Blacker Hovse Takes Over the Sierras

Last weekend, Blacker Hovse sought a takeover of the Eastern Sierras over the course of their two-night stay. Through attempting to summit dangerous icy peaks, establishing campsite populace dominance, thwarting frostbite whilst collecting pristine slabs of ice, and feeding duckies –  memories were made and aesthetic photos were taken.

One of the trip’s organizers, Sylvia Wang (EE ‘25, Blacker), was able to narrow down the campsite location an hour past Bishop by simply compiling a list of places that she thought “most people would enjoy visiting” which had enough camping spots as well as a variety of hiking trails and viewpoints for people to explore.

“We camped, cooked, and made s’mores with everyone around a campfire,” Sylvia recalled. “A lot of us visited the Erick Schat’s Bakery in Bishop where we enjoyed freshly baked breads, pastries, and other delicious goods.”

They also visited the June Lake loop, and the Bishop City Park, where the group of almost 15 legal adults excitedly wandered around a pond with peas and corn to feed ducks.

After visiting June Lake beach, the attending s’more group of six – including myself – decided to explore hiking trails. As we drove through the mountains, we spotted a massive waterfall erupting with melted snow cap water on the side of a cliff. Just our luck! There were trails nearby to view similar giant waterfalls.

We drive over and begin our hike through the Aspen up the side of the mountain face bordering a lake. As we go, we discover more and more unmelted snow mounds. No big deal we thought, tennis-shoes, shmennis shoes! Only a few more miles to go! As we continue, a group of hikers with cramp-ons and hiking poles warn us about slippery conditions as they turn back. We decided to continue, “we’ll just be extra careful!”

After climbing upwards about 200 ft on the side of this steep face, we encounter a snow field. It doesn’t look very long as we begin our trek. As we venture across this 45 degree inclined snow face with nothing more than a ‘one foot in front of the other’ trail, jagged rocks peering up at us from below, and the looming thought of ‘one wrong move and you’ll end up in the hospital or worse…’,  we encounter impossible conditions and decide it’s time to turn around.

This time, from being the nervous-wreck at the back of the line, I’m now the one having to reform foot prints on a downhill slope. Whilst screaming and moving one step per minute on all fours as boaters on the lake gather at the shoreline to watch our stupidity, we certainly made some core memories (despite them being some of the most physically terrifying of my life). With pent up tears, an avoided heart attack, and what felt like a lifetime later, we made it back to the gravel trail. As we looked back at our slope while driving to the next destination, we realized that we’d made it halfway across the ~200ft snow field, impressive! Aside from a feeling of absolute power, we got some cool pictures and some nice views too! Some more than others ;)

Sylvia recalled that her favorite spot that the s’mores explored during the trip “Was an entire mountainside of wildflowers we found near the loop trail,” where two cascading mountain faces overlooked a valley of native yellow flowers.

Noting the large turnout of about 20 Hovse members ranging from frosh to ghosts, Sylvia credited Blacker’s “Big adventurer population.”

“I’ve met lots of outdoorsy people in Blacker who love camping and hiking. There were also a lot of people who had never camped before and were camping for the first time on this trip.”

Especially during an exhausting point in the academic year, Hovse trips like this are able to bring members together to make valuable memories, in a way that physically forces your separation from both school-related stress and screens. Sylvia concluded that events like this are integral to “Creating an adventurous and fun culture for the Hovse.”