The usual road to White Mountain Peak is closed about thirty miles from the peak in the winter, so I had to find a totally different route. In October 1994, my partner, Jerry, and I scouted a possible winter route from Chalfant Valley. We drove north from Bishop on highway 6 and then followed a dirt road as far up Millner Creek as we could, parking at about 6,700 feet.
We hiked up an abandoned mining road past a mine and then headed up and south until we were on the first ridge south of Millner Creek. We followed this ridge east, traversing around the north of Mt. Barcroft. We eventually found the road that leads to White Mountain Peak and followed it north to the summit. This seemed to be a good potential winter route. We descended on the ridge between Jeffrey Mine Canyon and Millner Creek, which turned out to be a much harder route.
When the time came to try the winter ascent, Jerry couldn't go. I ended up going with Peter, an Australian climber I had recently met. Friday night, we drove to the same point where Jerry and I had started up in October. Saturday morning, we skied and climbed up the route. A short section of class three rock was especially difficult with heavy packs and skis on our backs. We set up our bivy camp at about 11,500 and ate dinner while enjoying the view of Bishop over 7,000 feet below.
Sunday morning we climbed, mostly on skis, to the summit. It was so warm that I reached the summit wearing just long johns and a turtleneck. Peter had never been higher than Mt. Cook in New Zealand, and had a little trouble with the altitude. After a long break, we skied back to camp. We had to take off our skis and hike across several sections where there wasn't any snow. By the time we took another break and packed our gear, it was getting late. We skied and hiked down the ridge until it was too dark to ski safely. We took off our skis, plunge-stepped down the north side of the ridge to the mining road, and hiked back to the truck in the dark.
No comments posted yet.