Trip Report
2017-09 Quick hit for White Mountains and Saline Valley
Tuesday October 10, 2017 5:33pm
I've been holed up in my house for ages, don't even get out to check the mail most days. I have a work project that is sort of like chasing a rainbow and I keep making excuses for putting stuff off, saying "when I finish this project then I'll...."

So this time when Batrock hits me up I'm glad I say yes. We only were out of down for a bit more than 2 days but covered enough ground to make it seem like a week. He showed me a gem of a place up in the White Mountains that you'd never expect to see up there, totally uncharacteristic rock for the region. Like stumbling into Joshua Tree before humans arrived. Well, except there is cow poop and summer pastures and all and a good 4wd road. But still, pretty great spot. And we had a bonus night on the way back, hangin' at the hot springs, listening to the swooshing of palm trees under a desert sky with a very bright moon. A good friend from Berkeley joined us and stayed a bit longer at the hot springs.

Enough blabbin', get to the pics.

We'll make camp here, almost 2 miles high:

Not too shabby!

Scouting new lines, temps take a biting turn as the sun goes down:

^^ note on the above: some gnarly piles of guano or rotting meat or guano of rotting meat eaters that needs to be bypassed when exiting the chimney. Looks very doable, but tell the belayer to wear a hat with a wide brim.

Is this place for real?

Autumn arduously arrives, sun sets sooner, fellows freeze faster.

We sleep in the shadow of the crags, reflected morning light giving a gentler start to the day:

First up is this thing next to where we slept. That start is a bit more awkward than it looks.

Yes a tipped out #6 might protect it, and we even had one. But future visitors might be wandering with draws or a minimal rack and that bolt gives some peace of mind. They don't all have to be dick-wrenching mega-classics. Sometimes just having fun is ok too!

Then a run up the ball-bearing arete!

Which gave access to some hard top-rope fun.

Bring callouses on all sides of your fingers and be prepared for some crystal chewy flaring!

It gets easier here:

Then the perfect amount of facey hardness:

After my turn we checked out a splitter we saw from afar across a valley. On the way I thought of the Lichen and Loven It thread...

We'll come back for this one. Scale is sort of weird and foreshortened:

No words were exchanged, but we all zenned out for a while mid-day exploring on our own. We eventually came together back in camp:

After a bit of camp lounging, adjusting to the effects of altitude (and a sedentary lifestyle for me), we rallied for an afternoon session to explore stuff Batrock scouted on his mid-day vision quest.

Drill left behind for this session!

A little stemming helps get off the ground for a future moderate classic:

Pretty awesome spot I have to say.

We even found a walk-off descent:

More future glory at every turn!

Well, there's a limit to how much goodness an out of shape fellow can absorb in a day, and it's pretty close to my present limit:

So we best be moseyin' on back.

Not a bad one-day fix!

Look westward, and ponder the mighty Sierra stretching full of possibility for several lifetimes.

Time for some nighttime luxuriating!

The morning after:

That's all she wrote folks!

p.s. For the thumbnail
Good fun in the White Mountains
Good fun in the White Mountains
Credit: NutAgain!

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About the Author
NutAgain! is a trad climber from South Pasadena, CA.

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jeff constine

Trad climber
Ao Namao
  Oct 10, 2017 - 06:05pm PT
Keep posting up, you won't have it for long by yourself.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Author's Reply  Oct 10, 2017 - 06:53pm PT
That's ok man. After driving around California and Oregon and Nevada, I figure there are way more rocks around to be climbed than I will have time for. I think anyone who is willing to drive 6+ hours and do 4wd roads to go climbing, I would probably enjoy sharing a campfire with them. And if the scene really gets obnoxious, there are more places to explore.

Trad climber
  Oct 10, 2017 - 07:37pm PT
Jeff, I guarantee this place will never become a destination location. I have no issue sharing the goods for out of the way locales. There is enough climbing up there for several lifetimes and I only got one so why not share.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Oct 10, 2017 - 07:49pm PT
So fun! I gotta get out there with you guys.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Oct 10, 2017 - 08:11pm PT
One of the cowcamp guys told me the thumb like rock is called the "blessed virgin Mary." I don't know why.

I think they get really lonely.

Trad climber
  Oct 10, 2017 - 08:24pm PT
This is the first time climbing up there since I met you up there years ago. So much to do up there. I think it's proximity to Bishop will keep the crowds down simply because of the abundance of great climbing so close to town. Why drive an hour and a half up here when you can drive 15-20 minutes out of town to climbing? Whoever makes the effort will always be rewarded with solitude.

Trad climber
  Oct 10, 2017 - 08:28pm PT
Credit: Batrock
You can just make out Nutagain in the chimney below the splitter hand crack. Given another day we would have worked on this for sure.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Author's Reply  Oct 10, 2017 - 09:51pm PT
It looks small from this angle (that's what she said), but from inside the chimney looking out and up to get to the crack, looks wildly overhanging in a fun way. There are features that will keep it at a very moderate grade though.

Spideyman, let's make it happen one of these days. I'm haggling with the people for the bench/bed for the van, and in a few months hopefully will have an adventure-mobile that can handle more than 2 occupants.

  Oct 10, 2017 - 10:22pm PT
One of my favorite places since I worked in the Whites for the USFS for two summers during graduate school - summers of 74 and 75. Been there about once a summer since and climbed everything I could without leaving any trace - pretty sacred place for me for a number of reasons.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Oct 11, 2017 - 02:59pm PT
I thought the route we did was pretty good. I haven't been back there since either, but I'm still game when I can get the time.

Trad climber
  Oct 11, 2017 - 03:09pm PT
Looks like a good adventure. I agree that there's plenty of rock out there.

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Oct 11, 2017 - 03:14pm PT
have you been down the Wyman Road to 168?

Trad climber
  Oct 11, 2017 - 03:29pm PT
I have but itís been a few years. Last time I was down there I ran into the most cowboy looking dude on horseback. He said he was looking for stray cattle. Come to find out he was a student at Deep Springs College. They run cattle up into the high country in the summer and part of the students job is herding cattle and staying in the cabins up in high country. Pretty cool school work.

Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
  Oct 11, 2017 - 03:38pm PT
Very cool, Scott!

But, you work too hard/long hours.

Balance is everything. You don't want to end up like me. I lost about 10 years being too dedicated to my work. (Or, maybe you do. I got free at 59). Not in my prime, but I still can limp along.

We need to do Courtright next year again. You and Rishi (sp?) are great people.


Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  Oct 11, 2017 - 04:16pm PT
Nice... good to get out to little used spots.

Prepare for the mass hordes of pad people, you let the cat out of the bag!!!!!

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