Wünüpü Peak and Waucoba Mountain Loop

Inyo Mountains Wilderness, CA


Distance9.3 mi
Elevation gain4,900 ft
Route typeLoop
Duration6 h
CruxClass 2

Peaks bagged

Wünüpü Peak(Zdon)10,358 ft / Prom. 678 ft

Waucoba Mountain(DPS, GBP, CaWHP, Zdon)11,123 ft / Prom. 3,923 ft

Zdon — Andy Zdon's Desert SummitsDPS — Desert Peaks SectionGBP — Great Basin PeaksCaWHP — California Wilderness High Points


I parked along this dirt road about 0.2 miles from Saline Valley Road.
Making my way cross country through the pinyon-juniper woodland.
Looking back.
Veering north toward the base of Wünüpü Peak.
Starting up Wünüpü Peak's east slope. The first 1,500 feet is very steep.
A particularly loose section.
I stumbled over talus to gain the ridge proper.
Atop the ridge, a fallen bristlecone pine trunk.
About halfway up, the grade lessened.
Looking back.
A treeless section. The summit of Wünüpü Peak is somewhere in the shadow on the top-right.
Looking back at the northernmost reaches of Death Valley.
To the south, Waucoba Mountain some 1,000 feet higher.
Entering a small wooded section below the summit.
Heading north toward the high point.
Nearing the high point, the small hill just past the trees.
Wünüpü Peak summit
Wünüpü Peak summit.
Views from the summit were mostly obscured by the trees, but there was a nice window facing the Sierra.
I turned around and started heading south toward Waucoba Mountain.
I took a slightly different route via the western slope, which offered more pleasant terrain.
Looking back. There were some easily avoidable patches of snow.
Continuing south, about to drop down 700 feet to the saddle between the two peaks.
Some dramatic, scattered light on Waucoba Mountain's north slope.
More views at the Sierra across Owens Valley.
View back.
At the saddle.
Starting up Waucoba Mountain.
View back toward Wünüpü Peak.
Brushy at times, though I was able to avoid any major bushwhacking.
Looking back. Snow patches started to appear.
I avoided much of the snow by climbing on top of large granite boulders like these.
Reaching a plateau about half way up.
A short downhill section. Waucoba Mountain comes into view.
About 500 vertical feet from the summit.
At this point the snow was unavoidable. It was quite soft and I was postholing up to my shins even with the use of poles.
Above the tree line, nearing the summit.
Waucoba Mountain summit
Waucoba Mountain's flat summit area. View southeast.
View north. The snow-capped White Mountain can be seen way off in the distance.
Starting my descent via Waucoba Mountain's east ridge.
Looking back up. The snow persisted until about 10,000 feet of elevation.
View north toward Wünüpü Peak. You can get a sense for the steepness of the slopes from this perspective.
Finally at the base of the mountain.
Looking back.
More cross country back to my car.
One last look back at Waucoba Mountain and Wünüpü Peak poking out from behind the trees.

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