Telescope Panorama

Like its prominent neighbor to the south, San Jacinto Peak, Death Valley National Park's Telescope Peak is a desert summit offering nothing less than a mindblowing vertical rise.

Yes, of the two SJP offers the steeper facade, but in terms of total vertical, 11,043' Telescope Peak reigns supreme, rising an astonishing 11,331' feet above nearby Badwater, Death Valley, elevation -282.

But rise is only part of the story.

The view atop Telescope is easily among the most inspiring I've seen from any peak. We hit it on a truly perfect day: wildflowers in full bloom thanks to the wet winter, interesting but non-threatening clouds above, dramatic shadows and colors in all directions. Sublime!

On a technical note, the video is shot with my Nikon D7000, which did a nice job capturing the colors, albeit with an annoying habit of shifting exposure in abrupt steps rather than smooth gradients as I was panning. Unfortunately, choosing manual exposure has no effect on the problem, but you can prevent it by holding down the exposure lock button. Details, details...

— August 14, 2011

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Bill D August 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Congratulations on the climb! I did it a couple of weeks ago with my dad and 8 and 10 year old daughters. Quite an experience, and that last mile climb was a leg burner even for guys like me who thought they were in shape :) The trail is one of the best secrets in Socal....

Dan Conger August 16, 2011 at 6:49 am

I remember taking a trip through Death Valley for a church youth group in March one year. 95 on the valley floor and you could see the snow up on the summit of the peak. Quite the stark contrast.

So many people don't realize how beautiful the desert can be.