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#54319 - 09/23/18 07:49 PM White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 235
Loc: California
So after bagging 8 14ers in Colorado, I figure that I need to work on my California 14er count. And now that I have a Jeep instead of a Mustang, I should be able to deal with the road to the White Mountain Peak trail head.

Has anyone been up there recently and can give me a scoop on anything I should be aware of. Looks like the road is open and barring bad weather, I may go as early as next weekend.

I'll also take the time to see some fall color while I'm in the area. I was thinking about the Bishop Creek Area, but any suggestions are welcome as well as any info on how colorful it's gotten and likely to get in the next week.

Thanks.
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#54320 - 09/23/18 09:48 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: WanderingJim]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7595
Loc: Fresno, CA
I think the Rock Creek road starting up from Crowley Lk will take you through colorful zones, since it climbs to 10k.

Fall colors are epic farther north -- north of Mammoth. June Lakes Loop, Lee Vining Canyon, Lundy Lake canyon. Also Conway summit north toward Bridgeport.

...but I don't know exactly when they are at their peak. Sometime in October, I think.

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#54322 - 09/24/18 04:21 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Steve C]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 210
Loc: San Diego
I drove down from Redding to Lone Pine yesterday. Aspen were all yellow up north of Susanville. The aspen groves at Conway Summit were just starting to get yellow around their edges.

Frost on the grass along Cottonwood Creek below Horseshoe Meadow this morning.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#54333 - 09/26/18 03:34 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: WanderingJim]
Oleh Offline


Registered: 09/21/18
Posts: 5
Loc: California, USA
Can I make to TH with Toyota Corolla? If not, can you give me a ride on your new Jeep this coming weekend? I am willing to help with gas.

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#54334 - 09/26/18 04:29 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Oleh]
illyav Offline


Registered: 08/24/16
Posts: 18
Loc: California
Oleh, I was surprised to see a Honda Civic at the TH this past summer, the guy said he just drove really slow. Everything else was truck and SUV. I guess it's doable but not recommended since the dirt road is riddled with holes and large rocks as well as sharp rocks.
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#54343 - 09/27/18 02:35 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Oleh]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 235
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Oleh
Can I make to TH with Toyota Corolla? If not, can you give me a ride on your new Jeep this coming weekend? I am willing to help with gas.


I'm still not certain I'll be going and which day I'd go up WMP.

I was thinking Sunday to allow time to acclimatize and see some color.

But there's some weather moving in late Monday and into Tuesday. That might make Saturday a better choice in case the weather decides to show up Sunday, but that would only give me one night at some kind of altitude.

Might come down to how I feel tomorrow.
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#54354 - 09/28/18 09:01 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: WanderingJim]
Oleh Offline


Registered: 09/21/18
Posts: 5
Loc: California, USA
Thank you for update about the weather forecast. Enjoy fall colors!

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#54355 - 09/28/18 09:27 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: illyav]
jaym Offline


Registered: 09/10/18
Posts: 6
Loc: San Pedro
I drove to the Trail Head in my Honda CRX. It was hell and killed off my plans to acclimitize there for my Whitney day hike. I went with full spare and donut spare, tire patch kit, electric air pump and a tarp for the Marmots. My car is even worse than a Stock CRX having:
  • Extra sway-bars that extend below the car (no clearance)
  • 2X stiffer springs
  • High performance shocks.
  • Stiff "Extreme performance" summer tires
  • Polyurethane Bushings.
  • Too high PSI in tires going in.


As you can imagine the vibration was extreme. Basically my sway-bars plowed the big rocks all up that road. I had problems on certain rock strewn hills where I did not have the torque (at 11,000+ feet) to go really slow in 1st gear. Some places I got out of the car and cleared the rocks. There are places where the drainage pipes are sticking out of the roadway. I had to ride the rock ridges instead of the troughs because of the low clearance and the rocks are piled up in the center of road. And then there are the washboards...
I went super slow (less than 10mph) took 1.5-2 hours but I did not get a flat.

Damage:
  • Sway-bar brackets crushed into wedges
  • Cracked windshield.
  • Strut mounts destroyed (wiggly)
  • Wheel alignment obviously trashed.
  • Mechanical speedo went crazy but fixed itself.
  • Two weeks later on my Whitney trip I had electrical problems (caused by the vibration fest?)


