Telescope Peak


By: Freda Walbrecht



Starting at Tule Spring, -253 feet, site of Bennett's Long Camp, we, Bill Stewart, his little dog Hans, and Freda Walbrecht, headed for Telescope Peak, 11,049 feet, via Death Valley Canyon. This is the canyon by which the Wheeler Expedition of 1871 entered Death Valley. Due to the heat we could not hurry to the mouth of the canyon, which we reached about sunset. We continued up the canyon by starlight until 7 o'clock, and camped near the first water. Bill carried, a sleeping bag so he was comfortable. I gathered some sticks and nursed a tiny fire during the night, stretching out between the fire and the cliff. Before daybreak the wild burros came in for water, creating quite a commotion.

A fence had been stretched across the canyon at some time in the past, apparently for the purpose of ambushing and slaughtering the burros, judging from the number of skeletons at the water.

At daylight we continued. After a time the gorge narrowed and branched. Straight ahead, which was the route we wanted to take, it was badly choked with grapevine, reeds and other plants. We decided to follow a burro trail up the left-hand canyon. We climbed an exceedingly steep slope to the rocks above, then followed our ridge for hours, hoping soon to reach Mahogany Flats. Darkness came and we were still a long ways off, but could see the lights of the campers there. My brother John had driven around to meet us and we knew we would have water and food.

About 7:30 Hans decided it was time to go to bed and burrowed under a tree. We went back to find him, and Bill carried him the rest of the way. We reached the Flats at 8 p.m. Some 25 L. A. City College students were camped there, 16 of whom had climbed the peak that day.

Word had gone out that we were lost, and two Inyo County deputy Sheriffs came up to check. They sent out word to call off the search party that was being organized.

At daylight we headed for the peak in a raging gale. The wind was so strong where the trail crosses the ridge it almost blew us off. We reached the summit ahead of the storm, which chased us down the mountain. It took us 2 hours back to camp.

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