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2 Days in Death Valley

 
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lilbitmo
Silverdaddy AKA DILF


Joined: 04 Mar 2008
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Location: Orange County

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 8:02 pm    Post subject: 2 Days in Death Valley  Reply with quote

I know it's going to be hard to believe that a "Trail Rat" like myself has never been there but it's true. My friend Greg (Lucky) Lucker invited me to go hike/climb some peaks in Death Valley and I jumped at the chance before it get's hot out there  Shocked

We rolled from my house at 4 AM Friday morning, pulled into the Wildrose Parking lot next to the Charcoal Kilns at 8:40 AM and were headed up the trail by 9 AM - the day was slightly warm but there was some clouds that rolled through by the time we hit the summit - only met two other hikers as we were finishing up on the summit a nice guy named Max from Paris, France and his girlfriend Johanna from Poland were on a 6 week tour of the Southern US.

We made it back down in just over an hour to find the parking area full of cars at 12:30 PM, then we headed down towards Stove Pipe Wells to see the Mesquite Dunes, stopping all over the place to take pictures of the spring flowers in bloom and other things of interest.

By 5 PM we came all the way back up to the Kilns and made our way to Mahogany Flats Campground three miles up the road and the start of the climb/hike up to Telescope Peak. Made camp, cooked up some great grub, watched the sun set and packed our packs for the next day.

Up at 5 something we hit the trail before 6 AM, having been told by Dave G from this board that it's more advantageous to go up the "service road" instead of the main trail to get to the top of Rogers Peak we did that. The snow on the north face of Rogers is melting fast and most of it filled the road it was melted for about 1 to 2 feet away from the "downside" section of the road allowing us enought room to stay on dirt all the way to the summit, except the last 300 feet where we had to climb over three sections of snow, but no crampons were needed as it wasn't an exsposed area. The "road switchbacks" are fairly long ones, some going on for about a half mile. The gain from the trailhead to the summit 1,800 feet, nice way to get warmed in first thing in the morning.

The top of Rogers is covered in Radio towers and support equipment, we stopped to check out the various pieces and found one antea broke so I tried to use it to get a signal - see the pictures you'll understand.

Heading south off the summit we dropped the 300 feet needed to pick up the main "Telescope Peak" trail in the saddle that seperates Rogers from Bennett Peak, which heads around the west shoulder of Bennett, again it stayes 300 or 400 feet below that actual summit and the west facing side of Bennett had three of four spots that still had snow about 2 feet deep that we had to cross, but none of it is exposed or hard to traverse.

From the south side of Bennett we headed straight thru the saddle that separates Bennett from Telescope, electing to go over the top of Bennett on the return swing. We soon caught up with another hiker and within minutes we determined that he was the camper that pulled into the "site next to ours" right as we were calling it a night the night before. He had an interesting story about coming home from a climb in "Colorado" (he lived in Denver at the time) and hit a "Deer" at 75 miles an hour totaling his car, rolling it and ending up in bed with muscle problems/broken pelvis for four years of recovery. He only recently took a job in Vegas and starting hiking/climbing again. He joined our group as we all headed up the ridgeline for the summit of Telescope Peak at 11,043.

The last 400 plus feet to the false summit has three to four feet of snow but by the time most hikers get there it's warm enough in the day that it's a little post holing and some traversing in and out of the rocks that are already exposed, with 40 minutes we were sitting on the real summit enjoying some food, taking the usual summit photos and watching as the other hikers heads would pop up over the "false summit" some 300 yards to the north.

After 30 minutes on top we headed down, I stopped at a spot where I stashed some gear (crampons and ice axe) as I knew I didn't need them once I got to the south end of the saddle just before the last approach to Telescope, warm day, soft snow plenty of rocks to go around most of the snow.

Heading back thru the saddle I heard someone yell out my name and sure enough it was Kevin from this board, the same Kevin Rooney I had met on the Ski Hut trail coming down from Baldy Bowl back on Feb 21, we chatted for a few minutes (he saw on Facebook that I was heading up so he talked some other friends into joining him on an attempt), he asked me to explain the snow conditions to his hiking friends which I did and they were convinced they could make the attempt - Kevin, please tell me you guys made it Question

From there we quickly made our way over to the sorth side of Bennett, made a quick "B-line" up the ridgeline to the summit, then back down the north side and rejoined Doug the gentleman we met earlier in the day who choose not to go over Bennett. Picking up the main trial in the same saddle previously mentioned we now took the main trial back down the east side of Rogers to the trail head, this side of the mountain gives the hiker some great views of the canyons that separate the desert floor from the ridges that lead to all three summits, quite the view.

