Peak(s):  White Rock Mtn  -  13,540 feet
White BM  -  13,401 feet
Date Posted:  06/09/2013
Date Climbed:   06/04/2013
Author:  Furthermore
 The Gothic White Rock Group   

White Rock Mountain 13,540
White Benchmark 13,401

June 04, 2013
~9.8 Miles, ~4,400 Gain
TH: Copper Creek TH. Rough 2WD, high clearance recommended.
Max difficulty: Minor class 3.

Saying our farewells, Ryan left me so he could return to work. I'm lucky and my wife flew into Gunnison so I made a quick excursion to go pick her up. Returning to Crested Butte a bit late, we set up camp just below the Copper Creek, Judd Falls trailhead.

Severely lacking of sleep from working night shifts all week, I decided to sleep in. I woke up at 7:30 AM and started hiking up the well established Copper Creek trail at 7:50 AM. The first few miles went quickly until I hit my first obstacle. The river. Crossing Copper Creek didn't provide any easy alternative so I took off the boots and pulled up my pant legs and crossed the frigid river.

Hiking up the Copper Creek trail.

Just after crossing the creek that drains out of Queen Basin, I left the trail and started the steep uphill bushwhack into Queen Basin. Snow started to appear around ~10,800 but I was able to avoid most of the snow by staying on the northern side of the basin.

Queen Basin.

Neat Spire.

At ~12,200, I headed up towards the west-southwest ridge of White Rock Mountain. Snow made climbing to the ridge enjoyable. Once on the ridge, the ascent was a loose class 2 talus hop to the summit where I arrived at 11:20 AM.

Gaining the west-southwest ridge of White Rock Mountain.

Looking up at the west-southwest ridge of White Rock Mountain.

White Benchmark from the summit of White Rock Mountain.

Descending east off the summit provided the most difficult climbing of the day with some minor class 3 scrambling around some rotten rock towers. With the snow, I was able to traverse out on the face and avoid any difficult climbing. The rock would probably be suspect without snow. Fortunately, this section was short lived. Past the rotten rock towers, I descended the southeast face of White Rock Mountain.

Rotten Rock Spires.

Looking back at the rock spires.

Once at ~12,800, I made the quick traverse over towards White Benchmark. The GPS indicated 0.15 miles and 600 gain at the base of White benchmark's northeast couloir. Looking at the top of the northeast couloir it looked steep from the basin below but as I climbed up the couloir, I learned that looks were deceiving and that exiting the couloir to the left was rather mellow.

Looking up at the northeast couloir on White Benchmark.

Climbing up the northeast couloir on White Benchmark.

The snow wasn't as firm as I would have preferred in the couloir, especially near the top. Once I exited the couloir, I encountered some minor class 3 scrambling which led me to the summit of White Benchmark where I arrived at 12:30 PM. Clouds were started to build and a cold breeze lingered so my summit stay was short.

Top of the northeast couloir on White Benchmark.

Final bit of minor scrambling on White Benchmark.

White Rock Mountain from the summit of White Benchmark.

I descended off White Benchmark's south ridge until I found easy access to a northwest couloir spur from the south ridge. Glissading went very quick back into Queen Basin where I trucked back towards Copper Creek.

Typical bushwhacking to gain Queen Basin.

Returning back to the Copper Creek trail, I made good time back to the trailhead where I arrived at 2:30 PM. I was glad to have snow cover on these peaks as they were probably more enjoyable.

Route Map.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Comments or Questions
Kevin Baker

White BM
06/10/2013 04:00
Nice couloir on White BM, Derek! I looked at that from Pearl today. You must have picked a better line than I did getting out of that notch because I ran into some exposed, loose 4th class. That is a nice area to explore.


one more basin
06/10/2013 04:41
The basin past queen offers easier travel, with no trees and deadfall to contend with, just in case anyone is heading that way. Great area, wish it had more snow this year.


Couloir Exit
06/10/2013 05:14
Kevin - Since I was able to traverse out further left on snow from the top of the couloir, I wonder if that avoided the class 4 section. I can see my traverse to the ridge being problematic if there wasn't snow cover.

Kevin Baker

Probably so
06/10/2013 18:43
It's hard to determine from your pics, but I traversed out of that notch what would be climber's left. I think the snow did cover a lot of the garbage ledges I was on. Snow is our friend in spring! 8)


Another helpful aid
06/10/2013 19:00
for someday...

Any pics/ideas on what combining WSC Peak with these 2 would entail?

The best I've found is this pic, which makes it seem reasonable with minimal drop.


Re: WSC Peak
06/10/2013 21:16
There was some sort of cliff band/Gendarme between White BM and WSC. Descending into the valley to the south should avoid any problems. Didn't look too bad.

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