Setting Up Camp
Having arrived the day before, and hiking up nearby Wildrose Peak (9,064')was an excellent way to "warm-up" and be at the trailhead for Telescope Pk fresh and ready to go in the morning. The hike up Wildrose Pk is worth the effort. You will be rewarded with awesome views of Death Valley and the Sierra Snocap.
We set up camp at Mahogany Flat late on Friday afternoon after our earlier hike, and enjoyed a big meal and a nice fire. The campground is situated on a ridge, again offering fantastic views East and West. Suprisingly, the campground was just about full by sundown. Temperatures on the valley floor below were reported at 95 degrees by another camper, while the temperature at Mahogany Flat (@8,100') that night dipped down to 42.
Early to RiseWe decided to take the service road up to Roger's Peak 9,994'(a little extra climbing) instead of the main trail, because of the route we had planned. They both start right next to each other. The service road had very little snow and before long we were atop Roger's Pk looking across at Bennett Pk and Telescope Pk. The main trail is easy to spot running east to west below Roger's Pk. so we joined up with the main trail which takes you around the west side of Bennett Pk and then joins the ridge to Telescope Pk. It would be easy, and you can see the trails, to leave the main trail north of Bennett Pk and go up and over on your way to Telescope Pk, we did that on the way back.
Once you pass Bennett the trail follows an obvious ridge to Telescope Pk. There was very little snow except above 10,000' on Telescope Pk. With about 500' to climb before reaching the summit ridge I decided to climb along the east ridge in the snow and use my crampons for practice. My buddy was able to skirt most of the snow by staying off the ridge in the trees. We made the summit easily, ate lunch, took pictures, then headed down. I'm glad we started up early, because we passed a lot of people on their way up. Later in the year an early start time would probably really help beat the heat!
On our way down we went up and over Bennett Pk 9,980' and joined back up with the main trail descending to Mahogany Flat. Both routes, the service road and the main trail offer spectacular views, however, the main trail does offer some tree cover. The trail is well defined and except for a small rock area on the way up Telescope, it's mostly dirt or gravel.