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Telescope Peak

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:08 pm
by kpherzog
Anyone care to predict what the best time to climb Telescope Peak will be this spring? I was there last year mid-May and about died from the heat, so I am planning an earlier trip this year. Suggestions welcome!

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:25 pm
by MojaveGeek
It's highly variable. I have been out in mid April and crossed over Telescope peak and beyond to the south all the way to Panamint City, slept at Arcane Meadows and it was balmy. A year or two later I was chased away from Last Chance Peak by snowfall at the old cabin at 5600 feet and retreated to the floor of the Eureka Valley for some warmth.

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:45 pm
by Gowergulch42
Apparently if there's a storm system in the North West, we get the high winds in the desert. When I attempted summit in July 2012 it was comfortable, but 60-70 mph windy. Wind knocked us off our balance once we rounded Rogers. Check the weather before you head out!

Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:40 pm
by stan
Like the others before me have said, it depends. Lots of variables, wet vs dry season, weather front passing thru etc. I have been on TP in May and was turned back by knee deep (and deeper!!) snow. In drier years I have been on the summit in May with no snow and beautiful calm conditions. Given how dry it has been so far this year I would imagine a summit attempt in May would be snowless, but the wind and temperature can always be a factor to deal with. Go ahead and go, just be prepared to turn around if things look nasty.

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:12 pm
by seanR
Here is a point forecast for the peak: ... s73M1WIbJF

You will need to check the forecast leading up to the hike. You might be able to get an idea of how weather may be 1-2 weeks out. About 3-5 days out, forecasts usually get pretty reliable, but winds can be hard to forecast up there. Odds of a heatwave and intense sun increase the later in spring you go, but odds of ice, snow, rain, and stormfronts decrease. There are no guarantees far in advance, especially in winter and spring. This year, the route may not develop conditions involving much danger and inconvenience from ice and snow if the dry and warm weather continues to dominate most of the winter. High winds can be very uncomfortable and even impact visibility, but usually strong wind events are in the 1-5 day forecast.

So far this year, I'd guess that conditions are shaping up to be similar to (or even better than) the easy winter and spring hiking conditions found around Telescope in 2012 and 2013. The past two years, hikers on (including myself) reported easy to moderate hiking conditions in March, April, and even February and January. A big storm, or especially a series of storms, could change conditions to deep snow, possibly followed by dangerous winter/spring ice. If that occurs, you'll have to check for updates on when hiking becomes safe and easy again and hope you don't hit a heatwave. It would also be a good idea to check road conditions to the trailhead. If you go later in spring, you do have more daylight to work with and generally better chance of parking/camping up high.

I apologize if the following tips are obvious : AMS/HAPE/HACE is more likely on peaks higher than Telescope, but spending the night before at the trailhead can help if you are concerned about adjusting to the altitude and having the hike feel easy. Don't forget to drink plenty of water, eat well, and wear clothing & hat that blocks the sun from sapping your energy and moisture. Don't rush on the hike. If you are too hot, slow down and take short rest breaks including hydrating and snacks. Training for a similar distance and gain helps.

I suspect conditions will be good early this year and may look into a late February or early April trip myself. As a bonus, those are often great times to be down lower in DVNP if conditions are poor up high.

People might report conditions here: ... log/150584

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:26 pm
by Gowergulch42
There is still snow above the charcoal kilns. I'd wait until May or so myself.

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:08 pm
by tchiker
I was just about to start a thread for this myself so glad that this one is already here.

I guess the first concern is whether enough snow has melted to make it to the trailhead, and then is the snow too deep at the top.

But then you don't want to wait until it too hot. That is my main concern because I can't stand the heat (maybe unusual for a DV lover, but it's the truth).

I guess I'll just have to check back here periodically and maybe someone will illuminate the situation as the Spring arrives. But that is one of the hike on my short list that I have always dreamed of doing, so hope I get to it this year.

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:57 pm
by seanR
I understand trying to avoid hiking in the heat. One tip I didn't mention above would be to start hiking at or before first light of day. Then you'll likely complete the portion of the hike requiring the most exertion before the hottest part of the day, possibly negating all the fretting over heat in all but severe heatwave conditions. After all, hiking between ~8,000-11,000 feet ought to be low risk for HOT morning conditions.

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:58 pm
by Gowergulch42
Update: mostly devoid of snow, passable. Probably snow on north facing slopes

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:05 pm
by seanR
Gowergulch42 wrote:Update: mostly devoid of snow, passable. Probably snow on north facing slopes
Thanks, Gowergulch! It'll be interesting to see if late winter brings any relief from the dry conditions, but the lack of storms does make for easy driving and hiking.

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:54 am
by MojaveGeek
Also note that if it is warm Telescope is an excellent hike for water caching, since you come back the same way. There's quite a little slog and of course it is at altitude to get up to the summit; the last bit is all uphill. Take only enough water for your lunch and you will feel better sucking the thin air.

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:46 pm
by thepeakseeker
Hey all, does anyone know of current conditions on Telescope? I might have a chance to head up in early Feb and am wondering about current snow conditions up top.

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:55 pm
by MojaveGeek
thepeakseeker wrote:Hey all, does anyone know of current conditions on Telescope? I might have a chance to head up in early Feb and am wondering about current snow conditions up top.
Did you read the post from two days ago, just a couple above yours?

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:18 pm
by thepeakseeker
I saw that update - sounds pretty thin. Wanted to continue the discussion and see if anyone has further information. Thanks!

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:51 pm
by blackturtle
Here's a picture I snapped a couple hours ago while hiking in the Slate Range.
As you can see there is a little snow along the ridge line and on the peak to the north (probably Bennett). Since it is the southwest face of Telescope Peak that we see in the picture, it is reasonable to assume that there is much more snow on the northeast slope, through which the last mile and a half of switchbacks climb.

Personally I'd much rather hike Telescope in the summer. I've never encountered a day that I considered hot, but then I live in Trona...