Exploring the good kind of fissures in Mono Lake, CA.
Just off the north shore of Mono Lake lies the volcano Black Point, a low, mesa-like mountain of black ash.
I took the Cemetery Road turnoff at the north end of Mono Lake on HWY 395 and headed towards Black Point. I had directions, but had some trouble locating the trailhead. Half way up the mountain with no sign of any fissures, I looked down on my car below and wondered if I should continue my search this late in the day [5:30pm].
There really isn’t a trail to follow, so it’s up to the hiker to find the way to the top of the mountain and the fissures.
My first attempt at trying to find the fissures was a complete failure but this time I was better prepared.
Black Point erupted about 13,000 years ago following the last ice age, when Mono Lake swelled to five times its current size and nearly ten times its current depth. At that time of its eruption, Black Point was located under water, which probably accounts for its unusual flattened top and the 20 – 50′ deep fissures on its southwestern face.
The fissures are only a few feet wide in some places.
There are three fissures in total and all three can be walked, climbed and squeezed through.
Some are shallow, some are very deep.
Deep Crack Track
Squeeze On In
Big ass crack!
One of the deep ones.
Go into the light.
At first I thought I would have to risk going over that rock ahead which was a 10 foot shear drop and then I realized there was a very small opening through the bottom…
…and this is what happened to my glasses as I squeezed through it.
The light at the end of the tunnel.
Come on down.
The textures are amazing.
These walls are holy.
After exploring the fissures, I headed south towards Mono Lake. This route takes you over the black volcanic sands that actually make up Black Point.
I eventually made my way down to the black sandy beach before making it back to my car.
Took a guess that this would be the quickest unmarked dirt road to take back to the highway, fortunately it was.