Kill Whitey!
(Killing White Chief peak on a dayhike.)

27 Jun 2009 - by Nathan Holcomb (view roster page)

I woke up at 4:30 am and was in the car driving by 5:15am. I drove east on highway 198 and turned right onto Mineral King road in Three Rivers. 25 miles later I arrived at the Eagle Lake / White Chief trailhead. My destination for this day was White Chief peak via the Eagle Creek trail. I was hiking by 7:30am and before long passed the Eagle lake / White Chief trail junction. The trail starts gaining elevation quickly after the junction and the lactid acid was warming me up. I walked through a pretty hillside meadow with no sign of life but the songs of a few birds. There is a sinkhole close to this trail where Eagle creek disappears into the mountain. I took a short break there, enjoying the peaceful serenity. Back on the trail I soon arrived at Eagle lake. I forgot how pristine alpine lakes can be.

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I watched the trout swimming and became locked on one that looked particularly tasty. I thought about this beautiful creature skinned, gutted, and cooking over an open flame. Sometimes dayhikes are a drag when you want to linger. I turned my attention to the ridge that would get me to White Chief peak and plotted my route up the boulder field around the snow.

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The climb to the ridge was class 2 tedious boulder hopping. It seemed like every other boulder shifted under my weight. I achieved the ridge and sidehilled around to the slope of White Chief peak. In a matter of minutes I was on top enjoying the views.

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White Chief peak is a good spot to sit and appreciate Mineral King from, but the beauty of the peak itself is lacking...quite. The day was hazy from a fire burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness. After absorbing some radiation from our star I was ready to head back down. I picked a route down to White Chief lake from the peak. The route was more class 2 shifting boulder surfing, not fun ;-( I walked around the lake to the outlet and followed it down more class 2 talus. The outlet took the path of least resistance downhill which made for pretty photos.

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I eventually ran into White Chief trail "which would complete my loop" and was happy to be off shifting rock. I hiked quickly back to the car passing folks whos heavy breath and sweat made me happy I was hiking downhill. I pounded a cold soda at the car and tore outta the parking lot at whopping 15mph.

My guesstimates for the day are 9-10 miles and 4000-4500 elevation gain. It was a good warm up for someone who has not tagged a peak in 2 years.


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