White Wing Mountain P500

Wed, Aug 5, 2015
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White Wing Mtn is found 3mi east of the Sierra Crest and San Joaquin Mtn, roughly half way between June Mtn and Mammoth Lakes. It lies in the Owens River Headwaters Wilderness which was created by an act of Congress and the signature of the President in 2009. This designation pretty much squashed attempts by Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort from linking itself to the June Mtn Ski Area it had purchased more than a decade earlier. The way I see it, we don't really need more gondolas and ski lifts, especially in the Mammoth Lakes area - does California really need its own Vail?

The outing was relatively short, taking only a few hours to cover the 3mi roundtrip distance with about 2,000ft of gain. I used Deadman Creek Rd, a good dirt/gravel road off US395 accessible by any vehicle. The road continues further west from where I parked north of Deadman Dome, but it gains little additional elevation and doesn't get any closer to the summit. As the stats testify, the route is a lot of gain over a short distance, much of it on loose pumice slopes. Lower down there are forested sections and blankets of pine needles that provide somewhat better traction but the upper slopes are loose and tedious. The mountain's name might derive from the light-colored pumice that lines the slopes of the summit ridgeline, perhaps fancifully viewed as wing-shaped from a distance. The summit features a 1987 register left by MacLeod/Lilley in a Grey Poupon mustard jar. Bob Sumner was one of the few other names I recognized in the various pages. Most seem to belong to those coming from one of the nearby campgrounds, out hunting or just getting some exercise. There are nice views on a clear day. To the west rises the higher summits of San Joaquin and Carson Peak on the Sierra Crest. To the south rises Mammoth Mtn and the Silver Divide behind it. To the north can just barely be seen portions of Mono Lake while to the east can be seen the forested summits around Glass Mtn framed by the White Mtns in the background. My return route was a bit more direct, going rather quickly thanks to the ease of the descent through all the pumice gravel and sand.

I was back in Mammoth Lakes by 10a where I was staying with family. Brother Jim and I took my daughter Jackie and her friend rockclimbing out by Horseshoe Lake where we set up a toprope and let the two girls climb various class 4/5.low routes until they'd had enough. Later that afternoon my wife and I had dinner at Toomeys at The Village, the restaurant Matt Toomey started after his earlier stint as head chef at the Whoa Nelli Deli. The day wasn't much in terms of energy expended, but was strangely enjoyable. It's possible I may be growing soft...

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