Waucoba Mountain from the East Along Saline Valley Road

  • Updated: June 26, 2016
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

June 26th, 2016
Waucoba Mountain (11,123')
[Pics] [Map]

Waucoba Mountain is a peak in the Whites that I've made plans to climb in the past but never actually did.  It's relatively short, relatively easy, relatively accessible, and all around not very distinct.  The best thing to recommend it is it's a decent shorter day and a good workout that pairs well with doing White Mountain.

After climbing White Mountain the day before this was the last remaining DPS peak I needed in the area so it was time to get it checked off sore knees and hot weather or not.

We spent the night along the road leading to White not far past the entrance gate near the junction with 168.  If you're reading this planning to do Waucoba there's much nicer camping where we started hiking so go there and bring firewood.

Since we were a little low on gas (yaay Jeep) we diverted into Big Pine to fill up and grab a quick soso breakfast burrito from Country Kitchen.

I planned to do the peak from the east since that was what everyone I could find seemed to be doing.  It added a little more gain but you approach on the Saline Valley Road which was a much nicer drive that the road to White was.  It splits off from the 168 a short distance from Big Pine and winds through some wonderfully remote desert country.

There's even some cabin ruins along the way to explore some of which seem ready made for a photo shoot.

We saw one nearby adit and ran over but it was rather shallow.

We reached the trailhead and found the aforementioned nice camping right at the junction complete with elaborate fire pits.

And flies.  Lots of flies.  Kristen first resorted to her bug net and then tried to hide in the Jeep to make sandwiches which might have worked except the Jeep was full of flies now also.

The hike is only 5-6 miles but you're doing about 4k gain most of it rather concentrated.  For future reference we parked at the junction but a high clearance non 4wd vehicle could have made it a ways up the road and saved maybe half a mile.

We followed the road to the end which was in pretty bad shape and then took off cross country for the ridge in the center of the picture above.  And then went up.  Straight up.

There were ducks all over the place but they really shouldn't have bothered since they didn't seem to indicate appreciably easier terrain.  In fact following the ducks in places led to a fair amount of bushwhacking so get creative.

The view was also disappointing due to a fire south of Lake Isabella filling the entire area with smoky haze.  On top of this it was also somewhere in the 80s and though we had a breeze it was a very dry one which had the effect of sucking all the moisture out of us.  We had 3 liters of water a piece and it was enough but we were still rather thirsty most of the time.

After a few thousand the summit was a big flat area with a pile of rocks containing the register and some prayer flags.

Minon Bob gets his second DPS peak
We were on the clock so we signed in, dropped a Kaweah pencil, and started down.

Down went refreshingly smoothly especially once we bore a bit to the north where there was less brush and only the occasional loose rock.  We dropped rapidly.

Back at the car the flies were again waiting for us which encouraged a quick departure.

We headed south stopping in Lone Pine for a quick burger at Whitney Cafe and arrived back in Orange County around 1 am.

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