Leaders: Leon Tokatlian, Norm Michaels
Team Members: Barbara Audin, Mike Lafleur, Jennifer Varney, Heather Layton, Carol Caroscio, Mark Layton
Day 1: Most of us flew from Manchester NH to Las Vegas where we met the rest of the group. We picked up two rental SUV’s and headed towards Death Valley National Park. On the way we stopped for sightseeing at “Dantes View”(the highest point in the Funeral mountains) followed by a brief stop at Furnace Creek Ranger Station where the temperature was 119 degrees. From Furnace Creek we continued directly towards our destination (Mahogany Flats Campground 8200′). After an adventurous two mile drive, we arrived at the campground where the temperature was a cool 65 degrees. Selecting a large campsite we set our individual tents and had dinner while enjoying the beautiful sunset. After a long day of traveling we went to bed in luxury.
Day 2: After breakfast we started to hike “Telescope Peak: 11.050′ highest point in Death Valley”. It was 14 miles round trip with 3000′ elevation gain. This was our acclimatizing hike, so we moved at a very slow pace. The weather was cool and pleasant at the start but became much hotter as we progressed. We spent one hour on the summit to further help the acclimatizing process. After enjoying the magnificent scenery of 360 degrees taking pictures and some napping, we descended and returned to our campsite, had dinner and retired.
Day 3: Leisurely day. After early morning breakfast we broke camp and started to drive towards Lone Pine CA. On the way we stopped at several locations for sightseeing: “Charcoal Kilns” “Panamint Springs” “Father Crowley Point” and finally Owens Valley and Lone Pine. We checked into a hotel and visited the Ranger Station to apply for our Whitney permits unsuccessfully. We explored the Whitney area, drove to “Horseshoe Meadows 10,000′ in Inyo N.F. to acclimatize further. We then returned to Lone Pine after a nice dinner to spend the night in the hotel.
Day 4: Following breakfast we visited Alabama Hills (famous rock formations where most Western movies are made). After enjoying breathtaking views with the Sierras in the distance, we drove leisurely towards Boundary Peak trailhead, which is the highest point in Nevada (13,140′). The road leading to Boundary is Route 6 which starts from Bishop CA to Provincetown MA. To reach the trailhead we had to drive 17 miles on an unmarked hilly dirt road, which was an adventure itself. In the late afternoon we arrived at the trailhead (9000′), set camp, had dinner and relaxed in complete solitude. Towards evening we enjoyed the campfire fueled by natural fuel of cow dung.
Day 5: Summit day to Boundary Peak 7.4 miles round trip with 4,400′ elevation gain.
8:00 AM we started our climb. We had to hike through sage brush, which at times was very thick. The trail was not marked at all making route finding challenging with many stops to verify our destination by GPS. We arrived at the saddle within a few hours and from that point the summit route was in clear view. We continued our climb slowly through a labyrinth of huge boulders: some places with serious exposure. We reached the summit by 1.00 PM and spent some time taking pictures and enjoying the surrounding peaks such as Montgomery and the White mountains. Afterwards we began our descent slowly. We arrived at the trailhead campsite in the late afternoon, dismantled camp and drove towards Lone Pine. We arrived to the hotel late that evening exhausted, but elated
Day 6: To recover from Boundary Peak today was a leisurely day: after breakfast we visited the Ranger Station once more hoping to obtain Whitney Mountaineers Route permit. Unfortunately the quota for the mountaineers? route was recently changed from 8 to 6 total group size, therefore; we had no chance for a permit. At that point we changed our plans to climb Mt Langley 14,100′ instead. To accomplish that goal we shopped for food and moved to Horseshoe Meadows 10,000′ to spend the night in the campground.
Day 7: After a cold night at Horseshoe Meadow we were ready for our hike to Cottonwood Lakes (11,000′): our staging area to summit of Mt Langley. After 6 miles of gradual hiking we arrived at Cottonwood Lakes in the late afternoon. It was a beautiful place surrounded by various peaks and other lakes and it was cold. After dinner we crawled into our sleeping bags for a good night sleep.
Day 8: Summit day to Mt Langley. 8 miles round trip 3100′ elevation gain.
We started our climb slowly but steadily. AT 7.00 AM we reached Old Army Pass. From that point Mt Langley was in full view and the route we were supposed to take (based on our GPS) was also in clear view. We continued our climb through scree and boulders, at times scrambling until we reached the upper summit platform. We were on the summit around 11.00 AM, where it was cold and windy. We stayed long enough to take pictures and to enjoy the surrounding giant peaks.
Our descent was faster than expected: we arrived back at Cottonwood Lakes around 2.00 PM, dismantled camp and hiked back 6 miles to Horseshoe Meadows trailhead to pick up the cars and drive back to Lone Pine.
We checked to our hotel and after a nice shower we had an outdoor celebration party by the pool of the hotel.
Day 9: Return to Vegas. After breakfast we checked out and headed towards Bristlecone Pine Forest where the oldest trees on earth are located. We spent a couple of hours walking through oldest living trees and continued our trip towards the northern section of Death Valley to visit Scotty’s castle and Ube Ube crater. From there we visited Badwater, which is the lowest point in the United States, at 280′ below sea level. We arrived in Las Vegas in the late afternoon, checked into our hotel, had a nice dinner and celebrated our last night in an Irish pub.
Day 10: Had to fly back home
We had a friendly and cooperative group, because of their cooperation and positive attitude it ended up to be a fantastic and memorable trip, the pictures are true representation. Our greatest appreciation to all
Leon and Norm