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03-25-2008, 05:31 PM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
- Party City
Telescope Peak to Badwater, the Adventure continues!
This part of the epic is really hard to write about! It is just as hard to paint the picture in words and through photographs but I’ll try. It is best told over a beer, wings or on a chairlift. Please read the Trilogy in order to get the best experience.
Death Valley Epilogue http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...t=Death+Valley
Badwater to Telescope Peak: A Death Valley Death March http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...d.php?t=117769
4PM Snowline, 1 hour after our expected return time
After changing back over to hiking wear, eating some ginger chews, sour patch kids, smoked Gouda and summer sausage we had a decision to make, either head back down the way we came which would have been demoralizing and an emotional strainer or head down canyon where maybe nobody has ever been. We were told by NPS that the canyon ‘went’ but there is some bushwhacking. The topo shows two areas that somewhat pinch but there may be ways around them. We chose option number 2 and this is Death Valley like you’ve never seen it before! And as I hope you never have to see it!
Prototypical entrance to slot canyons. Rock hopping, bushwhacking through sharp, prickly, spiny things and cactus. Notice how I separate those two.
We moved down canyon across granite, mica, sandstone, conglomerate, shale and other various rock types at what seemed like a snails pace. We weren’t losing any elevation although the sloping rock features would make us think otherwise. Our options were straight and simple: Go down where we can and most of the times that meant through sharp, prickly, spiny things such as Hawthorne, grapevine (aka tripwire), 4-wing saltbush, and plants I didn’t bother to even think about identifying. It sucked. It was torturous; it scratched the hell out of our sunburns. It was AWESOME!
We came across our first obstacle as night began to fall upon us, one of the most beautiful sandstone waterfalls I have yet to see! The crystal clear snowmelt carved out a sinuous line with pools of vegetation, cactus and other plants growing from cracks, mosses, and ferns. It went and I continued on to where it fell over while the others took pics. Paging Kendall for those. The second drop went but of course you had to lower yourself into a sharp, prickly, spiny thing.
The water continued down to the first major pinch. In the canyon. By my body emotions, Dave knew it didn’t go. I slumped over. The water cascaded over a 30’ fall into a 6 foot wide keeper pothole that poured over a 50-60’ waterfall. Without proper canyoneering gear, we weren’t gonna even try to descend it.
Quickly, Kendall and I lose our packs and begin scrambling up a loose slope where table sized boulders were ready to be trundled. I ended up scaling a rock face through a Juniper where the fall would be consequential. Kendall’s route proved just as interesting. But both routes would lead us back into the canyon and beyond the slot. We combined both routes.
By the time we turned around it was complete darkness! Headlamps on. 10 minutes later and we would have been guessing in the dark. Back to the other guys.
They pumped water and ate some food. Kendall was off leading the first section of the small technicality. The way we went up and came back down was relatively unsafe so Kendall sent a full on loose dirt, crack climb where a slip possibly meant star fishing down and over sharp, prickly, spiny things.
One by one we made our way too high and had to come back down to our crossing. A 3 foot wide ledge with a roof about 3 feet high, a 30 foot drop to the right, and of course sharp prickly spiny things and cactus! It was dark and to not put any more fear into anybody, we didn’t disclose the drop-off. You better just stay left.
Kendall grabbed a cactus. Skis were setting off sparks. Knees got scraped.
Everyone is across. Time for the true test of faith, the Sloping Wall of Death. A severe sandstone slope with hardly a footing but decent hand holds. Proper body positioning is a must! But was extremely difficult to due because of the skis on our backs. Amazing how much easier things are in the light and without 60 pounds on your back. A slip here would send you down from 20 – 150 feet into…you get the picture by now!
This was hard and everybody felt the pucker factor. Luckily, nobody was harmed during the entirety of this trip! Amazing really. Once everyone was across, it was time to descend a loose, rutted slope full of…your getting it, and cactus.
Finally, canyon bottom! It has to get easier. WRONG! This next picture will give you an idea of what we dealt with and dealt with and dealt with. It really was AWESOME! No way was a good way!
500 linear feet in one hour, talk about setting records!
We literally walked into walls of vegetation! WALLS! We crawled on our bellies. We were tangled in tripwire. You couldn’t have written a better epic than this one! No trails. Not even game trails. I wish we had audio of some of this. You people would really wonder what the hell we were thinking.
A few hundred more feet down canyon and I decided to miss jump and land in more water. I’m wet and beginning to feel a little emotionally down. But then I came across an amazing azure, teal, sea blue and green waterfall! Everything was ok for that moment. I looked up and saw Orion like I have never seen him before. The stars were as bright as NYC lights. The sky crystal clear. The desert toads or frogs began croaking, warning others of the dumb-ass adventurers in the area. Have they ever seen humans? I don’t think so!
I take one step and fall flat on my back and slide about 20 feet down the waterfall to a stop. The stars were still amazing but I was beginning to feel emotionally crushed.
“Stoy, you alright?”
“I’m good.” And get up to move down canyon to our roadblock, another slot canyon with a beautiful sloping flute about 3 feet wide dropping who knows how deep. We’re done! DONE! It’s dark. It’s late. We’re tired and risking injury.
Jim found a few flat spots for us to retire. What time is it I have no idea. I just want to sleep. Salmon and cheese anyone?
Joe calling it a second night.
Sunday, March 9
About 16 hours after our expected return time.
I awoke the next morning to “Who wants to go for a run?” I jump out of my bag and am off to find a way around. Looking into the beautiful slot canyon impeding our way I hear frogs and toads and crickets far down below. The sun rises and warms the east facing slope of sharp, prickly, spiny things. It goes! And the exit from all of our miseries was only 500’ away from where we camped. Go Figure!
