Black Point P300
Peak 7,458ft P300
Peak 7,820ft P300

Fri, Aug 5, 2022
Etymology
Black Point
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

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Day 1 of the Sierra Challenge had something new, not seen at the start of any of the previous 210 Challenge days - rain. A handful of us were camped at the Burt Canyon TH with plans to visit Ink Rocks, but the rain had started a few hours before sunrise and was scheduled to carry on most of the day. A handful of brave souls set out for Walker Mtn at the appointed 6a hour, but I still wasn't out of the Jeep. I don't mind (as much) having to return in rainy conditions, but I had no interest in starting out that way. I would go off to find some easier summits where I could quit early if I got too wet. The peaks are all found in the Mono Basin area on the north side of Mono Lake. I had seen them on maps for years, saving them for a rainy day. Today qualified.

Black Point

This is a small volcanic bump on the northwest side of Mono Lake. As a named summit, it would qualify as an alternate peak for the Challenge. It is a fairly easy hike, about a mile from the Black Point TH found at the end of a spur road on the SE side of the hill. Another vehicle was there when I arrived, and I headed out shortly after the pair of gentlemen. I followed them until I caught up, asking if they were following a trail. We all laughed, because we were all just winging it. There's no real trail, just a bunch of footprints in the volcanic sand/pumic as we weaved through the brush that grows on the slopes. I eventually left them behind, making my way to the rocky top in about half an hour. There's a small metal marker at the top, no writing on it. The summit is not very high and doesn't give much of a birdseye view of the lake. The weather didn't help, with clouds obstructing much of the views. It was more like a day in the Pacific Northwest than a summer day in the Eastern Sierra. I took a more direct route on the way back, about an hour for the roundtrip. No rain fell on this one.

Peak 7,458ft

This summit is found about 15mi ENE of Black Point, about a mile north of SR167. There is a BLM spur from the highway that climbs to a low saddle on the east side of the peak where an old mine is located. It makes for a short hike of only 0.4mi each way, taking about 35min for the roundtrip. The slopes are mostly forested with dry pinyons, some brush, and a lot of sand. The rain actually gave the sand firmer footing. I was realizing that sand slopes in the rain are pretty nice - better footing, no mud, no puddles. I was buried in clouds at the summit with light rain falling - not enough to need a rain jacket. There are a couple of rocks vying for the highpoint. I picked one of them to leave a register at before returning the same way.

Peak 7,820ft

About 3mi north of the previous peak, it requires quite a bit of driving to get close. There are BLM roads on the south and north sides. I chose the north side with longer driving that would leave me less elevation gain on foot. Portions of the road I drove were quite rocky, Jeep or similarly equipped recommended. The rain had become steady when I started out, this time with rain jacket. There is quite a bit of brush to weave through on the way to the base of the peak a mile to the south, so the rain pants came out soon after starting. I left my camera in the pack to keep from getting it ruined in the wet, so only a few pics. I followed a meandering creekbed downstream to avoid some of the brush, eventually leaving it when I neared the peak. The peak is mostly forested, so not much brush and easier cross-country once I started up. At a slow pace, I took an hour to cover the 1.5mi distance to the summit where I left a second register. It was white-out conditions at the top, so zero views. The GPSr would be quite helpful for getting me on the return track in such conditions. It would be another hour before I would get back to the Jeep and changed out of my wet rain gear and boots. It wasn't yet 1p, but that was enough wetness for one day. It would take much of the remaining day to get my stuff dried out...

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