Telescope Peak From Shorty's Well In Death Valley

November 13th, 2010
Telescope Peak (11,048')
[Pics] [Map]

Telescope Peak is the highpoint of Death Valley towering an impressive 11,049' over an area which includes the lowest point in the US.

Most people do Telescope starting at Mahogany Flat where a trail runs 14 miles and 3,200' round trip.  That seemed a little pedestrian so we decided to do it the hard way and come up from the east where we'd start below sea level and climb over 11k in 24 miles.

Since going up is the fun part we made things a little more reasonable by planning to leave a car at Mahogany Flat so we could walk down the trail and save ourselves another 8k of knee killing descent.

Montgomery & Boundary The Nevada State High Point From Queen Canyon Mine

September 25th, 2010
Boundary Peak (13,140')
Montgomery Peak (12,447')
[Pics] [Map]

Boundary and Montgomery are both on the Sierra Club Desert Peaks Section list.  Climbing them also has the added bonus of snagging you the Nevada State high point which ironically is the lower of the two due to the fact the California Nevada border runs between them.

Christine and I drove up to the east side for two days of dayhike.  After we were done here we drove down to the Chimney Creek area and did Spanish Needle (after failing on it during the Memorial Day trip) and Lamont.

Laurel & Bloody Mountain Via Convict Canyon

September 17th to 19th, 2010
Laurel Mountain (11811)
Bloody Mountain (12552)
[Pics] [Map]

This trip was led by Jack Kieffer and myself as a student experience trip the second year I was on staff with the Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course.  I'd been interested in hiking up Convict Canyon since I'd been coming to the lake for years and spent countless freezing cold mornings fishing where the runoff enters the lake waiting desperately for the sun to finally reach us.

We decided to do Laurel and Bloody which could have been reached more easily from the 4wd Laurel Lakes Rd but then I wouldn't have gotten to see the canyon.  Also doing it this side gave us a nice backcountry lake camp at Lake Genevieve without having to do a lot of backtracking.

It was a great trip though the crossings in Convict Lake were just as treacherous as advertised and it would likely be impassable early in the season.  Also we were suffering from the usual late summer smoke which reduced the views a bit.

Hiking The Santa Anna Mountains Main Divide: The 91 To Modjeska And Out Trabuco Canyon

Hiking the Santa Ana Mountains Main Divide Truck Trail
What:  91 Freeway & Cole Canyon to Trabuco Canyon Via Main Divide
  Sierra Peak (3.045')
  Hagador Peak (3,880')
  Pleasants Peak (4,007')
  Bedford Peak(3,800')
  Bald Peak (3,947')
  Modjeska Peak (5,496')
Where:  Santa Ana Mountains, Orange County, CA
When:  April 11th, 2010
Who:  Matthew Hengst, John Slagle, Christine Soskins, Dave Driscol
Stats:  34 miles, 8,700'
Pictures:  Matt's Flickr
GPS Track:  Matt's

After a somewhat less than successful hike the previous weekend in the general vicinity of Villager Peak and my own near cancelation this weekend for family reasons our group training for the HPS Big 4 Butt Kicker Edition backpack was on somewhat shaky ground.
Fortunately everything resolved itself at the last minute and we were off for a planned 34-ish mile hike with six (admittedly minor) peaks and 9,000 ft of gain to round out a full day.  Yeehaw!