We made it home to Orange County by 7:30 PM, a great two days in a place I tend to avoid as I melt in the "dry heat" of the desert, but it wasn't that bad and I will go back.

Last note is - I'm getting tired of loading pictures in "Photobucket" only to have them come out in a completely different order than what I uploaded them as - a complete pain in the arse, please enjoy them anyway, they are just in a scrambled order and it's too time comsuming to put them back in order.  Embarassed  Mad  Evil or Very Mad

http://s908.photobucket.com/album...ath%20Valley/?albumview=slideshow
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Elwood
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Location: Glendale, CA

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dude! Those are some awesome pictures to complement a spectacular report. Thanks for sharing.
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cougarmagic
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Location: Now I have a quote under my name, Taco.

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For Photobucket:

While viewing your Album, click on "Organize", then where it says "Drag Files to Rearrange or Sort By", select "Alpha by Filename" in the drop-down menu.  All set!

Just figured this one out myself, after being annoyed with it too!
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice pix, Mr. P.

So, the temps weren't unbearable this time of year?  I associate DV with Feb - April

HJ
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lilbitmo
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Location: Orange County

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hikin_Jim wrote:
Nice pix, Mr. P.

So, the temps weren't unbearable this time of year? I associate DV with Feb - April

HJ

Temps
Valley Floor 94 at the dunes, 97 at Badwater
Wildrose Campground 65 to 70 - Wildrose Peak 58-65
Mahogany Flats 68 during the day 43 at night
Rogers, Bennett and Telescope varied from 50 to 70 depending on the wind speed and cloud cover
Very temerate for this time of year - give it another month "Forget about it" Shocked
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Kevin



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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Patrick -

Good to see you again, and yes - that group summitted about 10 minutes after we did. Thanks for giving them a "pep talk" - when we left them on the last pitch before the summit they were looking pretty worried.

I was surprised to see how much snow had melted away as all winter long Telescope and the other peaks in the Panamints have been hammered by storms all winter. As we were driving back we were struck by how green the creasote/sage/etc was in the valley heading back towards Ballarat.

Kevin
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Dave G



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Location: Brea, CA

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice, Patrick! Glad you enjoyed your Telescope adventure. Next time we'll hit it from Badwater Twisted Evil .
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lilbitmo
Silverdaddy AKA DILF


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Location: Orange County

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Courgarmagic Tried it, still didnt put them in the order I uploaded them, must be a link problem with computer Im using and photobucket.

Hiking Jim I associate Death Valley with Death or at least melting dont know how folks can do the summer months there Id need to be turned over regularly with a little butter added Smile

Kevin, always good to see you on the trail and talk, hope you make it down this way soon. Im always glad to give accurate report on conditions, also glad people respect the harder stuff enough to ask before they get in a place that could hurt them fear is a great teacher of respect for the mountain.

Dave G will you carry my pack for the first 6 miles out of Badwater, Ill be the guy dying from the heat have to do it in the fall when the temps are below 75 or start at midnight?
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norma r



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Location: Ventura County, CA

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy  Beautiful photos Patrick!  Glad you had such a good time and got to see so many things.  Isn't Death Valley beautiful?  I loved seeing your photos of the ridge from Bennett to Telescope.  I always thought that was such a pretty view since you can see the peak before you clearly.

DV holds special meaning for me... The first time I ever wore crampons was on Telescope Peak in March 2007.  Then on Cinco de Mayo 2007 I met Dave G while hiking Bennett, Rogers and Telescope.   Very Happy   Three years later we are still hikin' fools!  Sadly, like what happened to you and Dave this winter, Telescope was also the mountain that swallowed my 35mm camera when i thought i was listening to a rock tumble down it's east slope.

Now that your DV appetite has been whetted, you must go back!  Shorty's Well to Telescope is on my wish list too.  Plus there are so many other cool peaks to climb.  You'll be back...
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mve



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Location: LA LA Land

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terrific TR Patrick -- thank you for sharing these great photos.
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