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

27 Jun 2009 - by Nathan Holcomb

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.


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.


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.


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.


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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