White Mountain Peak(14,252′), August 9 2015

posted in: Photos, Trip Report | 1

After cancelling 3 times (snow, thunderstorms, thundersnow!), JP and I finally made the trip to hike White Mountain Peak. If successful, this would be the second 14’er for both of us.

The Plan

I had planned this hike as recently as July 11-12. We essentially used the same itinerary, but made stops at Fossils Falls and Patriarch Grove on our way to Barcroft Gate. We were hoping to watch Sunday’s sunrise from the summit of White Mountain Peak. The last two times I planned to watch sunrise from a mountain with an elevation higher than 12k, I arrived at the summit 20 minutes later than planned (Cirque Peak in 2014, Mt. Whitney in 2015). We had estimated that it would take us 5 hours to summit, so we planned to leave camp by 12:30, which would give us 5.5 hours.

To see the rest of our plan going into the hike, take a look a this blog entry- Trip Planning: White Mountain Peak

The Outcome

We went to bed around 8 PM, were awake and packing up camp by 11:45, and hit the trail around 12:15. We made excellent time to Barcroft Research Facility and we realized we should slow our pace down. While we wanted to watch sunrise from the summit, we did not want to spend a ton of time waiting for it. We could see our breath as we hiked and the summit temps were predicted to be in the low-mid 30s.

Hiking in the dark, the time went by quickly and I found myself needing to make a conscious effort to slow down. We both felt great considering we had started the previous day at only 1,000 ft above sea level. As we neared the summit, the trail got tougher due to the increased incline and the thin air, but we found ourselves on the summit at 5:00 AM – 4 hours and 45 minutes after leaving camp and an hour before sunrise. We did what we could to stay warm while we waited for sun to make an appearance.

After snapping some pics, we headed down. I had been at the summit for 1 hour and 15 minutes, which is the longest I’ve ever spent at that elevation. On the way down I noticed that I wasn’t quite right; I was having some issues walking in a straight line unless I really focused on it. This could be attributed to improper acclimation; I have heard this condition called “mountaineer’s foot.” Since the ascent had taken us around 5 hours, I assumed the descent would take around 3 (usually the 2/3rds rule applies to me – the descent takes 2/3 of the time the ascent takes), but my pace down was slower than expected. I was hiking slowly to avoid tripping over my own feet and overall I wasn’t feeling great. By the time we reached the trailhead, 4 hours had passed since leaving the summit.

Geek Stats

Distance: 15.76 miles || Duration: 10 hours || Gain/Loss: ±3,527′ || Net Elevation Gain (at Max Elevation): +2,545′ || Max Elevation: 14,252′ || Difficulty: Strenuous (not enough acclimation time)


  • WoolX Merino Wool
  • Farm to Feet – Asheboro, Camping Hiker Merino Wool Socks.
    • Used the Asheboros for the first time on a long hike, and they were great. The weather was cold (31 degrees with 20+ mph winds on the summit) and my feet stayed warm and dry.
    • After the hike, I left the Asheboros on and decided to rock the ‘Socks in Sandals‘ look, which really says something about the comfort and feel of these socks.
  • Cotton Carrier Camera Vest 
    • After this trip, I’ve decided that the Camera Vest is the best system I’ve used for carrying a DSLR. It was nice having the camera attached to me and not to my pack (I was in and out of my pack frequently on this hike).
    • With the cooler temps, I didn’t notice any of the extra sweating I had experienced on previous hikes in Southern California.
  • Deuter Airlite 28
    • It’s become my goto pack for summer day hikes. With the cold weather and extra camera gear I carried on this hike, it was a little over-packed, but it performed well.
  • Geigerrig
    • Hydration Pack Engine 
      • I was looking forward to trying this bladder our again at 14,000+ feet, so it was my primary means of carrying water on this trip. I like using the pressurized bladder at elevation and feel as though I stay better hydrated.
    • Insulated Drink Tube
      • The water stayed at nice temperature on this trip, whether we were in the 90 degree temps at Fossil Falls or the freezing temps on White Mountain Peak. JP had some issues with his water freezing on White Mountain.
  • Craft Sportswear 3D Leg Warmers
    • I really wanted these to work well but they were a major disappointment. I may have skinny legs for a person my size (5′ 9,” 180 lbs), but the XS/S leggings would not stay above my knees. They’ve inspired me to create Hiking Geek’s Gear Wall of Shame (coming soon).
    • I usually do a ton research before buying stuff and as a result, end up with quality gear. Not this time around.
  • Sherpa Adventure Gear Lungta Hybrid Jacket
    • I bought this jacket for my first Mt. Whitney hike in 2011 and it’s still going strong. It’s my favorite shell.
  • Mountain Hardwear Impulsive Gloves – Waterproof, Insulated
    • I usually prefer lobster/welder mitts when it is really cold, but I am hoping to find a set of gloves that would work well except for the coldest conditions. When combined with my Columbia running gloves, I think these will work.
  • Oboz Beartooth BDrys
    • I was back and forth between wearing the Beartooth BDrys and Traverse Lows, but with the cold temp and the 15+ mile hike, I decided the BDrys were the better option. My feet stayed dry and warm throughout the hike.

The  gallery below (~50 photos) loads slowly. Thank you for your patience.

  1. Joseph Gregory

    Grand photos, heading up this weekend. Did you wear rain gear the whole day?