Manly Peak, Needle Peak
By: Larry Tidball
A call to the Death Valley Headquarters prior to the trip gave the report that the access road from the Northeast (Warm Springs Canyon) was still a boulder field after a washout, and that the Southwest approach (Goler Wash) was a "good graded road". We elected to take the Goler Wash approach, but had the forethought to meet at the entrance to the wash Saturday morning and carpool up the wash and over Mengel Pass in 4WD / high clearance vehicles. It was definitely not a good graded road near the top of the wash.
We hiked to Manly Peak following the description in the Peak Guide without a problem, and on our return to the cars drove on over to camp in front of the old cabin at Greater View Spring. This historic cabin is worth a visit. The evening was passed with an excellent happy hour(s).
Sunday we started off early for Needle Peak directly from Greater View Spring, as the night had been punctuated by the sounds of gunfire from the direction of Russell Camp (the recommended starting point in the Peak Guide). From our camp we ascended the easy gully in a Northwest direction up to a low saddle, and then followed the steep sandy ridge South to the main ridge leading NW to the peak. The 3rd class summit block was ascended by only a couple of the participants, a rope not being allowed, was not available to assure the safety of those speculating about the results of a fall.
A good time was had by all 13 participants with 12 making the summit on Needle, and 10 climbing Manly. On caravaning out Goler Wash we came upon an overturned Trooper, that was blocking the road after rolling while descending the loose gravel road too fast. Other vehicles in the rolled Troopers group had things under control so as soon as they moved the damaged 4WD aside we were able to continue on home.
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