Corkscrew Peak

elevation: 1,769 m.
height gain: 970 m.
area: Death Valley,California,USA
map USGS 1:24,000 Stovepipe Wells, CA 36117F1 & Thimble Pk, CA 36117G1

Ref: Summit Post

beautiful flowers

Even the most arid environments host beautiful flowers.
Scramble: RT 4.0; 2.5 up. As we neared the end of our visit to Death Valley, we decided to visit the information center in Stovepipe Wells to find out if the access roads to Telescope Peak were soon re-opening. The ranger informed us about prolonged access restrictions due to the recent flash flood's devastation. After telling him we had travelled from Canada to climb Telescope Peak and escape the cold, he recommended this objective as a consolation adventure. Corkscrew Peak appeared worthy of a visit, and its proximity was appealing. We decided to travel light, donning running shoes and carrying very little. The beginning of the hike meanders through the vast desert towards alluvial features. Walking on sand and cobble amongst cacti was a different experience; we kept watch for snakes and tarantulas, but we saw none. Eventually, we reached a narrow canyon and some welcome shade. We located the breach in the canyon wall and followed it to the terrain above; the trail is more distinct as it climbs steadily toward the summit. We reached the top in less than 3 hours. We had a short break to enjoy the view then, we backtracked at a fast pace. We met a young couple at the "The Hole in the Rock" and asked them to take a picture of us; that was the only stop on our descent. Back at the vehicle, we had enough time in the afternoon for a swim at the Furnace Creek Resort. This scramble is easy; however, it would be challenging in the heat of the summer. The ascent and the view will leave you breathless!

the objective

The objective from the side of the road.

beavertail cactus

Opuntia basilaris, Beavertail cactus.

following the trail

Following the trail through the desert.

entering a canyon

At the entrance of a canyon.

shade in the canyon

The canyon grants some shade.

erosion in the canyon

Interesting erosion in the canyon wall.

breach in the canyon

A breach in the canyon wall leads to the terrain above.

ascending the breach

Ascending the narrow breach.

short climb

Short climb out of the canyon.

well-defined trail

The trail is well-defined on the broad barren ridge.

desert five-spot

Eremalche rotundifolia, Desert Five-Spot; unfortunately the flower isn't fully opened to display its stunning red markings.

looking back

Looking back as we begin to gain height.

rocky nook

A little rocky nook along the ridge.


Straightforward and pleasant.

badwater basin

Badwater Basin, 86 meters below sea level, stands out in the desertic landscape.

amargosa range

Fascinating alluvial surfaces and eroded mountains of the Amargosa Range.

summit block

Approaching the summit block.

nearing the summit

Nearing the summit.

southern view

Southern view of Badwater Basin nestled between the Black Mountains (left) and the Panamint Range on the right.

telescope peak

Telescope Peak, 3,366 meters, is the highpoint of the rugged Panamint Range.

at the top

South-eastern view from the top.

daylight castle

To the east, Daylight Castle (right center) can be reached from Daylight Pass.

grapevine mountains

The northern view includes taller peaks of the Grapevine Mountains.

mount whitney

Mount Whitney in the distance west of us.

hole in the rock

Selfie in the "Hole in the Rock".
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