|Hiking||21.68 Miles|| 11 Hrs 50 Mns ||1.83 mph|
|11,601 ft AEG|
||no linked trail guides|
|To say this one was sweet would be an understatement. Telescope Peak and I have a history...
Nov 2008: made it as far as the Panamint Ridge/Telescope Peak Trail and had to abort directly to Mahogany Flats
May 2014: high temps (forecasted lows in the valley near 90) cancelled the trip
Oct 2015: the infamous flood and closure of Badwater Road led to this
Apr/May 2016: snowstorm cancelled the trip
May 2016: Mr. 90s Movie Quote Machine, West Side Road Karl, and I left Shorty's Well at 4:10 a.m. with the nearly full moon lighting up Death Valley. No headlamps required. Very windy the night before, and still a little breezy when we left. J-cubed left about a half hour behind us. Sun's first rays hit us about 5 miles in, but inside the canyon, we were largely in shade again, and even in the sun, temps were pleasant. Really, they were all day.
We all regroup at the spring which has strong flow and ponder the fun about to begin. Up the headwall to the north, which is quite steep at first, then relents a bit before the east-west ridge. I gamely keep up with J-cubed until the east-west ridge (or, more accurately, they kindly hike with me at my pace). Ken, Karl, and I team up for the remainder and we fall into a great group pace: time and elevation pass quickly. Once on the rolling ridgeline, you get to catch your breath and you enter the pines. Nice through here. Enjoy it, because the stretch between 7600' and 9800' is a special treat. Words cannot describe the joy one feels when finally encountering that trail.
On any other day, the final stretch of the Telescope Peak Trail would have been a piece of cake. The previous 10,000' of elevation gain, culminating in the headwall of fun, made sure today was not going to be that kind of day. Eventually, we rounded the false peak and saw sweet success. Karl, Kathy, Ken, and I had the summit to ourselves, and that view is absolutely ridiculous from the summit. See it sometime if you can: the Telescope Peak Trail is a fine way to see it without the headwall. Stayed on the pleasant top for awhile and made our way to Mahogany Camp where friends, food, and gear awaited. Karl and Kathy bagged Bennett and Rogers on the way home but Ken and I beelined it back to camp.
Thanks to the crew for teaming up for this madness - great day. None of this, though, would have happened without the help of Pam and Kathy, and a HUGE thank you for your support!