed up (it was about 20 degrees now). He got in the truck and together with Eric, I spent some time outside. The tow truck driver had to look for tools under the back seat anyway. He didn't have a spare tire, so he decided to put the two good tires on the front and tow us out backwards. Oh, and he advised us that Allen, Chrissy and I had to sit in the truck. Oh well, no problem, let's get rolling! Nobody could sit behind the steering wheel, so Allen and I sat in the back seat. If you've been in a truck, you know the back seats are pretty straight and with the vehicle been towed backwards, ... you pretty much lean forward causing pressure on your lower back. It was uncomfortable from the start and only... 3 HOURS later we arrived in Bishop. 10pm, nice! We all felt pretty miserable and I was starving by now. Good thing we were back in town; let's get some food and hit the sack... or not?

Some food and ... a bed... maybe?

The tow truck driver was kind enough to drive us into town with five people packed in the front. Luckily it was only 2 miles from the tire shop. We walked into a motel right across from Denny's (forgot the name). "A room for four please!" The lady looked at us a little concerned when she said there was no availability. Oh well, let's call some other ones then! "Uh, everything from Bishop down to Lone Pine will be fully booked", she said. What?! Apparently there was a classic car show going on AND a western filmfestival down in Lone Pine! What are the odds?!? So, I guess we'll have to stay up all night or walk 2 miles back to the truck to sleep in it? Both options sucked!
Thank God Denny's was open 24 hours! At least we could get some food. Going through our options (we did NOT look forward to a sleepless night), Eric decided to call AAA again. They would pay for a room if we could find one. Hmm, what about Mammoth? A few phone calls later, we found availability in Mammoth, finally!! Oh wait, we can't get there... A cab!! Oh, there are none in Bishop! Frustration... again!!
Somehow Eric found a private shuttle service in Mammoth. As they weren't too busy, they would hook us up with a ride for $100 each way. Great!! They picked us up around 12:30am.

Getting to the motel, we took a quick shower and by 2am, this day finally ended... Didn't look like Allen would get his work done on Sunday...

The Aftermath

I don't want to make this trip report too much longer but the trouble wasn't completely over yet:

* In the morning, Eric's fleet company couldn't authorize the replacement of the tires. Apparently after hours and on weekends they didn't work. What?! So, we were risking to be charged for the repair... After almost 2 hours of call transfers and discussions, we couldn't convince them...
* When we got to the tire shop, they managed to put the two new tires on one side of the truck?! Consequence; they had to take everything back off and realign the thing...
* I got home on Sunday 8pm; a day late...

I guess it could've been worse... Hmmm, really? :)


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-19 of 19

Luciano136 - Nov 3, 2006 4:56 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice...

Thx Peter!


EManBevHills - Nov 3, 2006 1:41 pm - Hasn't voted

That'l learn ya!

Hey, Bruno.
No wonder it took you a while to put this together -- you didn't want to re-live the adventure!
Nice job on the TR, BTW. Great pic of the storm breaking up,too!


Luciano136 - Nov 3, 2006 4:57 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: That'l learn ya!

No kidding! Thx for the comment Eman!


Kerstin - Nov 3, 2006 3:50 pm - Hasn't voted


I've always wondered what would happen if I had car trouble on that road. Now I know. I think I'll bring two spare tires if I ever hike White Mountain again!

What a day!


Luciano136 - Nov 3, 2006 4:59 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Ugh!

...or just get off-road tires. Apparently, GM's stock tires are pretty crappy we later found out... Thx for reading!

Augie Medina

Augie Medina - Nov 8, 2006 6:32 pm - Voted 10/10

Good Story Telling

The moral seems to be: if you think things can't get worse, think again. Always got to be prepared for life to throw you some curves.


Luciano136 - Nov 8, 2006 10:19 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Good Story Telling

Thx! And always when you expect it the least :)


rice - Nov 8, 2006 9:01 pm - Hasn't voted




Luciano136 - Nov 8, 2006 10:20 pm - Hasn't voted


Crazy! And it looks like such a smooth road...


kngalaric - Nov 9, 2006 4:27 am - Voted 10/10

You go too easy on the room situation

It would have been a smooth road had we taken my Toyota.

Yeah, and call it logic if you want, your lazy ass just wanted to kick it in the car. ;-)


Luciano136 - Nov 9, 2006 4:59 am - Hasn't voted

Re: You go too easy on the room situation

You betcha ;-)! I guess it's either off-road tires or a slooow drive.


shknbke - Nov 9, 2006 5:53 am - Hasn't voted

glad you made it!

Glad you, your fiancee, and friends made it out Bruno! Looking forward to hiking with you on Baldy in a month.



Luciano136 - Nov 9, 2006 6:06 am - Hasn't voted

Re: glad you made it!

Thx! Sure thing Kevin! I've got the date reserved! Looking forward to it!


spinnerallen - Nov 9, 2006 8:48 am - Hasn't voted

Deja Vu

I had almost exactly the same thing happen to me down in Death Valley, at the trailhead of Marble Mountain. Limped 6 miles down a gravel road on the rim before I could call AAA, and they wouldn't offer assistance until you are back on a paved road. Lukily, it wasn;t the Film Festval Weekend (for the record, the Lone Pine Film Festival is always the first weekend in October. You should always plan around it, just like Mule Days in Bishop.)
It's like the old man says, "All great adventures begin and end in the dark."


Luciano136 - Nov 10, 2006 5:50 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Deja Vu

It's one of those things you don't always think about and of course it happens when least expected!


forjan - Nov 10, 2006 2:02 am - Hasn't voted

Up high, things change quickly...

It just goes to show ya how quickly things change. I mountain biked White Mtn a day earlier (Fri. Oct 6th, 2006). You'll get it next time.
--Miguel Forjan


Luciano136 - Nov 10, 2006 5:54 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Up high, things change quickly...

I never have very much luck with mountains and weather; ironically enough Shasta seemed to be an exception.


Luciano136 - Nov 11, 2006 8:15 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Stupid

Good thing you know everything and always carry two spare tires in your truck. Judging people without knowing them is a risky thing my friend... If you have any more 'constructive' feedback, I'd be happy to explain you a few things in private.

Too bad natural selection doesn't take care of know-it-all jackasses...


kngalaric - Nov 11, 2006 11:55 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Stupid

Let's see dingleberry, I've only lived right by the White Mountains, and have been up there too many times to count. Welcome again to a new pompous member who thinks he knows everything.

I've never had a problem in any of my vehicles, let alone two flat tires simultaneously. What are the odds of that, you sh*theel? Did we need SAR? I don't think so.

Can you read moron, or do you have trouble since you amputated your penis and ate it for sustenance on one of your rescues?

Did you read? We turned around when things got sketchy. Oh I forgot, you used to scan with your penis to read , because your fingers were always jammed up your arse and nose. Now, it is impossible for you to be able to read.

What an a-hole you are!

I doubt you quit search and rescue, you probably got too fat, and everyone couldn't stand you so they kicked you off the all volunteer team. Why don't you do us a favor and go get lost in the woods?

That's rhetorical, dickless.

Viewing: 1-19 of 19