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Ascent of Telescope Peak on 2014-10-11

Climber: Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach

Date:Saturday, October 11, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Telescope Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:11048 ft / 3367 m

Ascent Trip Report

Went as a private hike outing with the HPS of the Sierra Club, led by Peter & Ignacia Dogget. There were a total of 8 of us that decided to make the ascent. We camped the night before at Mahogany Flats... On Saturday morning, we started driving at approximately 1:20 to Shorty's Well. It took us 2.25 hours to go from MF to SW. Gathered our gear, said good-bye to loved ones and started our trek up. Peter had asked me to act as Sweep because he wasn't feeling great - so I quickly agreed. When Ignacia asked for a volunteer to sweep, I said that I would do so.

The first 9 or so miles are on dirt road that gradually rises. The sign at the bottom says "Hapuna Canyon". There was a large wash to our left as we were walking. Eventually (and after some gain) - we continued to follow the road. We passed a vehicle with a team of veterans who were set to hike from Death Valley to Mt Whitney in 7 days, in an effort to raise money and help other veterans find jobs after their military service. They were amazing and we went back and forth with their group for much of the day.

After 8 or so miles, the road ended and we kept on the left side of the canyon. It was quite grassy because of the water source - so we filtered water. Most of the people in our group started with 2 litres and then filtered water. I carried 5 and felt fine, but I drank about 48 oz of filtered water and then filled another 16 oz spare bottle. By the end of the hike - I had plenty of water left - perhaps 2 litres?

Eventually we crossed to the right (north) side of the canyon, and could see a mine on the left. There was a steep ridge with a 1600 foot ascent on our right - that was the route up. As sweep, I stayed back while the others steadily climbed. I really wanted to go, but I had given Peter my word that I would act as sweep. I tried not to think of the Strava numbers :) . Anyway - my group reached the top of the ridge that we would eventually climb to reach the Telescope Peak Trail approx 30 minutes after the first group. Ignacia had made the decision that she and I would switch places and that the 5 stronger hikers would go ahead, while she stayed back with the other two. I didn't take a break - I just said "let's get going" - and we were off.

From that point, the goal was to be steady over the bumps on the ridge and aim for the LEFT side of the large white rock. From there - we were to angle right and then eventually up the steep, ski-slope looking feature up to the Telescope Peak Trail. I took a quick look at the map and visually confirmed where I wanted to aim. I also occasionally looked at my own GPS - no points were loaded, but I had the terrain feature on, so I could follow it.

At times, it FELT like there was a use trail - I'm pretty good at knowing my way and navigating.... I could see the occasional print and tell where others had been. There were also times when I had NO idea where to go, but felt responsible for the 4 others who were following me - this was a little hard. But as long as we continued up and the underbrush wasn't too thick and terrain too steep, I figured we would be okay. if not tired. It was also hard pushing the group to move efficiently... I knew that we were on a timeline and goal of being back before dark (6:30) - and was doing my best to stick to that. But as I wasn't an official leader, I knew I couldn't be a jerk about this... so we rested when people needed a break and other times I "just didn't hear them".

After turning RIGHT at the white rock, we hit even more steep terrain. There was a significant scree slope... we hiked right along the edge of that, continuously upwards. Ignacia had said that at this point we should stay to the LEFT as much as possible - the further up we went, the steeper it seemed. But I could also pick out a faint use trail and the occasional carin. With about 700 feet to go, I caught sight of Peter and his yellow shirt. I was so happy and I would have run - except it was too steep. He was waiting for us, approx 500 feet below the Telescope Peak Trail.... The others in our group were also waiting on the trail itself. I waited for the others to catch up, and we motored up to TP Trail. We were so happy to be there - Ban kissed the ground.

After that, it was a nice 1,000 foot climb to the peak and easy descent to campground, where we all had good beer, food and pumpkin pie.

This was one of the hardest, but most rewarding hikes of my life. I'm so lucky to have been a part of this. A special thanks to everyone who drove car shuttles, and especially to Peter and Ignacia.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:11930 ft / 3635 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3648 ft / 1111 m
    Round-Trip Distance:24 mi / 38.6 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:11830 ft / 3605 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 11330 ft / 3452 m; Extra: 500 ft / 152m
    Loss on way in:500 ft / 152 m
    Distance:17 mi / 27.4 km
    Route:Shorty's Well
    Start Trailhead:Shorty's Well  -282 ft / -85 m
    Time:11 Hours 50 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3148 ft / 959 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 3048 ft / 929 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Gain on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Route:Telescope Peak Trail
    End Trailhead:Mahogany Flats  8000 ft / 2438 m
    Time:2 Hours 20 Minutes



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