Mount Perry (Death Valley NP) 25-Sep-2018

Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California

One way to (somewhat) beat the heat during the hot months (April – October) in Death Valley is to go up to one of the higher hikes, like Telescope Peak or Wildrose Peak. Having already hiked those, we cast around for another higher altitude option and came upon Mount Perry (5,716 feet). The well-defined 4.3 mile use trail (it’s actually as good as some built trails) from road’s end at Dantes View to Perry runs down and up and down and up along the crest of the Black Mountains at around 5,000 feet. The first half-mile to Dantes View Peak (5,704 feet) is a popular short hike (seemingly called the Dantes Ridge hike) for those wanting yet more of a view that they get from the observation platform at road’s end. There are spectacular views east and west from all along the trail, and to the north from Perry’s summit.

It was 66º F when we left the trailhead at 0700 and there was a nice cool breeze flowing over the crest. Parts of the trail were still in shade and this made for an easy walk to Dantes View Peak.

Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
The road’s end at Dantes View from along the still shady trail
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
On the way to Dantes View Peak
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
On the summit of Dantes View Peak
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Shadowing Dantes View Peak, with Telescope Peak in the distance
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Mount Perry (P) from Dantes View Peak

We had been expecting a poor use trail or even cross-country from here on but, as noted above, instead found a very easy to follow trail. We were aware, however, that we’d have to descend almost 1,000 feet from Dantes View Peak, then climb about 800 feet up to Perry, then regain that 1,000 feet on the way back.

Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Mount Perry (P), Schwaub Peak (S), Point 6015 (6), and Pyramid Peak (Py) from north of Dantes View Peak
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Descending the easy trail from Dantes View Peak

At the low point, the trail crosses a boulder field and this was the only spot where it got a little hard to follow – but there was a cairn here and there to help.

Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Crossing the boulder field

Past the boulder field, we came to where the trail climbs across a slope of biege-white rock, which is a striking contrast to the dark chocolate rock that forms Mount Perry.

Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
The white slope with chocolate Perry in the distance
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Climbing the white slope

Past the white rock, we reached the darker rock of Perry and the trail got a little steeper and rougher as it climbed to the summit ridge.

Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
The easy trail ends

By now, the cool morning was but a memory and the air temperature was heading toward the 90s. The earlier cooling breeze was now a warm one that was sucking the moisture out of us like a beef jerky maker. The LovedOne found a (small) piece of shade and said she’d wait while I pushed on to the summit.

Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Coming up short of the summit ridge
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
The old mining town of Ryan (arrow) from the ridge
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
The LovedOne (arrow) waits on the ridge

I got to within a half-mile of the summit before my common sense light came on – signaling that it was now quite hot, there was no shade, I had a quart of water left, and we had that 1,000-foot return climb waiting for us. So, leaving the “death” in Death Valley for someone else, I bailed, rejoined The LovedOne, and we started the walk back.

Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Heading back
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
The LovedOne (arrow) crossing the slope opposite the slope of white rock
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Still heading back

Going downhill in the cool morning had made us overlook the fact that the 1,000 feet we had to regain featured three false summits – The LovedOne was not amused.

Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Crossing one the false summits
Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Badwater (arrow), lowest point in North America (−279 feet (−85 m)), from the ridge

We got back to the trailhead just as our water ran out (but there was plenty more in the car). It may be cooler up at 5,000 feet but not cool enough. We’d have needed to start earlier and carry more water in order not to tempt fate. Even though we didn’t reach the top of Perry, the hike was excellent (OK, maybe not the false summits part) and the views were expansively extreme all along the way.

Dantes View Mount Perry Death Valley National Park California
Our track almost to Mount Perry

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