There’s a road all the way to the summit of White Mountain (14,246ft), which makes it by far the easiest 14er summit in California (or perhaps anywhere in the USA). From what I understand, once a year the final 7 miles of chunky road even opens for the general public to drive past the gate! How easy, but how darn cool. The White range affords spectacular views of the High Sierra range, the Inyos, and Death Valley on a clear day, and White Mountain itself is beautiful as a lava cake with caramel sauce. (But it’s not white, nor is it edible.)
Maybe because it’s so accessible, its summit log has been a bit abused, with people scribbling their names on any piece of anything they can wrangle, and tossing it in the log box. Folks need to document their summit, sure, but I found this particular summit “log” to be particularly depressing. It’s more of a trash bin.
We chose to ride VTT on this mountain to spice it up, but I found myself exclaiming several times, “I want to come back and hike this!” Some people find the hike boring. It takes some adjusting to see and appreciate the nuanced beauty and color of arid landscapes, but I think I’ve always liked them maybe even more than greenscapes. I definitely recommend this trip; you also get to see groves of the oldest life on the planet (bristlecone pines) along the drive up.
This was 14er number 7 for me, after Whitney (x4), Sill, Tyndall, Williamson, Muir, and Langley (10,000k climb from 395). A really fun way to cap off my birthday week. Whew! (A great mtb frame built by Boone Mother Fucker)