Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

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Death Valley Dazed
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Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:15 am

After two prior explorations of Bad Canyon, I got the whacky idea of ascending to Dantes Peak from Badwater and returning in the same day. Two days prior to this hike I stashed some water just below Dantes Peak for use on the return which was a smart idea.

I departed BW parking lot at first light, crossed the mouth of Bad Canyon and ascended up a pre-scouted route of the south ridge to the first knoll which was very steep but using the rocks and ledges as a stairway made this non-technical.

Following the ridgeline, all the way to Hades Fault was also steep but there was a clearly defined path created by other hikers and the bighorn sheep. There were six knolls or crests along the way to Hades Fault affording spectacular views in all directions. I get a big charge out of watching the perspective change with elevation gain. The wind was gusting from the south with visibility moderate.

Hades Fault was better than I expected with wild colors and geological formations. Someone had created a large marker of rocks atop the Hades Fault west crest. Scrambling up out of the fault to the east towards Dantes' Peaks was challenging due to the ball bearing like scree but it wasn't dangerous.

While scouting a possible route up to Dantes Peak from Hades Fault two days prior while I stashed my water I believed scrambling up the steep slope through the chutes, slots, and scree was possible but I was not sure of the exact route and worried about getting stopped out and having to scramble around dead ends. I was most lucky at selecting a route up that zigzagged through the crags without any retreats and do-overs. While doing so, I was able to select a more expeditious return route thus saving valuable time.

It was a thrill to stand atop Dantes Peak although wobbly due to fatigue and high gusty winds. I took a rare selfie with Dantes View in the background to the south just to prove I had actually made the summit. LOL

Scrambling back down several hundred yards to find my water stash was funny because I could not locate it. I was contemplating whether to bum a ride back to Badwater or attempt the return with limited water when to my amazement a man and woman couple appeared having followed my footsteps and track up from Badwater about a half hour or hour behind me. I had not seen them but they had spotted me ahead of them on the ridgeline coming up. For some reason, they thought there was another person hiking with me.

Befuddled and distracted by my inability to locate the water stash and surprised to have this couple who were at least late sixties or early seventies in age completing this challenging hike I failed to get their names and to snap a photo of them. They offered me a ride back to Badwater with their friend who was awaiting them at Dantes View parking lot.

I decided to remain and search more for my stash thinking that if I didn't find it shortly I'd rush and catch up to my friendly couple and take them up on the hitch back to BW. So I finally found my stash and headed back down to BW after wasting about a half hour. The couple thought I was nuts to return back at about 2:30 PM but I thought I'd make it back by dark which turned out to be correct.

Due to being in a hurry to retreat before dark and not having a waning moon for light until much later in the night and with 30-45 MPH gusts I only took images of the return at the last knoll before descending into Bad Canyon and across to BW. I only had to use my headlamp at the very end.

Afterthoughts: A superficial Google search for hikes from BW to Dantes Peak found nothing. There is Steve Hall's descent from Dantes Peak to BW but I can't find anything about a round trip. It might be rare but I am highly doubtful about being the first human to hike up and back because it is quite do-able without ropes or climbing shoes. The path along the ridgeline and into Hades Fault seems to be fairly well traveled as well. The bighorn sheep tracks really help the trail finding. And if a "senior couple" can make the hike up nearly anyone can who is in shape and takes their time. I was nearly maxed out when reaching my car at BW parking but not in any serious trouble but did feel the beginning of a leg cramp in my right hammy but it went away.

I don't want to repeat this hike but am so glad that I overcame my doubts and worries and pushed ahead. The views and exhilaration from being on "the edge" were so worth the effort.

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netllama
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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by netllama » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:12 pm

Wow, that's quite the accomplishment. Congrats!

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Randy O
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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by Randy O » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:17 pm

Wow DVD, you are an animal. I'm surprised about the elderly couple coming up behind you after looking at your route on your video, they must have been in better shape than most. By the way, nice selfie but I still wouldn't be able to recognize you if I saw you in DV somewhere. My wife and I spend a lot of time in Death Valley in the winter when we stay in Pahrump, which we will likely be doing again this year and I always check people out wondering if any of them are the ones posting on this forum. Anyway, nice video as usual.

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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:05 am

Wow, that is amazing that you did that, very impressive. Love the footage and pics too... some great color in the cliffs out there.

You should talk to Steve Hall and get one of the t-shirts that he was wearing in his trip report of the descent. :)

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wbdeford
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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by wbdeford » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:54 pm

Nice job! if it isn't in the video (haven't watched it yet), can you post a map of your route? I've wanted to do this also--though not necessarily both directions in one day.

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:42 am

wbdeford wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:54 pm
Nice job! if it isn't in the video (haven't watched it yet), can you post a map of your route?
Thanks and the route map is in the video.
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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by ski3pin » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:08 am

Great hike and video! But please excuse me, I must correct the assumption that late sixties or early seventies is "elderly". That gave this husband and wife team quite the belly laugh.
"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln

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wbdeford
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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by wbdeford » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:16 pm

Death Valley Dazed wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:42 am
wbdeford wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:54 pm
Nice job! if it isn't in the video (haven't watched it yet), can you post a map of your route?
Thanks and the route map is in the video.
Thanks....now I definitely have to do this :)

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:26 pm

ski3pin wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:08 am
I must correct the assumption that late sixties or early seventies is "elderly". That gave this husband and wife team quite the belly laugh.
Agreed and for clarity, it was not me who replied "I'm surprised about the elderly couple coming up behind you..." but another of our dear forum members. LOL and that's why my description of them describes them by my assumption of their age in years. Now that I think of it, I would have been astounded at any couple of any age coming up right behind me as I summited Dante's Peak from Badwater. (smile)
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Randy O
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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by Randy O » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:27 am

Yes you are quite correct that 60's and 70's are not "elderly" these days, and for the record, I too am in that age group and I don't consider myself elderly either. So there. Maybe define "senior" huh DVD?

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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by Rockhopper » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:34 pm

Fantastic hike, and what a challenging one! 5500 feet elevation up and then down is damned impressive.

At mid-sixties myself, I can vouch for other challenges -- muscles can be trained, heart and lungs too, but DANG, the joints, tendons, and fascia can be troublesome. I doubt that I'll do the Badwater-Dante's View hike myself, though I have plans for a tough hike in the Marble Mountains in July.

Again, congrats. Great to do hard stuff sometimes.

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netllama
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Re: Badwater to Dantes Peak and back March 26th

Post by netllama » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:50 pm

Rockhopper wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:34 pm
Great to do hard stuff sometimes.
Indeed. More people need that attitude.

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