Hike to Telescope Peak in June 2002

At the end of June, I read accidentally the webpage of a person from the Los Angeles area who had in 26 hours, made a trip to Death Valley, climbed Telescope Peak during the night, watched the sunrise from the top, and come back home. This would be perfect for a week-end ! So I send an email to Arnaud and Sylvain... Arnaud says immediately yes, while it takes Sylvain a bit more time to cancel a romantic week-end with his girlfriend. Finally, saturday around noon, off we go.

Telescope Peak is at 3368m (11049 ft) the highest point in Death Valley. It overlooks Badwater, the lowest point in the US, which lies below sea level. The mountain owes its name to the fact that, looking from Death Valley, you could see no further with a telescope. There is a campground close to the trailhead, at the Mahogany Flats (elevation 8133 ft), this is where we stayed for the (short) night. We started hiking at 2am, in order to reach the top before sunrise. At 5am, it was freezing cold at the summit, but the view was great ! Death Valley on the eastern side, Panamint Valley and the Sierra with Mt Whitney on the western side. It took us finally about 29 hours to complete the trip, since we had to change a tire that was getting close to dying.

First stop in Mojave to eat lunch. Arnaud takes the pose...
... while Sylvain removes the fingerprints from the weapon.
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Sylvain seems disturbed. Is this due to the heat ?
I didn't notice anything...
yes, this must be the heat...
here are some big fans to get fresh air.
We are on the wrong road, let's check the map.
occasion for Arnaud and Sylvain to take a leak.
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The perfect van for the geologists Arnaud and Sylvain !
Sylvain got the situation under control.
Telescope Peak is over there ! says Sylvain
We stop to let the motor cool down
let's try the ignition key...
Charcoal kilns near the campground.
Arnaud climbs up the side of the kiln.
The climb is more difficult for Sylvain who barely starts.
Sunset from the Mahogany Flats campground.
Should we go see the swedish blonde girl in the next tent ?
yes, this is a good idea, says Arnaud
The full moon is there...
taking some forces before turning into werevolves
Arnaud puts his Julius Caesar costume on.
I try it too.
But it looks best on Sylvain...
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Sylvain is suffering from the altitude.
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Sunrise is close.
Sunrise on Death Valley from the summit.
The clear area in Death Valley is Badwater.
We're at the top ! But dead.
Fluffy mountain flowers, a bit like edelweiss.
This looks like a National Geographic cover !
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On the left, Death Valley and Badwater.
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Looking down on Panamint Valley.
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Looking back on Telescope Peak.
Resting under pine trees.
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Last view on the summit we climbed.
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We're back ! Very hot here.