MANLY PEAK (7,196') May 7, 1995
The heat held off for one last desert climb this season. We made another drive south along U.S. 395 to join this DPS weekend. As we motored in Friday night on a dirt road south from Ballarat, a loud noise came from the truck. We stopped to check it, and then, the trip leaders came by. Determining a broken part, we had to motor into Ridgecrest the next day to have a strut fixed.
After the repair was completed Saturday morning, we quickly drove back, through Trona, to the peak approach road, the Goler Wash Road, and took the rough section without problem now. Rich needed Needle Peak, and we came to the other DPS trucks by about 1 p.m. He took off to bag the peak solo. I disappointed him as I stayed by the cars to relax and take pictures.
The group was descending as Rich sped past to the top. I knew there would be no time for pictures if I tagged along. The DPS group came back and took up lawn chairs as Rich returned a short bit later. I remember a cold fruit salad was part of the happy hour fare for the evening. We camped nearby in a hidden wash.
Greg, the leader, chose a new approach to Manly Peak from a road to the north. The DPS Guide describes two routes, but credit is given for new routes. We hiked along a ridge in a nice way, then came to the summit block. Most free climbed it, but I used a fixed rope as a hold to save time. The view to the west was similar to that of Porter Peak on the last trip. We had lots of time to sit about and relax.
Descending on the same route, I took a picture of Striped Butte, the main scenic feature in this highly remote portion of the Park. Only good 4WD vehicles can access this large valley. We didn't see another soul.
Rich and some of the group chose to spend the rest of the day car exploring to the east, along the Warm Springs Road. We motored slowly, coming to a hot springs, a pool, and a grotto. There were plenty of natural and other features along this route. Old mining equipment also marked this rough road.
We came to the main paved road through Death Valley itself. All headed south through Shoshone to Baker, CA, and then along I-15 toward home.
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