Elsies Nipple, Meadow Hot Springs & The Long Drive Home - Turktacular 2016

November 27th, 2016
Elsies Nipple (8,368')
[Pics] [Map]

This was the last of the 5 day 2016 Turktacular trip and we knew most of it would be spent driving.  We had decided to try Elsies Nipple again and decided to divert slightly on the way home to visit a hot spring famous for having tropical fish in it.

Ferns Nipple From Grand Wash, Capital Reef Utah

November 26th, 2016
Ferns Nipple (7,065')
[Pics] [Map] [MapSat]

This was the 4th day of the 2016 Turktacular and the day we were hitting the main attraction.  When we'd looked up Capital Reef National Park Fern's Nipple and Georges BM had jumped out as things we had to climb while we were out there.  We had grand plans of hitting both today but found the southern part of the scenic road was closed due to recent rain damage limiting our options.  And as it turned out Ferns Nipple was more significant (and more fun!) than advertised so it worked out.

Google Earth view of our GPS track

Studhorse Peak #1, 2, & 3 and Driving Burr Gap to Boulder & Highway 12 Capitol Reef Utah

November 25th, 2016
Studhorse Peak #1 (7,002')
Studhorse Peak #2 (6,970')
Studhorse Peak #3 (6,98'0)
[Pics] [Map]

We picked Studhorse Peaks because of the names and a writeup we found online claiming they were a fun scramble.

Capitol Reef Arrival, Cedar Mesa Campground, Red Canyon, Thanksgiving Dinner - Turktacular 2016

November 24th, 2016

After last nights aborted attempt to camp near Elsies Nipple we'd ended up at the Sunglow Campground above Bicknell sleeping on a thin layer of snow.

Mount Stirling In The Las Vegas Spring Mountains DPS - Turktacular 2016

November 23rd, 2016
Mount Stirling (8,219')
[Pics] [Map]
3.4 miles, 1850 ft gain

Thanksgiving time and once again the plan was to escape civilization and go someplace awesome for the annual Turktacular trip.

Last year at this time I wasn't able to hike at all due to having knee surgery and settled for an overnight at a the always awesome El Dorado Hot Spring near Phoenix.

This year I was doing quite a bit better.  I was back to hiking and climbing and after a busy summer and after a few weekends of quick two day desert trips I was ready to get out for something longer and had a hankering to get back out to Utah.

I was also closing on finishing the Desert Peak Section List.  Of the 99 peaks on the list I'd just finished #97.  #99 would be Nelson Range High Point December 3rd & 4th but first I had one last orphan.  Mount Stirling out near Las Vegas.

I'd been out that way earlier this summer when I did Charleston & Mummy and decided against trying the peak due to the high temperature and low altitude though in hindsight I think I could have managed it as the peak is really short and easy.

Ubehebe Peak & The Grandstand at the Death Valley Racetrack

November 20st, 2016
The Grandstand (3,760')
Ubehebe Peak (5,678')
[Pics] [Map]

We'd come across Hunter Mountain Road from Saline Valley the day before stopping at a few cabins and mines along the way but today was the main attraction with two easy peaks in a really spectacular area.

The Racetrack Playa in Death Valley is located a fair distance away from Furnace Creek and the main Death Valley attractions.  The road to get out there loops north of Tin Mountain and is rather notorious for how bad it is.  The park recommends a 4WD which is a little silly since it's really just the washboarding but it's pretty extreme levels of washboarding.  As long as you go slow and don't mind the occasional piece popping off your vehicle there's no reason to rent one of the expensive Jeep available.  We of course were in the Party Jeep and it was still painful since I was rather attached to all those little bits.

Lost Burro Mine In Death Valley Via Hunter Mountain Road (With A Side Trip To Boxcar and Hunter Mountain Cabin)

November 19th, 2016
[Pics] [Map]

This weekend was an odd mishmash of exploring in the general vicinity of Saline Valley and Death Valley.  I wanted to double check the road would be passable for people coming out for the glow in the dark list finish the following weekend and then we settled on getting into Death Valley a new way and hiking Ubehebe and doing The Racetrack.

So this was more of a travel day than climbing.  See this for the Racetrack day.

Cerro Pinacate Mexican DPS Peak, Campout, and Lava Caves

November 12th & 13th, 2016
Cerro del Pinacate (3,937')
Carnegie Peak (3,707')
4.09 miles 1,900' in via the DPS route + Carnegie 
6.74 miles, 1,289' up and 3865' down out via the road
[Pics] [Map]
[Garmin Mexico Maps By Harlan Stockman]

Cerro Pinacate is one of the 4 Sierra Club Desert Peak Section peaks down in Mexico and one of the final three I needed to complete the list.

Normally it makes sense to combine this peak with a few in southern Arizona.  Ajo, Kino, and Baboquivari kind of naturally combine since they're roughly in the same area.  Except as this point I've done all of those twice (minus Kino which I've only done once) leaving Pinacate a very long distance orphan.

Red arrow points to Pincate

I'd actually attempted this peak before only to be turned back at the park gate for a very vaguely worded "security concern"  Having seen friends be let it before and after that I always wondered what was going on and this time when Jen called to verify we could get in she mentioned we'd been turned back.  Apparently that was the only time they'd ever shut it down and that was because they found some illegal radio towers and had kept out everyone for a season until it was resolved.

So here I was several years later still needing the peak and under the gun to get it before my December list finish.  With Jack Kieffer completely out of vacation days that limited our options for trying to do more than one peak so we settled on making it a party.  Come join us for a 400 mile drive, a campfire and overnight in Mexico, and a 6 mile hike (according to the DPS guide) followed by another 400 -ish mile drive.  We made plans for a festive happy hour and soon had 7 us signed up.

Canyon Point DPS From Cottonwood Canyon

October 6th, 2016
Canyon Point (5,890')
[Pics] [Map] [MapWPanamint]
5 miles, 3100', 3-4 hours (according to the DPS guide)

After climbing Panamint Butte from the west the day before our expectations had been lowered a bit.  Canyon Point seemed a little more promising due to the fact we'd be approaching via a canyon instead of just going up a ridge.

Panamint Butte DPS From Panamint Valley Big Four Mine

November 5th, 2016
Panamint Butte (6,584')
[Pics] [Map] [MapWCanyon]
7.1 miles, 4300', 11 hours

AKA a desert crap heap that really shouldn't be on the list when there's so much better stuff out there.

This and Canyon Point are some of the last few peaks I need to finish the Sierra Club Desert Peak Section List.  I've toyed with doing them a few different ways (there's a 4wd car shuttle loop option is apparently spectacular) but it was finally time to just get them done.  And with AMP just finishing I was ready for a good old fashioned desert car camp.

We decided to do Panamint Butte from the west climbing up from Panamint Valley at the Big Four Mine since the route up from Towne Pass was almost twice the distance and likely a bit much to be biting off at this point in my recovery.