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Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

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Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:00 pm

Anyone been out there recently? What's it like? I will be out that way in one or two weeks and would like to get my wife up there, but she won't want to deal with deep snow.

Also, anyone know current gas prices at Stovepipe Wells?
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby butitsadryheat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:35 pm

http://www.motortrend.com/gas_prices/34/92328/

not specifically stovepipe wells, but close. not cheap, by any means
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby SeanReedy » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:27 am

You might try calling the park for an info. check.

I will likely be out hiking peaks, canyons, and dunes in DV again very soon. I may be able to provide some details if I camp at Mahogany Flat again and do some hiking in that area. Also, I was there 4-5 weeks ago and hiked Telescope Peak. Hopefully someone with more recent specifics will chime in here or on Death-Valley.net. In the meantime, I can report what I observed when there and while researching for the coming trip.

On my hike, I was fine in hiking boots with trekking poles. Snow/ice was patchy and only a couple of inches deep down near the trailhead, mostly limited to shade and north/NE facing slopes. It was sometimes slick, but mostly avoidable. After rounding along Rogers to more E/SE facing slopes, it was completely dry/snow free until nearing the flats between Rogers and Bennet. Snow up in the meadow ranged from a few inches of soft, well-packed tracks to a couple of feet of soft snow in north facing spots off-trail. Some of the rocky, flat areas near the trail were dry. Deeper (1-2 feet of soft snow) became unavoidable on the steep switchback/ridge climb to the northern point of the Telescope Peak summit area. Sometimes it was easier/safer to find and hike up the ridge than to find/attempt portions of the final steep switchback section. Up on the very top, the snow was shallow/dry spots to sit were available. Ice was not really an issue aside from the slick patches near the beginning of the hike that simply required awareness. My main concern would be that conditions might now be more slick up on the steep switchback/ridge climb to the summit.

The Panamints got a bit of rain/snow within the past couple of days and probably also did in some of the other late Feb.-March storms. It may not mean much about conditions up higher, but I noticed that reports of snow at the Charcoal Kilns on the DV Morning Report http://www.nps.gov/deva/upload/Morning-Report.pdf ceased sometime after I returned from my last trip.

Your probably saw the Sierra Nevada Gas Prices thread that had DV information. Being that I can't buy diesel there, I had forgotten that prices in Stovepipe Wells are likely cheaper than in Furnace Creek, (but still much more than in NV). Depending on the specific vehicle and specific plans, getting fuel at Stovepipe Wells could make a lot of sense.
Here is a website that tends to have a bit more information than others I have seen (but still no Stovepipe Wells) and also a smartphone app: http://www.gasbuddy.com
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby Bob Sihler » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:10 am

Thanks, Sean. I did post at Death-Valley.net as well. So we'll see if anything comes up there. And yeah, I learned several years ago never to buy gas at Furnace Creek and go to Stovepipe Wells instead.

By the way, I read on the other forum that SW was only accepting cash as of earlier this month. I don't if that's still the case, but anyone heading out there ought to be prepared.
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby kevin trieu » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:05 am

Bob Sihler wrote:By the way, I read on the other forum that SW was only accepting cash as of earlier this month. I don't if that's still the case, but anyone heading out there ought to be prepared.
as of last weekend, that's still the case.
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby lasvegaswraith » Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:36 am

Hey Bob. They did get some snow above 8k with the last front that went through, but the temps were in the 50s up high today. As long as there isn't another front you should be fine in a week when youre there. I will post again if I go through there in the next week.
Last I heard Furnace Creek was in the $5.90 range. The guyz are right; SW is usually cheaper, but the one u REALLY want to avoid is Panamint Springs Shell. Most expensive gas I ever saw - $6.11 a couple years ago on the way to the Sierra.
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby SeanReedy » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:57 am

BTW, there is a weather station at Panamint (6,880 ft.), about 3 miles south of Telescope Peak.
http://mesowest.utah.edu/cgi-bin/droman/meso_base.cgi?stn=INTC1

Even though it obviously does not show snow depth 4,000 feet higher up, I got curious about what the data looks like in this dry year. Here are some monthly totals:
Nov 2011 0.57 inches
Dec 2011 0.26 inches
Jan 2012 0.32 inches
Feb 2012 0.46 inches
Mar 2012 0.54 inches

The station precipitation data seems to reset in mid-December:

mid-Dec 2011 through March 30 2012 1.58 inches

mid-Dec 2010 to mid-Dec 2011 10.78 inches (6.92 mid-Dec through March 30)

mid-Dec 2009 to mid-Dec 2010 9.11 inches (5.83 mid-Dec through March 30)
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby SeanReedy » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:38 am

I'm glad I won't be hiking or camping near Telescope Peak or anywhere in DVNP Saturday or Sunday! Some places on the way will be very gusty as well. Hmmm...

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=36.169996515259655&lon=-117.0893669128418&site=vef&unit=0&lg=en&FcstType=text:

Saturday: Areas of blowing dust after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 56. Windy, with a southwest wind 20 to 23 mph increasing to between 40 and 43 mph. Winds could gust as high as 65 mph.

Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow after 11pm. Areas of blowing dust before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21. Wind chill values as low as zero. Windy, with a west southwest wind 45 to 50 mph decreasing to between 20 and 25 mph. Winds could gust as high as 80 mph.

