Peak 8,090ft P300
Peak 8,405ft P300
Peak 9,006ft P750
Silver Hill
Peak 9,060ft P500
Peak 8,353ft P300
Peak 8,662ft P500
Peak 7,780ft P300
Peak 8,029ft P300

Aug 1, 2019
Silver Hill
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPX


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, high valley on the 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 over this ridge, down to a saddle and then up to the summit, comprised of some summit rocks half-hidden among junipers and pines. Mono Lake can be seen about 6mi to the south with the Sierra Crest as a backdrop. After leaving a register here, I dropped west off the summit to continue in that direction to the second peak, traversing in and out of several minor drainages. Peak 8,405ft has a more open summit with a similar view to Mono lake. About 1.5mi to the north 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.

Peak 9,006ft

Driving back north on the rough road, I stopped at the saddle 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 views along with the remains of a wooden survey tower. A small bird kept flitting about surprisingly close to me, as though it were used to getting handouts. About an hour for the roundtrip effort.

Silver Hill

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 the ghost town and the various mining prospects 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 cited 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 the east side of Sugarloaf, the road gets within 0.6mi of Peak 9,060ft 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 in 2001 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 the north side of Sugarloaf and went up from there, a short effort taking less than ten minutes to reach the top. There is a large cairn at the summit that can be seen from a distance.

Peak 8,353ft

This lowly summit is located just north of Bodie Rd (SR270), with a brushy and rough 4WD spur road 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 looking west to the Sierra Crest around the Hoover Wilderness and Dunderberg Peak.

Peak 8,662ft

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 the summit and a view of Peak 9,006ft to the northeast.

Peak 7,780ft

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 parked here and headed up the steep, forested slope to claim the summit in about 15 minutes. There were more trees at the top, along with a cairn and a wooden pole planted in the middle. Not particularly good views on this one.

Peak 8,029ft

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. The slopes 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 the east, Bridgeport and the Sweetwater Range to the north. After returning via a slight variation to the jeep, I showered and treated myself to a well-deserved beer before driving to Bridgeport to meet some of the Sierra Challenge early arrivals.

Now the real fun would begin...


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