Telescope Peak


By: Helen Waag



On Friday, April 27, an enthusiastic group met in Pasadena to begin the bus trip to the Panamint Valley. All went according to plans and late that night we made camp about 10 miles short of the charcoal kilns in Wildrose Canyon where the hike would begin.

We were up at 5:15 Saturday morning and after a quick breakfast we boarded the bus. Upon our arrival at the kilns (7000') we were met by Ranger Mat Ryan who kindly offered to transport our packs to Mahogany Flat -- this offer was graciously accepted by all. At Mahogany Flat we were joined by our friends who had furnished their own transportation to the area.

We left Mahogany Flat at 8:00 o'clock. There were 36 Sierra Clubbers and one ranger, Marshall Scholing, planning to complete the traverse. We were accompanied by others whose ambitions were to climb Telescope Peak and retire to the bus the same day. The climb from Mahogany Flat (8100') to the summit (11,049') is seven miles. This was a leisurely climb and we were able to enjoy the beautiful views of the valley as we hiked. We stopped at Arcane Meadows for brunch and about three miles later for lunch. Here we left our packs and continued the climb through the snowdrifts to the summit. Once on top of telescope Peak we signed the register, admired and photographed the valleys, and relaxed with sno-cones.

The descent to the location of the packs was quickly accomplished. We planned to reach Hanaupah Canyon and water before dark. It was now 4:15 p.m. and the cry was, "It's all down hill from here!" Well aware of this, but also aware of the difficulties of bushwhacking, we chose our buddies and started the long trip down. Though we were strongly encouraged by leaders Bob Greenawalt and Bob Marshall to stay together, we were soon separated.

That night we camped in three locations. Two hikers reached Hanaupah Canyon (they plunged ahead with good intentions planning to select a campsite and gather wood they said). About 26 camped on the ridge above the canyon. The others made camp near the snowline, reporting the temperature so cold that night that water in their canteens turned into ice. The fires Saturday evening were many and far between. They were used only for cooking. We tired travelers crawled into our sleeping bags and slept until dawn.

This contestant was camped on the ridge above the canyon. We arose with the sun and broke camp. Plans were to break the fast when we arrived in the canyon and had water available. The descent over the rocks and dry waterfalls was difficult and Hanaupah Canyon was a welcome sight. Once more enjoying the luxury of water we washed, cooked and filled our canteens. Here we met our two advance men, Ranger Warren Hill and Mr. and Mrs. Bud Bingham. The Binghams offered to climb to meet the traversers who were still on the slope and lead their descent. Ranger Hill volunteered to transport the packs and late hikers to the bus.

The Last nine miles are the longest? No! The day was warm, but we were blessed with a breeze and the hike was a pleasant one. We encountered one rattlesnake - the rattles were removed but the snake is still alive. The air-conditioned bus was waiting at Shorty's Well (-250') and we arrived about 2:00 p.m. -- only two hours behind schedule. The ranger's pickup soon appeared with hikers and packs; the bus was loaded and we began the trip home. The swim at Shoshone was refreshing, the dinner in Barstow delicious, the good-byes in Pasadena short, and the sight of home most welcome.

But, if I may quote our Leader, Bob Greenawalt, "See you on some other outings. They are fun!"

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