Desert Summits Route Updates

The following route updates are for the book, Desert Summits:

Page 179-183 | Manly Peak & Needle Peak
Updated approach and route (4/1/2012):
The driving route from Panamint Valley on the west side of the Panamint Mountains via Goler Wash is impassable to stock 4×4 vehicles, about 2.5 miles west of Wingate Road due to washout. Please use the other described route from Death Valley, east to west on Warm Springs Road. We scouted the road and have attached a photograph of the washout. The road has degraded considerably past Barker Ranch on the western approach to Mengel Pass.

Goler Wash ©2012 Wynne Benti

Goler Wash, April 2012

On February 23, 2012, author Bob Sumner forwarded this information from Death Valley National Park on the Park’s Wilderness and Backcountry Stewardship Plan which is addressing summit registers per the Wilderness Act. Per Charlie Callagan, Wilderness Coordinator at DVNP:

“The plan will not be released for public comment until sometime this summer, but here’s a heads up on what we have to say about them. Even though summit registers are considered an “installation” not allowed by the Wilderness Act, the park is choosing to recognize the historic character of many of the old registers and that the registers have a value to search and rescue operations as well as documenting visitor use. The registers on the summits of all 50 peaks mentioned in Andy Zdon’s Desert Summits book will be allowed to remain–that will include all 19 Death Valley National Park peaks on the Sierra Club’s list of 99 desert peaks.

No new registers would be allowed on peaks not currently having registers. Other existing registers outside the fifty mentioned above– that are not historic (less than 50 years old)– are subject to removal, though no active effort to remove them is planned…”

The following changes are the result of road closures within the Death Valley National Park’s wilderness areas:
Page 191 | Winters Peak
Updated approach and route (11/20/2009):
Approach: From the Furnace Creek Inn, drive two miles east on Highway 190 to the Echo Canyon dirt road on the left. Follow the Echo Canyon Road east (four-wheel drive) as it passes the Eye of the Needle (a natural arch) at 4.8 miles, and then enters an open valley in another half mile. At 7.2 miles from Highway 190, park at the road closure sign (the wilderness boundary). Stay left and follow the road close to the saddle east of the peak.
Route: Hike to the saddle east of Winters Peaks. From the saddle, head west to Point 4,260 feet, then west and southwest following the ridge to the summit. Anticipate nine miles round-trip with 2,000 feet of elevation gain.

Page 199 | Epaulet Peak
Updated approach and route (11/20/2009):
Approach: From the junction of Highways 127 and 178 north of Shoshone, drive 5.7 miles west on Highway 178 to the dirt Greenwater Valley Road. Follow the Greenwater Valley Road north 6.3 miles and park. Look for a faint, closed road on the west side of the road. Start walking on this now closed old mining road two miles to a fork (3,400ft.)
Route: The peak is an easy slope to the southwest. If starting from the point two miles west of the Greenwater Valley Road, anticipate eleven miles round-trip with 1,850 feet of elevation gain.

Page 201 | Ibex Peak
Updated approach and route (11/20/2009):
Approach: From Salsberry Pass on Highway 178, drive 1.3 miles west to a dirt track on the south side of the road that roughly parallels the highway. Follow this track 0.4 miles to a dirt road heading south toward the peak. Turn south, and follow the dirt road 0.7 miles to a fork. Park here at the wilderness boundary where the old mining road is closed.
Route: Start walking following the closed road 1.8 miles to a saddle at about 3,940 feet. From the saddle, follow the ridge east then south to the summit. Anticipate five and a half miles round-trip with 1,000 feet of elevation gain. If hiking in from the junction of the road paralleling the highway with the road to the peak, anticipate seven miles round-trip with 3,000 feet of elevation gain. –WB