East Side White Mountains NS10K Hike From Indian Creek

  • Updated: June 17, 2013
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

  Peak 11784 (11,784')
  Headley Peak (12,676')
  East Headley Peak (12,751')
  Indian Peak (11,297')
  Mount Hogue (12,751')
When: June 15th, 2013
Where: White Mountains, East Side
Who: +Matthew Hengst, Paul Garry, Keith Christenson, Daryn Dodge, more...
Pictures: [Matt]
GPS Track: [Hike] [Hike+Drive]

After surviving 20+ hours of driving for last weekends Jefferson and Arc Dome outing there was one last desert outing to be done before returning to the distressingly awesome early season conditions in the Sierra.

Paul Garry had asked me to assist on a two day outing to the east side of the White Mountains with the goal being some relatively rarely visited peaks on the Non-Sierra California 10,000-foot Peaks list.  We'd be dayhiking, we'd get a number of peaks, and we'd be doing around 8k worth of gain on Saturday alone.  Sounded like fun.

Sadly there was again a bit of driving involved to get to the trailhead at Indian Creek since you have to drive to Big Pine and then head off into Nevada to approach the Whites from the back.  Unlike last week this time I was suffering alone and the combination of coming from South Orange County and a few delays which kept me from leaving until 8 pm meant this was a late night.

By the time I pulled into Indian Creek and found the other two vehicles around 3 am I was understandably a little tired.

That didn't stop the need to get up a bit after 5 am as we had a long day ahead of us.  All told I was running on somewhere less than 2 hours of sleep.  *yawn*

By 7:30 am we had packed up and relocated 5 miles further up the road.  There are about 10 miles of dirt road from where you exit the pavement along 264 north of Dyer to where we parked.

The road was badly overgrown in places and several times we scraped vegetation on either side.  The road didn't necessarily require a 4WD but it was a very rough high clearance ride and particularly on the way out seemed to take forever.

We parked at an obvious spot at the bottom of a gradual hill.  The road continued past here but doesn't get any nicer and it's worth noting that you hit the wilderness boundary rather abruptly along a narrow section of road with no turnouts or parking spaces.  If I did it again (which isn't likely) I'd probably just park in the same place we did this time.

(See the full track for where we camped and where we drove to.)

Our group of 7 got moving at a decent clip up a slightly overgrown road that soon turned into a very overgrown road and then just a use trail up a gentle ridge.

Two people turned back during this initial climb which was probably for the best considering the overall stats for the day.

We reached the top and followed easy slopes over to Peak 11,784.  We couldn't find a register enough we checked all the rocks on everything that looked like it could be a high point.

From here we had to drop down about 600 ft and then climb 1500 ft or so on the far side.  It was gradual but felt long.

This brought us up to Headley and East Headley neither of which could be described as the most imposing of peaks.

Now we had to give up all the gain we'd just made as the route to Indian Peak involved dropping down 1,900 ft and then climbed back up another 500'.  No wonder this peak isn't done very often.

It could probably have been done a bit easier from the west side as we could see a few dirt roads leading from the farms below to the base of the range.  Assuming no one shot at you it would save quite a bit of up and down from our route.

As we dropped down we could see a herd of sheep on the ridge below us but they spooked well before we could get close enough for a better look.

The route down was loose and crummy for a good long section.  This is the view looking back up the ridge we'd descended.

We made Indian and found it was climbed a bit more than Peakbagger would lead you to believe.

The original plan had been to backtrack up at least partway to Headley then shortcut back towards Peak 11,784 and Hogue but after looking at the options we all decided we would rather take our chances with Birch Creek.  We'd have to loose a little elevation first but it was more direct and gradual than the ridge back up to Headley.

From Indian we descended about 1200' and then did a gradual yet brutal 2800' to gain the summit of Hogue

We dropped down from Indian and went through a somewhat long side hill trying to avoid dropping more than what was absolutely necessary.  Finally we were back on solid ground working our way up Birch Creek.

It was refreshingly green due to the  water flowing down from springs up above.

Things grew more arid as we climbed back up over 11k but water was flowing pretty much the entire way.  I could have finished the day with my 4 liters but took the opportunity to drink a bit more.

The oddest thing was the number of dismembered animal parts we came across throughout the day.

The last climb up to Hogue was painful.  The slopes weren't especially difficult just hard pack and small vegetation.  Granted we were headed back up to 12,800 or so and I was really feeling the lack of sleep on top of the rest of the exertion.

We didn't get back to our camp until around 10:30 and unsurprisingly no-one was very interested in relocation to the other trailhead (the original plan involving a private hike with two groups going in opposite directions)

We had a very low key dinner with everyone sticking to their own vehicles / tents, gulping down food, then hitting the sack as quickly as possible.

The next morning I was up and feeling like a hike.  The 5k slog up Dubios didn't sound overly appealing so I drove over towards the White Mountain trailhead thinking maybe I'd just run up the trail.

While my knees were sore I could have managed the hike but I still wasn't recovered from the lack of sleep. After getting to the Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center and barely being able to stay awake I decided it was best to sightsee and get home (As always I had a flight back to Boise the following morning)

Many stops and many cups of coffee later I made it home and passed out almost immediately.

That does it for the desert trips until October (-ish) or so.  Next week it's on to Summer 2013 Trip 6 of 18 which is a 3 day long milage trip into Golden Trout Wilderness behind Olancha to grab a whole bunch of minor named bumps we'd eyed but been unable to get during the always memorable 3rd Annual Memorial Day Massacre.  Fun!

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