Sunday: A 20 percent chance of snow before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 34. Breezy, with a north northwest wind between 15 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph.

Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 23. Blustery, with a north northeast wind between 25 and 29 mph, with gusts as high as 41 mph.
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby Fletch » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:03 am

Bob - I did this hike April 1 a few years back. Craziest hike I've had in a while. We car-camped at the kilns and walked from there (they still had the road gated). The road was dry for a few miles, but once we got onto the trail, there was crusty snow all the way to the top or Rogers/Bennet. Then we get there after postholing for an hour or so and it's butt-ass cold and the wind was howling. No snow to deal with, but the wind was piercing. We then get to the summit (small snow climb up the final pitch) and it turns into a dust storm. It's now hot, still windy, and the dust from the valley floor is pelting us for the entire descent off the ridge. We descide to drop down on the west side (?) to get out of the dust storm, but then we were back to post-holing on some awkwardly steep slopes (at times). Finally got back to the car as the sun was going down... one of the longest days of my life. Mini epic for sure.

If you are going to bring the wife, just be prepared for anything up there. We weren't and I think that contributed to our little epic/sufferfest...
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby lebeelebee » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:58 am

Bob -

I was out in Death Valley last weekend (Mar. 24-25th). We didn't go anywhere near Telescope, but from a distance it looked to have a good amount of snow for the top 2000 ft or more. I didn't take any pictures directly of Telescope, but I caught it in the far background of a few:

http://www.summitpost.org/telescope-from-hunter-mountain-vicinity-w-nw-view/783572/c-150584
http://www.summitpost.org/telescope-from-corkscrew-peak/783574/c-150584
(I also have similar quality pictures of Sasquatch if anyone is interested.)

On top of that, a storm rolled in Sunday night and probably added some more snow. When we left late on the 25th, Telescope was engulfed in a dark cloud.

Gas was $5.50 a gallon in Panamint Springs.
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby SeanReedy » Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:35 am

SeanReedy wrote:Mar 2012 0.54 inches


Fletch verified what it was probably like on the Telescope hike today (snow conditions may have been different). I wouldn't want to bother with a hike that requires that level of effort without the great views a nice day will bring.

As leebeelebee mentions, almost all of the March snow fell in the past two weeks.

There is a trail register at the trailhead/Mahogany Flat. If people have been hiking up there, most will likely have signed in and may have mentioned conditions upon returning. If Telescope ends up being too much, Rogers, Bennet, or Wildrose could all provide some fun and great views with less investment. I'm watching the weather reports as we may head up there for a hike, and to sleep for a night, while roaming the Mojave/DV/Eastern Sierra. Most of next week looks OK, but not ideal for a high elevation hike (windy early in the week & cool late in the week). Cool might be nice (better than cold/hot). The following week is currently forecasted to begin by warming back up to temps expected early this week...could be outstanding conditions given the low level of precipitation this year, or could be windy again. When we were up at Mahogany Flat/Telescope for about 24 hrs, 5 weeks ago (Thursday night-Friday night) we saw nobody until giving advice to a guy who was debating between Wildrose and Telescope at the Charcoal Kilns Saturday morning. I intentionally visited the area under the calmest and warmest conditions available during my week in the area. I suspect a lot more people than we experienced will be up there the next couple of weeks. Bob, I'll keep an eye out for you if I follow through with that part of my plans.
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby Bob Sihler » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:00 pm

Thanks to all for the helpful replies. My wife read the currently featured TR on Telescope and has decided that she would prefer to be drier and warmer during spring break, so we'll be sticking to lower-elevation peaks on or trip. I think she's missing out-- I've been up the peak before, and it's beautiful with snow-- but that's the way it's going to be this time. Maybe we'll see some of you out there-- we'll be spending nights near Red Pass, the Racetrack, and the Eureka Dunes since we haven't been to the latter two places for several years now.

I might hike Telescope solo in July on my way out to the Sierra, so if anyone's interested in a hot hike, let me know.
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby lebeelebee » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:15 am

manfromnantucket wrote:lebeelebee, weren't you in death valley with sasquatch.


Oh no? EVIDENCE suggests otherwise...
http://www.summitpost.org/believe/783970/c-175725


(I'm sorry - now someone else is gonna "quit" summitpost over all the Sasquatch believer pictures detracting from the hardcore climbing discussion...)
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby thexcat » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:56 pm

Could somebody comment on the road section between Charcoal Kilns and Mahogany flats? I believe it's recommended to have 4x4 and clearance but have seen several reports of people using 2wd. Will my honda civic be OK if I take it slow? Worth the risk?
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Re: Telescope Peak snow-- March 2012

Postby MoapaPk » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:39 pm

thexcat wrote:Could somebody comment on the road section between Charcoal Kilns and Mahogany flats? I believe it's recommended to have 4x4 and clearance but have seen several reports of people using 2wd. Will my honda civic be OK if I take it slow? Worth the risk?


It varies a LOT from year to year. I expect the spring melt (a major cause of erosion) will be low this year. I've seen the road in passenger-car condition, and in 4x4 condition. When last I was there (Nov 2008) it was passenger-car grade. Call the rangers at Stovepipe Wells when the time approaches.

Two days ago, the south side of Telescope was snow-free.
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