The weather was beautiful as we left Mahogany Flat campground around 0830. As we neared the summit there was a little wind, but not bad. It was hazy (see my pics), but still awesome views. I humped my fat ass up there in 4 hours and down in 3. Guess I should drink less beer. NOT.
I did this trip in the winter because of the cool weather in Death Valley. I walked out to where I thought would be the lowest point in the U.S., then I started my long trek up. I followed Hanaupah road until it ends, then cross-country up a few ridges to the base of Bennett Peak. Here, I picked up the regular trail to the summit.
I met some mid-west hikers camping by the summit where I borrowed some water for the descent.
This is an all day and night roundtrip, about 15-16 hours. Be prepared with lots of water! Correct me if I am wrong, I think this hike is the most elevation gain on a mountain in the lower 48's
The heat was unbearable in Vegas on Saturday, so naturally, I decided to drive to Death Valley. My plan was to attempt the Badwater to Telescope peak trek, but I chickened out when I got there. Temps were in the 100's and the wind was howling. The actual hike looked very long and boring, and it seemed like more suffering than I was in the mood for.
So, I took the wimpy way up via Mahogany Flats. This was a very easy, 14 mile RT hike, although it seemed shorter than that. I only saw a couple tiny patches of snow along they way, but I did see some water far below in the canyons and drainages east of the Peak. These could possibly be useful on a trek from Badwater.
Reached the summit quickly with no snow on the trail in just under 1:15 and down in under one hour. Could see Mt. Charleston, near Las Vegas, which I climbed the day before.
Drove my "hot-rod"Lincoln to the steepest part of the road in the snow. Got stuck, slept the night in the car, at 10:25am, departed for the summit. I was about 1 1/2 miles below the campground where I started. The winds where howling. Once past Bennett Peak, the wind was blowing around 50 mph. with major snow driffs. Going was slow because I needed snow shoes. Once on the backside of the peak the wind was calmer. I new it would be bad on top when I could see the clouds go by in a matter of seconds. On top, I sign the registered as quickly as I could without getting frostbittern. I descended the same way mostly running to stay warm. Made it back to the Lincoln at 4pm. Two hours later I was able to pull my car out.
Left just before 6 AM on the trail, only to see our summit shrowded in a growing clouds, as we moved upwards. We pushed on and summitted through very high winds along the ridge lines. No view, but we imagined what it would be like. On the way back down the snow came quick and hard - 6 - 10 inches in an hour, with drifting on the trails. Road from the kilns to the campground are pretty bad. We made it in a 2 wheel drive car, but in retrospect, like the park rangers - recommend a 4x4 high clearance.