Five-day traverse of the White Mountains of California and Nevada

and acclimatization day hikes in the Sierra Nevada of California,

United States, June 25th - July 1st, 2022


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Situation map:


Description automatically generated


Perspective view (from the east, toward the west) of the traverse:


This set of pages shows photos taken during a 5-day south-to-north traverse of the White Mountains, a relatively unknown and little traveled 4000m mountain range that overlaps the U.S. states of California and Nevada, east of the larger and much better known Sierra Nevada mountain range. I did this traverse with SP Parker, an amazingly experienced mountain guide from Bishop, the owner of the Sierra Mountain Center, and a long-time friend with whom I did many mountaineering trips as far back as the late 1990s (see here). The Sierra Mountain Center's webpage about the traverse provides much additional useful information.


The traverse follows the red line drawn on the satellite image on the left, based on my GPS-recorded waypoints. To access these waypoints, download the white-mountains-wp-2022.kmz file from here and then open this file in Google Earth. The successive waypoints are numbered 00 (start of the traverse) to 52 (end of the traverse). The waypoints with green icons are the locations where we set our 4 camps. For clarity, only a subset of waypoints is shown in the image on the left. The other waypoints will be shown in the pages dedicated to each of the 5 days of the traverse (links below). Note that the red line (also included in the file white-mountains-wp-2022.kmz file) is approximative; only the numbered waypoints it connects are GPS-recorded.


The start and end of the traverse are both located on dust roads and are reachable by 4WD vehicles. The total distance covered by the traverse is about 60 kilometers. Most of it is on rugged trailless open terrain, except for 3km on a now closed unpaved road leading to the summit of White Mountain Peak (waypoint 23) and rare fainted trails, some of which are animal (deer and big-horn sheep) trails or remains of former Native American trails. Some sections are on steep, often unstable rocks. Almost 80% of the traverse is above 3300m, including 11km above 4000m. The cumulated elevation gain and loss are, respectively, 3975m and 4256m.


The main summits along the traverse are White Mountain Peak (4344m), Mt. Dubois (4135m), Montgomery Peak (4099m), and Boundary Peak (4007m). Beyond waypoint 12 the itinerary roughly follows the crest of the range, but this crest varies from being quite wide on some sections to being sharp and steep on others. In both cases the crest provides awesome views over both Chalfant Valley (to the west) and Fish Lake Valley (to the east), some 3000m below. These two desert valleys are cultivated (alfalfa, garlic) thanks to the water running down from the White Mountains and the center-pivot irrigation technique (which created the green discs visible in the picture). The steepest rock sections are north of waypoint 23 (White Mountain Peak) and between waypoint 43 (last camp) and waypoint 47 (Boundary Peak).


Overall, this high-elevation traverse of a desert-surrounded mountain range is strenuous, but truly spectacular.


To see day-by-day pictures of the traverse (in chronological order, with additional comments), click on the following links.


Day 1: From 00 to 08

Day 2: From 08 to 17

Day 3: From 17 to 30

Day 4: From 30 to 43

Day 5: From 43 to 52








Prior to doing the White Mountains traverse I did two acclimatization day hikes in the Sierra Nevada: one from South Lake (2977m) to Bishop Pass (3649m), the other from North Lake (2821m) to Piute Pass (3482m). Their trailheads are located some 25 to 30 kilometers west of the town of Bishop. They follow well-maintained trails along beautiful lakes and are hugely popular with hikers, climbers, anglers, and even mountain joggers. Click on the following links to see photos of these two hikes.


South Lake to Bishop Pass

North Lake to Piute Pass






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