Whites and East Whites Aug 4, 2023

Leader: Corey Hinshaw

Participants: Laurel Vielle, Josh Lewis, Anne Dellwo

The four of us headed out early on August 4th to these remote two peaks of the Bitterroot. Josh and Laurel were looking to check off Whites on Montana’s P2K list, whereas I was looking to check both peaks off of the Bitterroot 9k list. You can find some trip reports about Whites, but little to nothing about East Whites, so I figured we would just have to take a good look at how to approach it when we got up there. Laurel and Josh got a slight head start at the trailhead, so Anne and I began by jogging along lake Como, then up the Rock Creek trail. Within an hour or so, we caught up with the other two. At approx 8.5 miles up the trail, we took a look up the slope and started trudging along. Plenty of bushwhacking and downfall to weave through, our pace slowed quickly. Higher up we found a slight drainage to follow towards the small tarn that sits below Whites. The views south towards El Capitan gradually got hazier throughout the day from smoke coming in from Idaho. There was also a slight sprinkle off and on that kept the temperature down. We finally got to the pretty little tarn, got some water, and could see our route up to Whites. We could also get a good look on how to climb East Whites. The ridge looked quite broken and difficult to connect from one peak to another. At that point, Laurel decided that just Whites would be sufficient for her. We all got up to the summit, read the plaque stating that the mountain was named in honor of Wilfred Wallace White, and his services to the US Forest Service. Both he, his son, and son’s wife had been laid to rest on that peak. Upon the summit, Josh, Anne, and I discussed East Whites. I was rather determined to get it completed as well, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the bushwhack again, and they were both willing to join me. We dropped approx 1000 feet back down, skirted along some impassable cliff bands to get directly south of East Whites, then headed straight back up through some more manageable, scrambly cliffs. We took our summit photos, and began the long, loose rock slog back down to the trail to catch up with Laurel. Back down near the trail, we had a hell of a time finding it, crossing over it multiple times in a futile attempt, while shouting back and forth with Laurel to get our bearings. Then it was just an 8.5 mile trail jog/walk back to the trailhead, in which legs were pretty much toast at the end. Bitterroot 9kers number 24 and 25 for me. Total mileage ~ 23 miles. Total vert ~ 7100 feet.

Trip video: https://youtu.be/Gr5jMvHGHxM?si=k0H30aHi-CrwxJXV

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