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White Mountain Road is Open to the Locked Gate

See my Pentax K wish list at B&H Photo.

Well, image quality of the Pentax K1 is outstanding, even in standard mode (non SuperRes). It might even be better than the Nikon D810. What a pity to have such a marginal lens line from Pentax. But fortunately I have along a Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon (Pentax K mount aka “ZK”), on loan from a reader.


Those looking to visit the White Mountains will be relieved to know that White Mountain Rd is open all the way to the locked gate. Although the road to Patriarch Grove proper is blocked with “Road Closed” signs, it appears to me that this is completely bogus as I can see nothing blocking the road—the usual drift is so small it couldn’t even fill my ice chest. I think the forest service just will get around to taking down the signs sometime soon. So... the season is open.

Update: see what things look like 1200 ft lower in elevation 5 day later! Always come prepared for winter conditions in the mountains, even in August where I’ve snowstorms bringing snow 6000 ft lower than here!

White Mountain Road with View to White Mountain Peak, June 7, 2016
f9 @ 1/50 sec, ISO 100; 2016-06-07 05:51:01
PENTAX K-1 + Zeiss ZK 28mm f/2 Distagon

[low-res image for bot]

The Pentax K-1 in SuperRes mode is unbeatable as a black and white camera.

Relief at 11,600' Elevation
f6.3 @ 1/400 sec, ISO 100; 2016-06-07 08:06:42
PENTAX K-1 + Zeiss ZK 28mm f/2 Distagon

[low-res image for bot]

On the way up, I found two marmots vigorously gnawing on the SnowCat parked by the side of the road. One was up deep inside—I crawled under the 'cat' and looked up; it had dug a nice 5-inch hole through the bottom of the seat or some kind of insulation type stuff! Out of sight up this hole so far had it had burrowed in. I guess it got a surprise when the driver came along later that day and started up the 'cat'. Marmots seem to love padding of any sort (seat cushions), radiator hoses, etc—beware of leaving a car parked too long up in this area!

Marc C Writes:

Oh, yeah. When I first worked at Bancroft many moons ago, the place was run on big, old, noisy generators. With a lot of exposed greased parts. Marmots love anything greasy, even automotive or mechanical lubricants. On at least one occasion work had to be stopped for the day because a marmot got into the drive mechanism for the generator, resulting in instant and strong natural selection and a very messy cleanup job.

Marmots also immobilized a lot of parked vehicles by gnawing through various hoses. So your advice is well taken. Deer mice — about 20% of which at Barcroft were found to be Hantavirus positive — also like to take up residence in vehicles that aren’t well sealed. You really don’t want a mouse nest in your ventilation system wafting virus at you whenever you turn the heater or A/C on.

I foolishly thought that a decent chunk of the road to Barcroft would be dry enough to chance on my road bike (the only bike I had along, having done the Eastern Sierra Double Century the Saturday prior). It made a nice prop though.

Snow on the Road to Barcroft at ~12000', June 7 2016
f9 @ 1/500 sec, ISO 100; 2016-06-07 12:01:18
PENTAX K-1 + Zeiss ZK 28mm f/2 Distagon

[low-res image for bot]
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