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Ascent of Telescope Peak on 2014-04-05

Climber: Rich Stephens

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, April 5, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Telescope Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:11048 ft / 3367 m

Ascent Trip Report

If you are coming from Trona, the Rosewild Road is technically closed due to severe damage to the asphalt road from last year’s rain. I did go around the “Road Closed” signs in my sedan. I was able to make it just fine.

I was able to drive my VW Jetta to the Thorndike Campground okay. Except for the washed out areas, it is paved for most of the way. The gravel road to the campground starts a few miles before the Charcoal Kilns. Thorndike is a mile past the kilns. The campground has a few decent spots. I was surprised that I was the only one in the campground. The temperature plummeted to the mid 20’s at night and I was happy to have my 4 season Hilleburg tent.

Mahogany Flats is where the actual trailhead is and is easily accessible by a high clearance vehicle. Sedans might be able to make it. I walked to Mahogany Flats from Thorndike since it is only a short distance. From Mahogany Flats, the service road will continue to go up the mountain to Roger’s Peak but don’t take that. Off to the left is the actual trail with a sign-in register.

The trail is in decent shape when it’s not snow covered. I first hit some patches of snow skirting around Bennett Peak but it wasn’t that much. I saw some people actually go up and over Bennett Peak to avoid the snow but that would be a waste of time (unless you want to summit the peak). As you approach Telescope, the snow becomes more common on the trail. The wind was blowing hard (50+ mph) and I was having the most difficult time getting warm. It seemed that I was stopping often to put on more layers. I eventually had to put on my windbreaker pants and jacket over my down vest. I wore gloves the entire time. My water line also kept freezing up.

With about 700 feet left to go, the real climbing starts with the last final push to the summit. The mountain is snow covered at this point and there are small bits and pieces of the trail showing. The snow was fairly stable and I was able to get good purchase without the use of crampons and an ice axe with just my old, leather mountaineering boots. Crampons and an ice axe would have been nice but really not necessary. Although an ice axe would have been beneficial at times because I was in some steep, snow covered areas that made me a little nervous about sliding down the mountain. I had not been above 10k feet for a couple of months so I had to stop often and catch my breath. This is why it took me 4.5 hours to summit. I was hoping to do it in under 4 hours.

As I was approaching the top, the wind died down and it became much more pleasant. I hit the false summit and then walked another 5 minutes to the true summit. I quickly drank a bottle of Mtn Dew, signed my name in the register, and descended the same way. I shaved 2 hours off of my time down. It only took me 2.5 hours to make it back to the Thorndike Campground. The temperature was only in the mid 40’s at camp at 12:30 pm but it was sunny and nice.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3648 ft / 1112 m
    Distance:13.6 mi / 21.9 km
    Route:Standard Trail
    Trailhead:Thorndike Campground  7400 ft / 2255 m
    Grade/Class:1
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Cold, Very Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:4 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 30 Minutes



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