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Telescope Peak March 2014

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Telescope Peak March 2014

Postby Adventure Punk » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:20 am

Anybody know what conditions are like on Telescope Peak? Planning a possible trip March 11. Thanks
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Re: Telescope Peak March 2014

Postby Matt Lemke » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:37 am

I think there is still a serious drought in CA. I imagine it will be mostly dry but someone who actually lives in the area should chime in
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Re: Telescope Peak March 2014

Postby colinr » Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:27 am

Southern and Central California just received significant rain and snow. Northern CA got some and is about to get more. We're still talking drought and unusually warm temperatures, but the mountains will be snowy in March. The Panamint City weather Station, at 6,880 feet and a few miles southwest of Telescope Peak, recorded 1.66 inches of precipitation over the past handful of days.

When I left Death Valley NP a week ago, snow was visible on Telescope Peak from the valley. Given the mostly dry and warm winter, the snow was probably not deep. I have not heard reports confirming if ice was a major issue or difficult to bypass. When I went in February a couple of years ago, I was easily able to stay on soft, shallow snow by heading straight up the final ridge rather than attempting to stay on the switchbacks. I did encounter small ice patches in the portion of the hike near the trailhead.

However, I'm guessing the entire hiking route and much of the road beyond the charcoal kilns just received 1-2 feet of snow with some areas of higher drifts. I'm guessing a March 11 hike would involve starting from the charcoal kilns and snowshoeing or post-holing for many miles. I'd recommend being willing to turn back without summiting and/or bringing snowshoes, trekking poles, ice axe, and crampons unless you can confirm that plain waterproof hiking shoes/boots (and maybe gaiters and possibly microspikes) will suffice. The snow might be shallow enough and soft enough to just be fun and scenic, but it also could be deep enough, or icy enough in some steep areas, to make for a bigger adventure than you may want. Barring another significant storm, waiting until late March or into April would likely reduce the event to a simple hike from Mahogany Flat (normal TH). Here's a point forecast:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=36.169949&lon=-117.08922239999998&site=all&smap=1&searchresult=Telescope%20Peak%2C%20Death%20Valley%20National%20Park%2C%20California%2C%20USA
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Re: Telescope Peak March 2014

Postby bob_joy » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:40 pm

I second SeanReady's opinion. Viewing the peak from my back deck, the top thousand feet of the southwest face has plenty of snow. More on the normal trail route a sure bet. He is right on suggesting staying on the ridge rather than the swithbacks for the last bit; these develop TG layers in the snow which can shear out and leave you sliding down the steep east face in loose snow unable to self arrest. I know of 2 fatalities from this cause. Have a safe climb. Be advised the road up Wildrose canyon is destroyed; you have to come in via Emigrant Pass.
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Re: Telescope Peak March 2014

Postby Matt Lemke » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:00 pm

Holy smokes! I guess you got a huge storm pass through them. When I did Telescope in February 2012 we encountered a couple inches only on the final 1000 feet but I think that was a drought year as well.
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Re: Telescope Peak March 2014

Postby Deb » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:27 pm

I was on Tin Mtn 8953' (Death Valley) on March 1st. Swimming in snow before the 8000' mark. Could've used snowshoes, but I hate them so I post-hole. :)
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Re: Telescope Peak March 2014

Postby ExploreABitMore » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:17 pm

We're supposed to get up close to 80 in Ridgecrest soon (hotter in DV). Wait a couple weeks and a lot of the snow could be gone by then.
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Re: Telescope Peak March 2014

Postby Adventure Punk » Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:28 am

Wow thanks for the good beta all! Much appreciated!!
Peace
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Re: Telescope Peak March 2014

Postby n0ohpyt » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:33 pm

Hello. Does anyone know what the conditions on the trail have been like recently? Flying in from Canada to visit friends and hoping to make a day trip up on April 12. Thanks.
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