Jim glad to be on top and out of our canyon.
But what lies ahead? A canyon bottom full of more vegetation. Of more sharp, prickly, spiny thing and cacti. Fitting.
Jim not so happy to encounter...
No Fall Zone!
I’m gonna let Kendall post the video of my favorite part of this entire epic if he can. The next couple of pictures will give you an idea of what came next.
Last edited by Stoysluttie1; 03-26-2008 at 08:00 AM.There's a world out there full of color, dreams, and imagination. What are you waiting for?
03-25-2008, 05:41 PM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
- Party City
Honestly, no one would ever believe what we went through. Do you? I don’t and I lived it!
10AM Sunday Morning.
20 hours after our expected return time and we still have 9 miles to go.
Who do we have here? “I’m gonna guess you are the guys that skied off Telescope.”
After telling the Ranger our story, which he was stoked about and wanted pics sent his way, he asked us one simple question, a strainer question, “Guys want a ride down?”
We looked at each other in silence. After all we’ve been through. All the talk of dropping our packs and driving to them. After all the sharp. Prickly, spiny things and cacti. After all the winter velvet, summer slush, hard slab snow. After 2 nights of beautiful stars and endless walking we all answered…
“Thanks but no. We’ve gotta finish this one or we’d be cheating.” Just ask Kendall!
“Not even your packs?” “No, not even our packs.”
7 miles to go and it’s getting hot.
The Alluvial Fan of Death! 5 miles as the crow flies to our van. I remember when I walked this stretch years ago how long it was so I just dropped my head, counted my steps, and felt my feet light on fire.
Behind the three Amigos you see Telescope Peak and Charlie's Conundrum Ridge. Don't ever go up that ridge!
Sunday, 2PM 24 hours after our expected return time.
This is where we are and that is where we came from!
Kendall giving the point!
Almost there! The crossroads of Hanaupah Canyon and the West Side Road. 100 yards to go and off with this damn backpack!
Nice tan line Stoy!
“One would like to climb or descend that interval someday, the better to comprehend what it means. Whatever it means.”
2 days ago we started this epic adventure, to climb from the lowest point in the western hemisphere (-252’) to the top of Telescope Peak (11,049”) and ski. We expected 24 hours. We expected an adventure. We expected to have already been done and sitting poolside. We expected nothing we received.
Badwater to Telescope Peak threw everything possible our way. Everything a mountain had to offer. Everything you could possibly want in an adventure! Everything life is all about. Everything! It never really was about the skiing. It was about something else. Something I still don’t know and maybe I never will.
Well Mr. Abbey, we climbed and descended that interval! We even skied off of her. And you know what? We don’t know what it meant and maybe we will never will. But we can say this:
Badwater. Shorty Borden’s Well. Hanaupah Canyon. Telescope Peak. Death Valley. Been there, SKIED THAT!
Last edited by Stoysluttie1; 03-25-2008 at 05:49 PM.There's a world out there full of color, dreams, and imagination. What are you waiting for?
03-25-2008, 05:49 PM #3
Cool vision quest.
03-25-2008, 05:50 PM #4
well thats pretty fucking epic, now isn't it?
nice work dude. very very impressive.
03-25-2008, 06:11 PM #5
Yeah...that was really really interesting. Nice read and nice pics. Great TR
03-25-2008, 06:17 PM #6
...And the greatest ice must crumble when it's flower's time to grow.
03-25-2008, 06:32 PM #7
03-25-2008, 07:25 PM #8
Congratulations. and Thanks for sharing. Thats just AWESOME.
03-25-2008, 07:37 PM #9
Kinda wish I could have gone. Good crew for sure.
03-25-2008, 07:42 PM #10Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- Seattle, WA
Loved it... great TR.
03-25-2008, 07:59 PM #11
03-25-2008, 08:08 PM #12
FKNA! Cool TR!
03-25-2008, 09:46 PM #13
Just goes to show that you don't need pow and gnarly airs to put together a kick ass TR.
03-25-2008, 10:53 PM #14
This needs to go in the Hall of Fame!!!!!The pacifists always lose, because the anti-pacifists kill them.
03-26-2008, 05:21 AM #15
Very cool. Props to all you guys.Fresh Tracks are the ultimate graffitti.
Set forth the pattern to succeed.
Friends of Tuckerman Ravine
03-26-2008, 06:04 AM #16
Good on ya for sticking it out to the end"When the mountains speak, wise men listen" -John Muir
03-26-2008, 08:11 AM #17Lover de La Nina
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
- South Lake Taco
I can't believe that many dudes were willing to do that. Great TR though.
03-26-2008, 08:56 AM #18User
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
Nice stoy! It's funny how things that can be so miserable at the time are the ones that bring the most satisfaction later.
You still canyoneering this weekend?
03-26-2008, 03:49 PM #19Registered User
There's a world out there full of color, dreams, and imagination. What are you waiting for?
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
- Party City
03-26-2008, 04:16 PM #20
That didn't seem too bad reading it.
03-26-2008, 04:33 PM #21
I think I like part three the best...you can feel the sore, tired satisfaction. Epic trip
03-26-2008, 04:43 PM #22
And I woulda taken the car-ride.No longer stuck.
03-26-2008, 04:43 PM #23
Great Epic. Well done and thanks for a bringing us along.
03-26-2008, 04:44 PM #24Lambaster
- Join Date
- Nov 2003
- My armchair
nicely done gents; nicely done!!"... she'll never need a doctor; 'cause I check her out all day"
03-26-2008, 07:31 PM #25concreteshoes,cyanide,tnt
- Join Date
- Mar 2007
- the singularity
gotta love a good sufferfest. congrats on resolving your vision.
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