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Death Valley Buttes Solo (got all 3 summits)

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:27 pm
by Snow Nymph

I was meeting BobR (and friends) on Sunday to hike Corkscrew Peak. Since I was solo (Calhiker had to back out last minute), Bob suggested Death Valley Buttes combined with Titus Canyon and Thimble Pk for Saturday. But then added "if you're a purist you'll get all 3". :unibrow:

So from the 2nd butte, I had to make a decision . . . Go back on a trail or take the 'Rockwell Challenge'. :eek: Since I had already done Thimble two years ago, I decided to go for the 3rd butte. It took me 1:25 to the second summit (started at Hell’s Gate, :retard: duh!), then followed the ridge west towards #3. It was a challenge as the trail disappeared :( and everything was steep and I was sliding all over. I kept stopping and thinking I should turn back :eek: , but the ‘challenge’ was there so I evenually found my way down. :smirk:

After I got down to the wash, I headed for the third butte, which is separated from the first two Death Valley Buttes. I saw a trail to a mine about 2/3 up, but it looked near vertical the rest of the way up. I had not seen any info on the 3rd butte, so from the wash I followed a use trail to the north, which I later concluded was an animal trail. :angry: I decided to head straight up to a saddle for views. From there it didn't look that far up, so even though it was vertical and rocky, it looked doable. :D The higher I got, the steeper it was (almost like climbing a ladder) and the handholds were breaking off and rocks were sliding down. :\ I got to the bigger more stable rocks and climbed over them and soon reached the flat summit. :D No register on this one either. :mad: I remembered the south side of the 3rd butte looked smooth and not so cliff-like, but when I got there it was steep with a bigger drop. I looked on the side where the mine was, and decided to go down the chute and take the trail down. That was a good decision (once I got out of that nasty chute :eek: ). Happy again to be down, I headed up the wash, another 3 miles/800' to the truck (according to my GPS). I saw something move ahead, got the camera out, and kept walking. There was a herd of bighorn sheep in the wash! :D I tried to stay out of their view, and got kind of close. They heard me and took off for higher ground. I counted 17 sheep in 3 small groups. A little too far away to photograph, but it was fun watching them from afar. :D I headed up the wash again, and about 10 minutes later I saw 5 more sheep to the left. :D :D I ran up the little hill for a better view, but they were gone. The rest of the trip was uneventful. Seemed like a long walk back, since I was low on water and really thirsty. Got back with 3 sips of water left in my Camelbak. Total time was 7 hrs 10 min, 6.75 mi with ~2,500' elevation gain/loss.

I got a shower, ate, repacked my daypack for the next day, looked at pics and got really sleepy. Lights out by 8:45pm which is really early for me.

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:06 pm
by Mtflyer
Death Valley Buttes are on my list of things to do in DV this year. It's nice to be able to see what they're like. Thanks for posting the pics.

A small group of us are going to do Titus canyon and climb Thimble Peak this weekend. Heard that you might come along.

We did the Buttes last fall, but we only did two.

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:52 pm
by wingding
SN - Your pictures are very nice as always. I'm looking forward to doing a trip to Death Valley sometime this winter. I want to do Eagle and Pyramid Peaks. I also want to try Dry Mountain and Nopah.

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:48 am
by Snow Nymph
MF, the first two summits are easy and on a trail. The third one was a little more challenging for me. Also, I started 1/2 mile up the road. When I got to the first saddle, there was a trail coming up from the road. Right now I'm not sure what the plan is for Saturday. Since there isn't much open on Mammoth Mtn, Scott mentioned taking the Rubicon on some dirt roads. We'll have only one vehicle so I'll probably go with him. DV is too far for a day (he wants to enjoy the condo, he doesn't get up there as much as I do). So I will most likely be in the Mammoth area. But if he decides to work on the condo, I can come to DV.

WD, Eagle and Pyramid are pretty awesome peaks. Eagle is short, but one of my favorites. My friend Jay has Dry Mtn on the list, but just hasn't picked a day yet. Question . . . when you did DV Buttes, was there a register? I read there were registers on both summits. I didn't find any. Just curious.

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 10:00 am
by wingding
SN - I don't recall finding a register on either butte - that was last November.

I think I'll be heading to Death Valley the weekend of January 14th because I'll have a 3-day weekend for President's Day - that will give me time to try a couple of the hikes I've been wanting to do.

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 12:02 am
by madeintahoe
SN....That looks like a really fun hike to me..all three peaks!
It looks so nice and warm. How cool for you to see all those sheep!
I love the shadow picture. Thank you for sharing :D