I recommending renting a Jeep Wrangler or something extreme and hope the rental company doesn't catch you.

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#54394 - 10/08/18 10:27 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: WanderingJim]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 235
Loc: California
Well, I did see some good fall color in Bishop Creek Canyon two weekends ago.

https://wandering.earth/2018/10/07/sierra-fall-colors-2018/

But unfortunately, my last second decision to go and try to do White Mountain Peak didn't go that well.

One flat tire, a rough night sleeping, and coming up short of the goal. frown

https://wandering.earth/2018/10/07/white-mountain-peak-2018/

Next year, for sure. Hopefully without a flat tire.
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#54395 - 10/09/18 05:03 AM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: WanderingJim]
Erling Offline


Registered: 03/29/18
Posts: 9
Loc: Norway
We have been thinking of going to White Mountain, preferably on friday. We have a Dodge Journey rental car which is a crossover/SUV. I think it is only front wheel drive. Will it be sensible to drive that road with such a car ? I am a little skeptic thinking about all the hazzle a flat tire may cause. And I am not sure we actually are allowed to drive a rental car on gravel roads. In case we go for it I must check that out.


Edited by Erling (10/09/18 05:04 AM)

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#54396 - 10/09/18 07:23 AM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Erling]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 235
Loc: California
There were regular cars that made it to the trail head, so it's possible to make it. Saw a couple bike riders come in as well over the road and then take the trail towards White Mountain Peak.

Take it slow and you may or may not make it. smile

I've been on rougher roads and the 1st half isn't that bad. The second half gets pretty rough and even going slow, I assume regular cars might hear a lot of scraping.
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#54399 - 10/09/18 08:52 AM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Erling]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7595
Loc: Fresno, CA
Erling: The rental agreement probably has some fine-print warning about taking it on remote roads. Just be careful, and make sure it has a good spare tire on board.

W-Jim: Sorry to hear you felt so bad. Since you didn't recover quickly on returning to lower altitude, you probably had a bug of some sort. Certainly the altitude added to the problem, but I'm thinking the bug is what made you turn around.

So why no pictures of the flat tire? grin

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#54400 - 10/09/18 09:15 AM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Steve C]
Scott Barnes Offline


Registered: 03/27/17
Posts: 5
Loc: California
It's been a while so the road may have changed considerably, but in 2015 I drove to the trailhead in a 1998 Mazda 626 and and scraped a rock once on the way out. In 2016 my friend drove her circa 2008 Chevy Malibu and didn't scrape anything. No idea whether the road has degraded in a meaningful way since then.

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#54402 - 10/09/18 09:29 AM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Steve C]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 235
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Steve C

So why no pictures of the flat tire? grin


I have them, but not going to post my Jeep's shame. smile
_________________________

http://wandering.earth

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#54414 - 10/10/18 06:45 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: WanderingJim]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 235
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: WanderingJim
Originally Posted By: Steve C

So why no pictures of the flat tire? grin


I have them, but not going to post my Jeep's shame. smile


Actually, I do have one online: IMG_0392 by Wandering Jim, on Flickr

smile It's the front passenger tire.
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http://wandering.earth

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#54424 - 10/12/18 06:52 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Steve C]
Erling Offline


Registered: 03/29/18
Posts: 9
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Erling: The rental agreement probably has some fine-print warning about taking it on remote roads. Just be careful, and make sure it has a good spare tire on board.

I was driving only about 1/2 mile on the gravel road. The road was too bad for a Dodge Journey in my opinion. Besides, the fine print says I could not drive on gravel roads. The warning about 1000 $ for towing help made the decision to stop quite easy. We did a hike in the bristlecone forest instead; very interesting.

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#54425 - 10/12/18 09:26 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Erling]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7595
Loc: Fresno, CA
Yes, the bristlecone pines are beautiful. One of a kind!

Reminds me... I visited Maui this summer, rented mountain bikes and took an awesome ride down the back side of Haleakala. Part of it was on a dirt road, and a rental car passed us. Soon after, it was stopped, with water leaking out from the engine. The driver had driven too fast over a big dip, and the front end hit the rise, tearing lots of stuff loose from underneath. I am sure the repairs would be over $1000.

