Mount White – 13,657


RT Length: 14.25 miles

Elevation Gain: 4945’

I arrived at Browns Creek Trailhead to one other vehicle in the lot. It didn’t look like they were sleeping in their car so I assumed they were either already on the trail or camping in the basin overnight. I didn’t pass anyone all day, so they must have been in Browns Creek (I was taking the Little Browns Creek approach). The road to Browns Creek Trailhead is an easy 2WD dirt road.


The trailhead had plenty of parking and restrooms (which are currently closed due to Covid-19: they had signs asking us to “recreate responsibly”). The trail starts at the north end of the parking lot, and follows trail 1429 west



I walked along the trail and quickly encountered a gate (not locked)



After hiking for 1.5 miles along a well maintained trail I came to a junction and turned right (north) and followed the Colorado Trial for a bit (not long) before continuing on trail 1430. There are well placed and visible signs at each junction.


For the first 5.25 miles of this hike it was an easy, class 1 trail that was both horse and bicycle friendly (I saw evidence of both)




The sun seemed to rise earlier than normal, and I was able to easily see where I was going. After 5.25 miles however, snow began to cover the trail at around 11,490’. This was punchy snow, and I couldn’t have crossed the area without snowshoes.


I strapped my snowshoes on and followed the ravine west.



There was one spot that was a little steep, but nothing I needed an ice axe for


It was clear there was a trail under the snow, as at times it would rise above the snow before sinking back down. Luckily it was still early and the snow was firm enough to navigate with snowshoes. I would not have been able to traverse this area without them, especially on the way back.


At 6.4 miles (12,670’) I left the trail to follow a 4WD road. I was supposed to take the road to the ridge, but what little snow there was here only seemed to be on the road itself, so instead I just hiked straight to the ridge



Once at the ridge I turned left (east) and hiked the third of a mile to the summit on rocky terrain. The was class 2.



There was a false summit (but it wasn’t too far from the actual summit)



I summited at 8:40am, after 4.5 hours of hiking and 7.2 miles


Mt White Summit:

It was quite windy but I still spent a few minutes getting a good look at the conditions of the local mountains: I intended to summit Unnamed 13,712 tomorrow and wanted to get a good look at the route. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to summit, so I took a bunch of photos to study later tonight along with a topo map. Check out some of the surrounding peaks:



Time to head back down the ridge




I made a new friend


And turned right (north) and headed down into the basin


It was still morning, yet when I hit the area with snow it was already very soft. I put my snowshoes back on and headed directly down the snow, back to the trail. I was very happy to have lugged my snowshoes all this way: they weren’t always needed, but it would have been a miserable trek without them, if not impossible.







After taking off my snowshoes I followed the class 1 trail back to the trailhead. Little Browns Creek was dry the entire way.




It looked like this area had seen a fire in the past few years, but the trail was clear of debris


I made it back to the trailhead at 12:30pm, making this a 14.25 mile hike with 4945’ of elevation gain in 8 hours, 30 minutes.


Here’s a topo map of my route:


It was my intention to stay here tonight so I cleaned up, made dinner, took off my shoes, and enjoyed eating by the creek with my feet in the water.  Well, I didn’t much enjoy the food (I have to force myself to eat after a hike) but it didn’t taste bad. It took me about 45 minutes to finish my spaghetti, but I’m proud to say I ate it all.


I did a physical check: I’d returned the boots I’d previously bought and wore my old boots today instead. They were full of holes but at least they didn’t rub my ankles raw (my ankles were still red and raw from last week, but nothing my old shoes and some rather large band aids couldn’t fix. Also, I’m in the market for good winter hiking boots). I had cell service, so I text my kids to see how their day was (my youngest rocked her online APUSH exam and was now headed to work), answered a few emails and checked the weather for tomorrow.

I was surprised at how many people were at the trailhead now. The parking lot was completely full. Everyone seemed to have kids or a dog. The creek was a great distraction for both.

After dinner I sat in the back of my truck with a glass of whiskey and my topo map, trying to figure out how I was going to summit PT 13,712 tomorrow. It might have been the alcohol talking, but I couldn’t help but think of how much I loved my new truck set-up! I had another hummingbird fly into the back: that’s twice in as many days camping out and I think it’s because they think my hanging lights are flowers. I was just glad the buzzing noise wasn’t a giant bumblebee. The mosquitoes started coming out around 3pm so I shut my tailgate.

It became cloudy and started to rain. I looked at the time: 4:30pm. I decided to read for a bit, and then get to bed early. I needed to be up around 1:30am to hike past the snow before it got too soft. I prepped my coffee for the morning so all I had to do was turn on the stove, set out my clothes for tomorrow, and closed and locked all my doors/windows. It was still warm and very light outside but I knew it would get rather cold tonight. I was pleased my blackout curtains did their job and despite the early hour I was able to fall fast asleep.

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

3 thoughts on “Mount White – 13,657”

  1. It’s alwayhs a pleasure to read of Your mountainess escapades and the statistics that go with each and every step.I always find You amazing as You do all the daring things You do.You set Your mind like a flint to a fire and don’t stop till that fire is lit. Please don’t be offended if I say that there is no one that can keep up with You in Yiur mountainess journeys and capitolizing on touching each and every peak without reservations. You have a partner who accompanies You on several summits,but will never be a Laura Clark,alias Wild Wanderer. Their is only one Wild Wanderer ,and Lady Laura Clark.


  2. I know hiking boots are a very individualized thing, but you said you’re looking for winter hiking boots so I thought I’d give a shoutout to my Vasques. Wore them all winter long, including with spikes and snowshoes, and they’ve been amazing. Perfect fit to my feet, not a single blister, and kept me nice and warm! I hope they never wear out but when they do I’d 100% buy the exact same pair again.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: