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Telescope Peak from Shorty's Well, CA

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127 6 0
Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Death Valley
Rated
5
5 of 5 by 2
 
3
Statistics
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Shuttle 21.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation -256 feet
Elevation Gain 11,303 feet
Accumulated Gain 11,700 feet
Avg Time Hiking 8-16 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 60.89
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
35  2018-05-19 BiFrost
17  2016-05-21 JuanJaimeiii
24  2016-05-21 BiFrost
19  2016-05-21 sbkelley
9  2016-05-21 joebartels
23  2016-05-21 desert_boonie
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
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Preferred   Oct, May, Apr, Sep
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:52am - 4:34pm
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Route Scout App
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Official Route
 
1 Alternative
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
South Fork Hanaupah Canyon Trail
5.7 mi away
3.8 mi
1,834 ft
Badwater Trail
Badwater Trail
6.0 mi away
2.5 mi
Helios Canyon
6.4 mi away
2.3 mi
2,757 ft
Devils Golf Course
Devils Golf Course
7.2 mi away
Natural Bridge Trail - DVNP
Natural Bridge Trail - DVNP
7.2 mi away
1.2 mi
397 ft
Artists Drive
Artists Drive
7.7 mi away
Typhon Canyon
8.6 mi away
6.5 mi
59 ft
Dantes View and Point
Dantes View and Point
8.8 mi away
1.0 mi
229 ft
Coffin Peak
9.8 mi away
2.5 mi
303 ft
Telescope Peak Trail
Telescope Peak Trail
10.5 mi away
6.2 mi
3,082 ft
[ View More! ]
Flora Nearby
Culture Nearby
crawl out of the shadow of death
by joebartels

Overview
Shuttle hike from Shorty's Well ( 253 ft below sea level ) to Telescope Peak 11,048 then down to Mahogany Campground. For reference Shorty's Well is on the western edge of the Badwater Basin ( 282 ft below sea level ). Which is just west of the headwaters for the Amargosa River... leave ye rafts at home.


Death Valley 101
The valley proper is about 40 miles in length and 8-12 miles wide east to west. To the west of this dry lake valley is the Panamint mountain range named after the Panamint Indians. To the east lies the Amargosa range with ominous peak names like Dante and Funeral.

History
"Shorty" Alexander Borden, a miner, dug the well that bears his name without the aid of power equipment. He built the road up Hanaupah Canyon with his burros named "Hanaupah Jack" and "Tule Hole" to access his claim. Using nothing more than a crowbar, pickax and possibly some dynamite he completed the road from Oct 1932 to Mar 1933.

Borden mined 40 tons of ore that assayed around $24 per ton. Unfortunately at $26+ to transport to the nearest smelter in Salt Lake City the operation was a bust. Shorty left the ore and moved on. By the late 1930's the title on his mine lapsed. Years later, World War II brought smelters closer as the price of lead skyrocketed. A couple trucks drove up Shorty's hand built road, took his ore and cashed in on his hard labor. Shorty never received a penny. Luckily as a WWI veteran he was able to retire in Lone Pine on his compensation.

Hike
The ascent at 11,240 feet is among the highest in the US.

From Shorty's Well follow the old mining road a good 8 miles up into the South Fork of Hanaupah Canyon. At 3 miles is an exciting 8 foot boulder. Creosote and brittlebush are the first signs of life around 5 miles. The road fades and you keep heading up the wash. Just use the path of least resistance. Looking for cairns would be a waist of time. Gravel, sand and low brush slows you down a bit.

Just after 9 miles the creek was flowing on our trip. Which seemed impressive for this mineral dust bowl. Topo shows a spring another 0.6 mi up canyon and Hanaupah Spring 0.9 mi so it may not always flow down this far. Burros inhabit the area so filtering the water is recommended.

We crossed the creek and stayed closer to the north side until 9.4 mi. Here near the "ny" in "Canyon" on topo we ascended up to the ridge that divides Middle and South Hanaupah canyons. It's a steep 1,300 to 1,550 ascent depending on how you do it. A left on a use-trail at 4,930 makes the top few hundred feet much easier to negotiate. According to Shorty burros have trails all the way up and over the other side of the range. In planning, this part looked daunting. After hiking 9 miles of hard to loose gravel my hip rejoiced on this ascent.

Intermittent faint trails along the ridge take you into scattered pines. On our cooler than normal May 21st hike I switched over to a long sleeve shirt and pants. After pines lift your spirits, scree/talus fields beat you down. These are not nail biting rock slides like I've surfed at Grand Canyon. Rather a workout on tired legs. Perhaps burro trails skirt slightly north.

Just after 14 mi you pickup the summit trail. Statistically it isn't a wall between 12 and 14 miles but it sure seemed liked it. We took three breaks ranging from 6 to 12 minutes in this area.

We rejoiced when we came to the maintained trail to the summit. It felt like a 1.7 mi stroll. After a well deserved break at the summit it's 6.2 mi down to Mahogany Flat Campgrounds. Please note the upper end of this hike is often covered in snow when it's nicest at the bottom. I'll guess... late Oct to early Nov & Apr is prime time for this hike.

joebartels
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$
    no fees or permits reported

    if incorrect tell us about it


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    To Shorty's Well:
    From CA-190 Head southeast on Badwater Rd and follow 5.9 mi
    Turn right onto West Side Rd and follow 10.7 mi
    Turn left onto Shortys Well Rd and follow 446 ft

    Mahogany Shuttle see [ gps route ]
    page created by joebartels on Oct 12 2015 9:02 pm
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