Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest / White Mountain Peak

From July 25, 2015 12:00 until July 26, 2015 17:00
Categories: Events
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The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5129900 is located north of Bishop in the white mountains. Home of the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva), the longest living organism on the planet with the oldest tree being dated at over 5,000 years old.

White Mountain Peak is the 3rd highest peak in California at 14,252 feet tall. Normally It's normally a 15 mile round trip from the gate for the Barcroft Research station. Two weekends a year they open the gate and allow you to drive up to and park at the Barcroft Research Station cutting the round trip from 15 miles to 11 miles. At elevations starting around 12K feet and topping out at the summit of just over 14K feet, any break in the overall distance is apprecaited.

The general plan is to leave the LA Metro area early Saturday morning the 25th of July and make the 4 or so hour drive up to rally point of Vons in Bishop by Noon. One everyone is there we will depart Bishop and head through the town of Laws and ascend the Whites via Silver Canyon Road. Silver Canyon Road is gravel road that ascends easily at first then turns into a series of switchbacks as you gain elevation. When we get to the top we'll head over to the Schulman Grove visitors center and exlpore the area a bit. Once done there the plan is to head north and exlpore a couple of mines and old miners cabins in the area On our way north we can stop and check out the other major grove of Bristlecone Pines - The Patriarch Grove, home to the largest Bristlecone Pine. After the Patriarch grove the plan is to exlpore another site and then proceed into Cottonwood Valley to find a dispersed site to camp. I imagine by this time of year due to the lack of rain this year fire restrictions will be in full effect. I have a propane campfire that I will bring which will allow us to have a campfire since it's basically a glorified camp stove according to the rules. This will be a dispersed camsite so there will be no toilets or water, so please plan accordingly and bring enough water for your needs.

For those that are wanting to make the hike up to White Mountain Peak we'll get up early and head up to the gate. They open the gate early (around 6:30am IIRC) but the plan is to be up there waiting and be ready to go when they open the gate and drive the couple of miles to the Barcroft Station Parking lot and get on trail. * This is a very strenuous hike * It's not technically difficult as you are following a two track service road to the summit, but since it is at very high elevation the lack of oxygen can do a number on you. From all accounts it takes most people about 5 hours to summit, and then 3 hours back down since it's all downhill.

For those not wanting to make the trek up to White Mountian Peak you can sleep in Sunday morning and break camp at your liesure. I'll have a map and gps coordinates from our campsite with an alternate route that anyone not making the summit hike can explore that goes over from what I have researched a rough road that leads up to cottownwood creek and another miners cabin. From all reports its nothing a stock rover couldnt handle.

If you are planning on attending this trip please email me or post on the forums whether you plan on making the summit hike or not so I can have enough maps available.

The usualy caveats apply to this trip, have a full sized spare, bring any recovery gear and spare parts you may need for your vehicle and please make sure your cooling system is up to snuff. We'll be running HAM radio on one of the club frequencies and I will monitor FRS channel 7 as well. If you have any questions or concerns please email me or post on the forums.

Cheers,

Jake


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