hiking Telescope Peak, Death Valley, by moonlight

The always excellent Without Baggage blog published by Hank Leukart has a funny trip report:

… At midnight, the three of us set off to climb the seven miles and 3,500 feet from Mahogany Flat to Death Valley’s highest point in the moonlight.

In the dark, using only the almost-full moon to guide us, we trudged up the uneven, strenuous initial couple miles until we reached Arcane Meadows, a sweet, flat, two-mile treat sandwiched between the hike’s steep, challenging end caps. As we gained elevation, we began adding clothing layers — the desert certainly wasn’t too hot, but as we neared the peak, we wondered if we might freeze in the darkness. …

After five hours, exhausted and loopy from the altitude, we reached the peak. The meteorologist greeted us, then bounded back down the mountain to help the blanket-covered hikers we had seen on the way. We looked out at the supposedly stunning view, which we had heard combined Mount Whitney (the highest point in the contiguous US) and Badwater (the lowest point in North America). But in the darkness, almost everything was invisible.

Chilled by the breeze on the peak, we nestled into our sleeping bags just as an amber glow appeared on the horizon. As we drifted in and out of consciousness, we watched the Death Valley sunrise from 11,043 feet.

The last thing I remember from that night was the golden desert sun, peeking out from behind the mountains east of Badwater. Then I fell asleep.

We awoke three hours later to an expansive view of Death Valley with severe desert crags and deep valleys surrounding us. We signed our named in the summit book, repacked our sleeping bags, and began the same hike again in reverse. With the newfound daylight and panoramic desert views, it was as though we had never done it before.

moonwalking telescope peak.
hiking at night to death valley’s highest point.

screenshot - click through for original
screenshot - click through for original

Since I did that hike in June, seems I keep hearing about Telescope Peak. It’s cool to hike Death Valley.

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