CA – Death Valley NP – Corkscrew Peak

While my friend Norma is credited for much of my internal growth, Christy (aka Rockin’) is credited for much of my external growth. I found her blog, Lady on a Rock, many years ago. She became my backpacking gear and trail mentor. Her adventures set the bar high and proved women of my age could and should not feel constrained by preconceived notions. Over the years we became online friends and finally had the opportunity to meet and hike together in early 2015. 

The stage was set for an anniversary hike. Since Rockin’ has spent significant time exploring and hiking in Death Valley, she planned this hike. Something that would be new for her, and without question challenging. I consider her a bad ass hiker and climber. To say I was a little nervous is an understatement. She’s far more accomplished and skilled than me. Add to that the fact that I was a bit out of shape after spending the prior 3-4 months recovering from broken ribs.

Her choice: Corkscrew Peak. It’s not in most hiking books, not even the nearly 600-page Michel Digonnet bible. It’s a route, not a trail. Definition of route hiking? Adventure!

Corkscrew Peak is in the background as Rockin’ leads the way. 

The distinctive twist of Corkscrew.

As we gained elevation, the views improved. 

There’s Rockin’ celebrating on top of . . . a false summit. 

And onward we go. 

Sometimes there’s trail, and sometimes not so much. 

Another false summit, and so we continue. 

At Hole-in-Rock window, I’d had enough and figured this view was good enough. 

But with more trail to climb, and encouraging friends, after a little rest I continued my upward ascent.

With views like this I was happy to have pushed my limits. This is looking into Badwater Basin.

The Sierra are visible far in the distance. 

And then it was time to descend while enjoying more geologic diversity. 

Bigelow Monkeyflower (Mimulus bigelovii)

Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) and Fiddleneck (Amsinckia tessellata).

Celebrating at the top. Photo credit: Rockin’ 

Date(s) Hiked: February 27, 2016

Road Trip Day(s) #8 out of 88

Jan’s Tips:

  • According to my app, this was a 7+ mile round trip hike with 3,000+ feet elevation gain/loss.
  • I found the camping in Death Valley to be a bit challenging. I’m not a desert rat and don’t really like being packed into tight quarters with nearly zero privacy. Dispersed camping is somewhat limited if you don’t have an appropriate vehicle (ask for the map at the Visitor Center). I stayed at Stovepipe Wells CG and learned you can drive to the back of the RV spots for a bit of privacy and protection from the ever present wind.
  • Fill your tank before entering the Park. It’s a BIG park. There are a couple places in the Park to refuel if necessary, but of course you’ll pay the convenience price.
  • I found the temperatures uncomfortably warm even though it was only late February. Highs during the day were in the high 80’s low 90’s, nighttime temps were in the high 40’s to high 50’s. Shade was a rare commodity. I found myself hanging out at the Visitor Center when I needed a break. Another great option is the canyons or heading for higher elevation.



3 thoughts on “CA – Death Valley NP – Corkscrew Peak

  1. What a great hike! I met your friend Wired a few weeks back here in Perth. We spoke about awesome women hikers like yourself and rockin. I hope to one day emulate you ladies and go exploring too!

    • Can you believe I still haven’t crossed paths with Wired? I’m so glad you reached out and were able to make that connection while she was in Australia. It’s through blogs and facebook where our world becomes smaller. I’ve loved being a part of this friendship and network circle.

      Cheers to adventure and exploration!

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