Many things can derail a trip like this one and Scott definitely was the master at juggling all the logistics to make this happen...thank you for all the hard work and planning! As it turned out the weather cooperated this time and we had great temps for hiking this beast. Pam and Kathy provided the much needed driving logistics for a difficult shuttle and moving all our gear and beverages around
As for the hike we started about 415am up the long rocky trek into Hanaupah Canyon from Shortys Well. It was dark on this section for the first 5 miles but probably best since things get much more interesting once in the Hanaupah Canyon. Scott said there was a good spring and walking up canyon in the dry creek bed it appears out of nowhere with really decent flow. The spring is at about 9 mile mark and just before the real AEG starts so this water source is in an ideal spot. We filtered and had a snack as Joe and JJ caught up to us at the spring. They had started about 45 minutes behind us but with JJ that is not an issue
After the break we hiked out of Hanaupah Canyon up the first good climb of the day onto a ridgeline above the canyon. Once on the ridgeline we started to get our first good views of Death Valley below and how much AEG we had already climbed. JJ has a good description of the route http://hikearizona.com... We continued up the ridgeline with moderate elevation gain until we reached the steepest part. This section is about 2500 feet in less than 2 miles with loose scree and definitely the most difficult part of the hike. Fortunately at the end of this section we finally reached real trail
We were all tired from the steep ascent and took a break right where we reached the trail. After the much needed break we headed up the trail which felt awesome after what we had just climbed. The trail is in great shape with relatively gentle grade all the way to the summit. There is one false summit but it's minor and once on top the views are fantastic. Having done Cactus2Clouds I think Telescope definitely wins the view award. Not only could we see the great views of Death Valley we could also see the snow capped Eastern Sierras and Mount Whitney. Kathy had hiked up from Mahogany Flat and was there to welcome us on the summit as we enjoyed the views and a well earned summit beverage
With the hard part complete we headed down to Mahogany Flat. However Kathy convinced me to do Bennett and Rogers Peaks on the way down which the trail bypasses. Reluctantly I agreed to knock out those summits which were good climbs. Definitely could feel the days AEG in the last two climbs.
Finally made it back to camp. Everyone was in good spirits having accomplished the objective. We enjoyed some more well earned beverages and a nice fire to top of the day!