Peak 5,620ft P300
Peak 5,820ft P300
Peak 5,220ft P300
Peak 4,340ft
Peak 5,711ft P300
Peak 5,825ft P300
Peak 6,010ft P300
Peak 5,979ft P300
Peak 6,062ft P300

Apr 12, 2021

With: Tom Becht
Ryan Burd

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX


Tom and I had come to the Tucki Mtn/Panamint Range in Death Valley to tackle some unnamed summits at the higher elevations where it was expected to be cooler. More accurately, I had come for this purpose, whereas Tom was really just along for the ride, humoring me with my summit choices while probably wishing he was doing some of the remaining DPS summits he had in the park. Tom had warned me that he wasn't feeling up to his usual self, but I didn't notice any slowness or other deficiencies. My son would join us for the second half of the day in the Skidoo area further south in the range.

Peak 5,620ft

We had driven our Jeeps up Lucky Wash Rd the previous evening, a convenient cherry-stem in the Death Valley Wilderness. We parked at the end of a spur road that goes up the East Ridge of Peak 5,620ft, positioning us nicely for the short hike to the summit first thing in the morning. The sun was just rising as we started off before 6:30a, taking about half an hour for the easy ridge walk to the west. There was one section of rocky terrain enroute, but this was easily bypassed to the side. There is a nice view looking north to Tucki Mtn from the summit and another looking down Lucky Wash to the west. For the most part, the views were much like those for the rest of the day - lots of brown hills.

Peak 5,820ft

This summit lies a mile to the east of our campsite and we could have started from there, but to lessen the uphill climb on the way back, we repositioned our Jeeps further down the ridge. We then had only a short downhill hike at the start, then a pleasant ridge climb to the top of Peak 5,820ft, taking half an hour. There would normally be a good view looking east into Death Valley, but windy conditions had filled the valley with blowing sand and dust, and the early morning sun helped wash out the view. Good views in other directions, as the blowing dust only seemed to affect the lower elevations. We left a register before heading back the same way.

Peak 5,220ft

The other spur road in Lucky Wash goes over a saddle and down the east side to an old mine with some old cabins. We parked here, briefly looked inside the buildings, and explored a bit around the old mineshafts as we started up to Peak 5,220ft, located above the mines. It was a very steep climb but relatively short, taking about 20min. There is a good view of Peak 5,820ft a mile to the north from the summit. The Jeeps were easily visible below at the mine. After leaving , we returned much the same way, finding other mineshafts to check out before returning to the Jeeps.

Peak 4,340ft

We drove about halfway down Lucky Wash before stopping for this short but interesting summit. The East Ridge has a short section of fun limestone scrambling, taking all of 20min from our vehicles to the summit. We left another register here before starting down. I took a more direct descent directly off the south side, hoping to find a quick gravel descent - the slope turned out to be a little treacherous and not the fun, quick descent I'd hoped.

Peak 5,711ft - Peak 5,825ft

We drove the remaining distance down to the pavement at Emigrant Canyon Rd. We were an hour early for our 12p rendevous with Ryan, so we set up the awning and had snacks and a beer in the shade while we waited. At the appointed time, nearly to the minute, Ryan showed up. We then caravanned up dirt Skidoo Rd to the starting point for these two summits. Tom decided to skip these (claiming he was tired), continuing instead up to Skidoo to tackle Skidoo Ridge instead, a summit I had done nine years earlier. There were no turnouts on the road near our starting point at a junction with an old road, now part of the Wilderness, so Ryan and I parked at the edge of Skidoo Rd with one set of wheels on the berm to allow other vehicles to pass.

We started off on the old road which quickly ends on the north side of Peak 5,711ft at some prospects. It took only 20min to make our way to the summit up modest slopes, leaving a register before continuing over the summit to Peak 5,825ft. Only about 2/3mi further south to the second peak, the traverse between them was a very pleasant affair, dropping into a small shallow before climbing class 2-3 slopes up the northwest side to the top. We left another register here before heading to the northeast off the summit for our return. We did this to pick up another old road about halfway back that we could follow for the remaining distance back to the vehicles. The roundtrip effort took us less than two hours, the longest outing of the day.

Peak 6,010ft

Back at Skidoo Rd, we drove our vehicles another mile and change north to a saddle west of Peak 6,010ft. We were surprised to see Tom's Jeep parked there. He had found Skidoo Ridge to be a drive-up, had done the short climb to Peak 6,062ft to the north, and had driven back to do this short hike to Peak 6,010ft. Evidently, he was feeling pretty good, not as rundown as he had professed to be earlier. I could see him already on his way down, Ryan and I intercepting him soon after we started up. He admitted feeling much stronger than he expected and said he'd wait for us at the Jeep. It took less than 15min to reach the summit barely a quarter mile away. The topo map wasn't very accurate here, as we found the highpoint to the southeast, below the highest contour shown on the map. We added Tom's name to a register we left before returning the same way. Tom was sitting comfortably in one of his chairs when we got back, ready for another hike.

Peak 5,979ft

We moved the cars another mile up the road, finding some parking at the junction with another old road now part of the Wilderness. Peak 5,979ft lies less than a mile to the northeast, half of that distance made easier by the old road. There were rusting cables, an old trailer, a trash pit and other mining detritus strewn along the route. Where the road turns east, we continued northeast, cross-country now, as we climbed the moderate slopes to Peak 5,979ft. It took less than half an hour to reach the summit and about the same on the return.

Peak 6,062ft

While Tom drove back down the road to look for a suitable campsite, Ryan and I headed west towards Skidoo for the last summit, one that Tom had already done earlier. We found it about as easy as Tom had described it, a short climb of less than 15min to reach the summit with an overview of the Skidoo townsite to the south and southwest, the much higher Tucki Mtn to the north. It was 4:30p by the time we finished up back at the Jeep. We had a few more hours of daylight, but we had run out of peaks in the immediate area and were happy to call it a day.

After showering under the desert sun (with a chill wind blowing), we found Tom back down the Skidoo Rd at one of the turnouts on the west side of the road, southwest of Peak 6,010ft. There is a dilapitated structure just up from where we parked, and plenty of trash all about, not all of it from back in the day. It was flat, at least, and we would make due. Besides, I don't think we're really supposed to be camping anywhere along Skidoo Rd, and we were happy to take what we could get...


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