Death Valley Spring 2017

Been on a recent trip? Here is the place to share it.
Post Reply
TrailHound
Grubstaker
Posts: 196
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 1:22 pm

Death Valley Spring 2017

Post by TrailHound » Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:28 am

We made our annual trip to Death Valley from March 30 to April 1. It was good to see familar sights like the Death Valley Buttes and Corkscrew Peak.


Image

Image


I thought that our timing was good since the previous two weeks saw temps soar into the upper 90's. It was forecasted to be cooler. Unfortunately, we arrived just in time for a major wind event. Thursday afternoon winds hit 60 mph. Blowing sand was so bad near Stovepipe Wells that the road was closed. We started a hike to a minor slot canyon nicknamed The Crack (see here). We had to bail about a third of a mile from the canyon mouth. The winds were steadily picking up to the point of blowing dust and grit into our eyes. Here is a picture of the approaching sand storm.

Image


The winds were a bit less on Friday. We decided to visit Mosaic Canyon for three reasons. One, you don't have to hike across two miles of windy desert to reach it. Two, we thought that the canyon would offer some shelter from the wind. Three, we had not been there in 22 years. I had forgotten just how nice this canyon is. Here are a few pictures.

Image

Image

Image

Image


On Saturday, we headed to Dante's View to hike Coffin Peak. This minor peak is well worth a visit. A Google search will turn up numerous route descriptions.


Heading up the first ridge to point 5410, here is the view back to the parking area.

Image


Once you are on the ridge system that leads to the summit, nice views start in all directions.

Image

Image

Image


On the final ridge to the summit, a surprisingly good use trail skirts the rock outcroppings.

Image


Happy hikers on Coffin Peak with a snowy Telescope Peak in the background.

Image

User avatar
MojaveGeek
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:22 pm
Location: Boston

Post by MojaveGeek » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:47 pm

Nice pix. I think you had the right idea - when there's dust / wind go into a canyon. I was in Mosaic in March - way way up and tried but failed to get to Twin Spring. There's a lot to see up in there and we got to watch a monster chuckwalla scamper around a rock and try to act aggressive towards us.

You never know what the weather will bring out there!

User avatar
Kauri
Grubstaker
Posts: 329
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:17 am
Location: San Rafael, CA
Contact:

Post by Kauri » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:31 pm

@TrailHound: Great photos of the Coffin Peak area! I wouldn't have expected such a well-worn use trail on the route to the summit; good to know there is one. I've been meaning to do that hike for quite a few years, but other hikes have taken priority. From your photos it looks like the views are better than I'd thought they'd be, so maybe I'll finally get to it next year.

@Mojave: That chuckwalla is likely the same one I've seen the last two times I've been to upper Mosaic Canyon. It seems to live on the bypass trail above the 25ft impasse that stops most hikers and doesn't appear to be particularly wary of humans. I wonder how long it has been living there.
My trip reports, from Death Valley and beyond: http://kaurijacobphotography.yolasite.c ... eports.php

dsummers
Jayhawker
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:11 pm

Post by dsummers » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:44 pm

Life-long Death Valley history fan, first time visitor, March 31 - 4, 2017. I've camped in what I thought were strong winds before. This time, I discovered there's wind and there's WIND. Took a bit of a pasting, I'm afraid. I'm hooked, though, and coming back next week with a low profile, wind resistant tent (on order), a smarter approach overall, and a true love for the area.

User avatar
MojaveGeek
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:22 pm
Location: Boston

Post by MojaveGeek » Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:54 pm

Kauri wrote:@Mojave: That chuckwalla is likely the same one I've seen the last two times I've been to upper Mosaic Canyon. It seems to live on the bypass trail above the 25ft impasse that stops most hikers and doesn't appear to be particularly wary of humans. I wonder how long it has been living there.
Could be! That's where we saw it. We were just about above that impasse. Pretty funny if its the same one. Some lizards are fairly long lived so possible.

User avatar
JesPortland
Breyfogler
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:57 pm
Location: Portland and Camp Sherman, OR

Post by JesPortland » Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:47 pm

Thanks for the info on "The Crack". That sort of hike is what I like. Close in, not too difficult. I'm a bit leary about trying some canyons, especially solo. Fears of cracking my head or braking a bone.

Mojave,

I've never made it past the 25 foot fall. I've been up that by pass some but not very far.

Same with Grotto. Once tried to get around but very nervous on the exposed trails. Nothing to grab onto in a fall.

Seems like a lot of us were there at the same time. We were there 3/24 late to 4/1 early. Much less busy compared to last year bloom season.

User avatar
MojaveGeek
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:22 pm
Location: Boston

Post by MojaveGeek » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:17 pm

It is very worth taking the bypass until it drops into the main canyon again, and then walking maybe 1/4 mile from there till you can't go further. Very scenic narrows and you end up in a grotto with feet of mud deposited more than 50 feet up the canyon wall - you can just imagine what it was like when some flood caused that to happen!

We hung out in shade for much of the hot part of the day and so when we came out, we went down into the main canyon and there were not many people there, which was nice.

If you're solo it makes sense to play it safe, IMHO. Four of us started over across the two canyons described in Diconnet. Two said "too hot, too loose" and turned back. Two of us went on and I took a nasty spill in a spot where everything I grabbed just broke off in my hands. I was OK but it did hurt a bit when we cleaned it up and it made me lose my appetite for scree scrambling for a few days.

User avatar
Death Valley Dazed
Grubstaker
Posts: 494
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:24 pm
Location: Utah

Wow, your pix of Buttes and Corkscrew

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:08 am

with the vivid blue sky and cotton candy white clouds just pop right out. Really gorgeous. Thanks to you I'm adding Coffin Peak to my bucket list. I appreciate great trips reports like this.
Life begins in Death Valley

Post Reply