On the second of two warmup days for the 2019 Sierra Challenge, I was camped
high in the Bodie Mtns between Bridgeport and Mono lake. I'd been to this range
on several previous occasions and had come back to tag a collection of minor
summits that had so far escaped my attention. It turned out to be a rather full
day, taking in 10 summits including two over 9,000ft in elevation. It was quite
warm as the day progressed and my clothes would take on the scents of sagebrush
after hours of wading through the stuff. Loose leaves, small twigs and plenty of
dust would collect in my shoes, clothing and daypack. August is probably not the
ideal time to visit the area.
Peak 8,090ft / Peak 8,405ft
These two peaks lie south of Mt. Biederman. A somewhat brushy road leads south
from the saddle on the west side of Biederman to a lonely,
southern flanks of the range. I had spent the night near the end of this road
and started from there in the morning. Peak 8,090ft cannot be seen from this
point, hidden to the southeast by an intervening ridge. It was easy class 2 to
get , down to a saddle and then up to
, comprised of some summit rocks half-hidden among junipers
and pines. Mono Lake can be seen about 6mi to with the Sierra
Crest as a backdrop. After leaving here, I dropped
off the summit to continue in that direction to
, traversing in and out of several minor drainages.
Peak 8,405ft has a more open summit with a similar view to .
About 1.5mi to rises the higher Peak 9,006ft, flanked by Mt.
Biederman to the northeast. In all, I spent about 2.5hrs on the 3.3mi loop.
Driving back north on the rough road, I stopped at west of
Mt. Biederman to visit the slightly higher Peak 9,006ft less than a mile to the
west. One has to first go over or around intermediate Pt. 8,717ft to a second
saddle before climbing Peak 9,006ft. The topo maps shows another 4WD road going
over this saddle, but it has long been abandoned and no longer driveable. The
summit has no trees and wide-ranging along with
of a wooden survey tower. A kept
flitting about surprisingly close to me, as
though it were used to getting handouts. About an hour for the roundtrip
There are two named summits within the boundary of Bodie State Park, both of
them in the restricted area closed to visitors due to unsafe mine conditions
from days of yore. I parked southwest of the summit, near the end of a spur
road before it becomes gated and signed for No Trespassing. I hiked uphill
cross-country to the modest summit where there is a good view overlooking
and the various that dot the
landscape. On my way back I took the road, a bit longer but easier on the feet,
only to find a State Park ranger driving up to look for me. We had a very
amicable chat but in the end I was for trespassing in the
restricted area. I have yet to receive the bill in the mail,
but I'm sure it will be several hundred dollars or more. At least it doesn't
count as a motor vehicle violation. I had hoped to do the other summit on the
edge of the restricted area, Bodie Bluff, but after talking with Ranger Duncan,
I'm going to leave that for a future visit.
Peak 9,060ft / Sugarloaf
These two summits are located south of Silver Hill and outside the restricted
area. Good dirt Cottonwood Rd goes around Sugarloaf and down to SR167 on the
north side of Mono Lake. As it passes around of
Sugarloaf, the road gets within 0.6mi of to the southeast.
I parked at the edge of the road, went down a short ways to cross a drainage,
then up the west side of Peak 9,060ft, taking about half an hour. Barbara and
Gordon had left a register at the summit with Bob Sumner the
only other recorded visitor in 2007. After returning to the jeep via the same
route, I moved the jeep to the saddle on of Sugarloaf
and went up from there, a short effort taking less than ten minutes to reach
. There is at
the summit that can be seen from a distance.
This lowly summit is located just north of Bodie Rd (SR270), with a brushy and
rough 4WD reaching nearly to the top. I drove this up the
peak for the challenge more than the need, the hike to the summit taking only
two minutes. There is a nice view to the Sierra Crest
around the Hoover Wilderness and Dunderberg Peak.
Found on the south side of SR270, Peak 8,662ft has a 4WD road that gets within
half a mile of the summit on the northwest side. There was a wet meadow section
and short stream crossing that made 4WD desireable though maybe not necessary.
There's a modest cairn at and a view of Peak 9,006ft to the
This was the lowest summit of the day, found north of SR270, about 2mi east of
US395. A dirt road going up Cinnabar Canyon passes within a quarter mile of
the summit on the northeast side. I and headed up the
steep, forested slope to claim the summit in about 15 minutes. There were more
trees at the top, along with and a wooden pole planted in the
middle. Not particularly good views on this one.
The last summit was located 3mi to the northwest of Peak 7,780ft. I drove
a little-used track north up Cinnabar Canyon, then northwest through desert
sagebrush flats to the southwest side of Peak 8,029ft. of
this peak are more forested than the others with moderate amounts of brush to
contend with. From the summit, one can see Potato Peak rising gently higher to
, Bridgeport and the Sweetwater Range to .
After returning via a slight variation to the jeep, I showered and treated
myself to before driving to Bridgeport to meet
some of the Sierra Challenge early arrivals.
Now the real fun would begin...