I was still in the Mammoth area a day after our failed effort at Petit Griffon.
The others had all gone home leaving me the day to myself. While my one
pair of boots would take the day to dry out, I used the other for a 10-pack
of easy peaks in the area, none of them involving snow - I'd had enough of the
white stuff yesterday and was happy to be back on dry ground.
Deer Mtn is located just north of Inyo Craters, a popular tourist spot off the
Mammoth Scenic Loop. I had spent the night at the TH on the southeast side of
Deer Mtn intending to use that route in the morning, but I noticed I could get
even closer by driving around to the northwest side. This made for a
3/4mi roundtrip effort and it took less than 15min to reach the top. The
highpoint is located at the eastern end of the summit area (neither PB nor LoJ
seem to have the location correct), overlooking the Inyo Craters below.
Like Wilson Butte and Obsidian Dome, this one is a pile of volcanic
rubble, much of it piled up haphazardly and loosely, making it the
toughest hike of the bunch. It's located only a mile north of Deer Mtn, so I had
only a short drive from one starting point to the other. I went up and
down from the southeast, taking different lines, though one wasn't
appreciably better than the other. The summit is a small rocky
pinnacle, difficult on three sides but easy class 3 from the north.
Just over an hour for the roundtrip effort.
This was the highest summit of the day, about 2.6mi to the west and really just
a subsidiary point on the Southwest Ridge of White Wing Mtn which I'd visited
in 2015. This lower point had been visited by some of the Sierra Challengers
during last year's climb of San Joaquin Mtn. I'd skipped this bonus peak
because I went north with some others to tag Carson Peak instead. The peak is
located in the Owens River Headwaters Wilderness, but a good road leads
to a camp area and trailhead less than a mile from the summit on
the southeast side. The topo map shows the road continuing further
west, but this has since been closed due to the Wilderness and is now part of a
trail. The climb involves 1,400ft of gain, taking me most of an hour
to make my way up through forest and then modest brush before reaching
the more open summit ridgeline. There was some snow on the
north-facing side of the ridge, but no need to travel across any of it. The
summit has a nice view of San Joaquin Mtn and the Sierra Crest only 2mi to
the west, another fine view of the crest further to the south,
and a blander one of June Mtn to the north. I left a register
here before heading down, finding a fun sand/gravel descent slope that
had me back to the start in only 20min.
Peak 8,478ft/Peak 8,340ft
The rest of the summits were all found east of US395. These two are located near
the Caltrans Crestview Station. One has to pass through one of the Caltrans
yards to gain access to the forest road winding its way up to the saddle between
the two peaks. Peak 8,474ft has a telecom installation on the summit
and a virtual drive-up. The highpoint is found among the rocks at the north end
of the summit behind the telecom towers. A slightly lower point to
the south has more open views looking in that direction towards Bloody
Mtn. Peak 8,340ft has a rough road reaching to its summit from the east, but I
only managed to drive this about 2/3 of the way as it narrowed and
became more of an ATV/motorcycle track. It took only 3min to hike the remaining
distance to the open summit atop a small pile of fratured rock.
Peak 7,969ft/Peak 8,126ft
These two summits are located near the US395/SR203 junction. Well-graded
Antelope Spring Rd climbs up from the highway past the geothermal plant,
skirting the summits on their northwest side. Spur roads lead close to the
top. Peak 7,969ft is a five minute climb from the west.
Peak 8,126ft takes more effort, about 30min for the half mile hike to
the summit from the northwest. There's a nice view of Mt. Morrison from
Peak 7,621ft/Peak 7,923ft
These summits are further from the highway and require more backcountry driving.
I got back on Antelope Spring Rd and continued north to Little Antelope Spring
Valley, then futher north on lesser roads to get nearly to the summit of Peak
7,621ft from the west. 3min to reach the top, but views mostly
blocked by trees. Peak 7,923ft is 2mi to the WNW, with several routes
that will get you close. I approached from the northeast, parking at a
saddle on the east side. A 10min hike gets one to the highpoint at a
broken rock outcrop a short distance east of the spot elevation shown on the
This last summit is located east of the Mammoth Airport and west of Lake
Crowley. The driving route I used had a very steep section of loose, bumpy road
that stopped me my first attempt in 4WD. I backed down to the bottom, engaged
the lockers and disconnected the swaybar for a second effort that was both
excitng and successful. Following this, it was a much easier effort to drive
the remaining distance to get very close to the summit on the southwest
side. There might be ways to bypass the steep road section I used but
approaching from further north. An easy 3min hike led me to the
highest point at a rock outcrop where I found a Barbara Lilley register
from 2017, a neat little find. There are excellent views of
McGee, Morrison and Laurel to the south from this mountain.
there'd be good views of Lake Crowley to the east, but that was mostly blocked
by trees. I finished up before 3p, calling the day early because I had big plans
again for the next day. I drove back to town where I found wifi and dinner and
spent the rest of the afternoon until evening time.