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Ascent of Whitecliff Peak on 2014-06-30

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, June 30, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Whitecliff Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:10800 ft / 3291 m

Ascent Trip Report

Lying deep within the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, Whitecliff Peak is far from any trailhead requiring a long dayhike or overnight trip. I climbed the peak by possibly it's easiest route, or at least it's most scenic route along the crest connecting it with White benchmark and White Mtn. I timed my ascent so that there would still be plenty of snow banks high on the ridge from which I could constantly refill my half-full water bottles. This way, I only carried 2 quarts of water or less all day. The day was quite warm, so snow melted quickly in the bottles.

Starting from the trailhead in Silver Creek Meadow, I hiked through the meadow a few hundred yards to an old sheepherders cabin, then headed SW to the ridge that connects with White benchmark. A trail follows near the crest of this ridge for some distance, but I left it when it seemed to turn more towards Chango Lake. It appears easier to stay below the actual ridge to White benchmark due to big boulders and dense stands of whitebark pines on the ridge itself. The ridge run from White benchmark to White Mtn was a wonderful hike on easy open alpine terrain. Many alpine wildflowers were on display. North of White Mtn, the terrain became very rocky slowing progress. However, after the rocky spots the terrain became easy again leading a wide alpine plateau. Following this, a series of bumps is negotiated along the ridge. Often it was easier simply to stay on the ridge rather then try to sidehill below the bumps. Finally at the base of Whitecliff Peak, a short sand slog must be overcome, which then leads to a high class 2 chimney on the peaks' SW side.

I returned the same way to the high plateau north of White Mtn, then descended into the Silver Creek watershed. A trail is shown on the map following the creeks' east side. However, little or nothing remains of this trail except occasional tree blazes and ducks. But the cross-country travel is easy enough. Within a mile of the trailhead, significant sections of the old unmaintained trail becomes more evident.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5500 ft / 1676 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5500 ft / 1675 m
    Round-Trip Distance:16 mi / 25.8 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4200 ft / 1280 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2200 ft / 670 m; Extra: 2000 ft / 609m
    Loss on way in:2000 ft / 609 m
    Distance:8.6 mi / 13.8 km
    Route:South ridge via Silver Creek Meadow TH
    Start Trailhead:Silver Creek Meadow trailhead  8600 ft / 2621 m
    Time:5 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3500 ft / 1066 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2200 ft / 670 m; Extra: 1300 ft / 396m
    Gain on way out:1300 ft / 396 m
    Distance:7.4 mi / 11.9 km
    Route:South ridge to Silver Creek drainage
    End Trailhead:Silver Creek Meadow trailhead  8600 ft / 2621 m
    Time:4 Hours 30 Minutes



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