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Butte Valley, Russel Camp and Manly Peak in Death Valley

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Butte Valley, Russel Camp and Manly Peak in Death Valley

Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:46 am

Saturday, 3 December 2005

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/517654273wWNKgL


We drove 20 miles on the Warm Springs Canyon Road to get to Butte Valley, passing Big Talc Mine, White Point Mine and Warm Springs Camp, which we stopped at on the way out. We arrived at Russel Camp around 11:15am, Calhiker ate breakfast, and I checked out Russel Cabin. By 11:40am we were heading up the gully to a low saddle, where we would follow the ridge to Manly Peak (7,196’). I forgot my trekking poles, so my calves were burning from the steep slope. The views from the ridge were awesome! We could see Striped Butte sticking out from Butte Valley, and some peaks we had done . . . Pyramid Peak, Sheephead, and Charleston. Once on the summit, we could see Searles and Slate Benchmark (from last weekend), Telescope, Panamint Butte, and some snow covered peaks in the Sierra. The summit block of Manly had too much exposure for me to climb. I could have gotten up, but I needed a rope to get down (I’m carrying one from now on). I climbed up the boulder next to it and that was as far as I wanted to go. I was shivering from the wet shirt under my jacket, and the breeze picked up. We signed the register, and as I flipped thru the pages, found a lot of familiar names, including one by Ron and Pam from our canoe trips. They were there in ’89, and just got married a few years ago after retiring, and being together ~30 years. Saw BobR’s entry twice, and Brian from work, who needs 5 more peaks to finish the DPS list. After almost an hour on top, we headed down. We got to Russel Camp by 4:45pm, changed into dry clothes and ate dinner sitting in the front seat of the 4Runner. I checked the temperature and it was 32 degrees at 5:50pm. An hour later it was down to 28 degrees. I jumped in the back in my sleeping bag to stay warm and we talked til we fell asleep (not sure who was out first). Calhiker woke up cold and uncomfortable in the front seat and went to his tent at 3am. I woke up at 6:30am all toasty and warm in my 0 deg bag, it was 22 degrees outside.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby madeintahoe » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:25 pm

SN..this looks like another fun hike! I love all those boulders.
That Russel camp looks interesting...I love that old kitchen stove & old sink. I bet that was fun seeing all that stuff! I wonder what kind of bird that was
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Postby Snow Nymph » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:16 am

Sunday, 4 December 2005

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/518911492ausRaV


It was cold outside at 6:30am. I checked the temperature and it said 22 degrees. I walked up a hill behind Russel Cabin to see what Striped Butte looked like in the morning sun. It was butte-tee-full! There were two metal chairs on the hill, probably for viewing sunrises and sunsets of Butte Valley! Below was another cabin. It wasn’t far, so I had to check it out. It was Stella’s Cabin, two wooden cabins with tin roofs held by wire tied to boulders. There were also two outhouses, one looked fairly new and was a lot cleaner. I looked thru the guest book, and the last entry was from a guy I know from work! I got back to Russel Cabin around 8am. Calhiker woke up just before I got there and we ate breakfast and packed up. Since he had not seen Stella’s, we drove over and took a quick look. Then we drove to the Geologist Cabin, a nice stone structure and newer than the other two. The inside was a lot cleaner, so someone must have stayed there recently. We noticed the fireplace and chairs and wished we would have found this one the night before. Calhiker would have slept a lot warmer if his tent or cot was set up inside the cabin. Next time! We drove a short way, and found a pile of boulders that had the Smuggler’s Cave in it. We had read two reports that talked about it.

Then we headed for Striped Butte. I followed an unmaintained road til it ended. It took us 32 minutes up, 48 minutes at the summit, and 35 minutes down. We got back on the Warm Springs Canyon Road and drove to Warm Springs Camp. The buildings were newer than the other camps, and had hornet’s nests all along the walls of the 6 buildings. There was a swimming pool, with warm water from a nearby spring flowing by. We checked out each building, then headed for White Point Talc mine next door. The portal had a bar missing, so I squeezed thru it and walked into the mine, using the camera flash to look around. Calhiker followed, and we strained to look at the tunnels inside. I finally went back for my new headlamp, which was pretty awesome and throws a lot of light in the dark tunnels. After taking photos, we headed back towards the main road.

We had some pretty awesome buffalo burgers at the 49ers Café, then headed home. There was so much more we wanted to explore, but ran out of time. Next time we’ll take 3 days minimum in Butte Valley.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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