...Which reminds me... I've always wanted to ride down the Silver Canyon 4wd road off of the White Mountain road. Finding someone to drive the shuttle has always been the problem.

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#54431 - 10/14/18 07:06 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Erling]
jaym Offline


Registered: 09/10/18
Posts: 6
Loc: San Pedro
And you hadn't even got to the fun parts.

Add a totally blown front strut to my list of White Mountain Road damage above (I still haven't totally fixed my car after 4 months due to waiting for parts).

If I run my car out of gas, I blame White Mountain Road!

I wish they would pave it or at least put down a nice thick layer of imported "stream bed gravel" instead of the razor blade "tire mutilator" gravel on there now. Its funny that there is that 3/4 mile of paved road before the Patriarch Grove. At 11,250 it is the highest paved road in CA!

They could name the parking lot before the gate with the bathroom "Altitude Acclimatization Campground" (11,700 feet).

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#54436 - 10/16/18 09:12 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Steve C]
PeteK. Offline


Registered: 03/07/17
Posts: 16
Loc: CA
Just rode UP Silver Cyn last week...what a beast!! About 5 hrs up and less than 1 hr down!! 6K total elev gain....had to hike-a-bike the last 4 miles up, too steep for us ol farts to ride.

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#54438 - 10/16/18 10:54 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: PeteK.]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7595
Loc: Fresno, CA
Wow, Pete! That's an incredible climb on a bike. I just want to ride the downhill part. grin

Just curious... where do you normally ride?

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#54439 - 10/17/18 12:17 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: WanderingJim]
marc g Offline


Registered: 05/21/14
Posts: 6
Loc: United States
White Mountain peak is mystical. It looks like a martian landscape and seems like it should be a breeze to walk up, given its gentle grade... but WMP is the only peak I've ever had full blown mountain sickness (twice!).
Maybe there is something about being jostled around on that horrendous trail for 2 hours that makes acclimatization more difficult. Sleep at 12k ft is not usually an issue for me, but is always awful for me at Barcroft area. I don't know why. Headaches are massive and striking sleep is difficult and nausea comes and goes. But, suffer this and you'll get some privileged scenery. The views from the summit to the west are epic, and occasionally you'll see some gnarly old bristlecone. Also, you'll likely see bighorn sheep and a peculiar black stallion that apparently escaped from Bishop years ago and haunts the hills up there.

The roads are known by the locals as particularly problematic, and they are often called on to help for flats tires, etc. Don't expect help. Tow trucks can charge over $1000. I'm pretty convinced that the best way up and down that mountain is on a mountain bike--and I wish I still had the fitness and technique to do that. Another way is to hike it winter and do the 20+ miles on foot. Just be aware that wind across the summit can exceed 100mph, and you'll need to melt your own water from the airy snow that accumulates. I did this many years ago and it still is one of my favorite trips.



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#54441 - 10/17/18 10:00 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: marc g]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7595
Loc: Fresno, CA
Outstanding picture of the stallion!!

What time of year were you there to find that snow?

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#54447 - 10/18/18 04:10 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Steve C]
marc g Offline


Registered: 05/21/14
Posts: 6
Loc: United States
That photo was late march, several years ago (2011?). The horse is still there.

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#54448 - 10/18/18 10:18 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: marc g]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7595
Loc: Fresno, CA
Late March? Wow!! What was your mode of travel? How far could you drive?

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#54451 - 10/19/18 06:56 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Steve C]
marc g Offline


Registered: 05/21/14
Posts: 6
Loc: United States
We hiked in from the parking lot called Sierra vista point, which is about a mile before the Ancient Bristlecone forest. From that parking lot, it's about 22+ miles and 7k feet to summit. Snowshoes weren't required for upper mountain, but I recall postholing thru some stuff at the bottom. Some single digit temps.

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#54454 - 10/21/18 01:21 PM Re: White Mountain Peak conditions and fall color around Bishop [Re: Steve C]
PeteK. Offline


Registered: 03/07/17
Posts: 16
Loc: CA
The SoCal mountain town of Idyllwild (mile hi!!).

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