Monday, September 28, 2009

Stages 3 and 4 Preview

  • Stage 3: This is the Queen stage. Just north of Trona (mile 160) there is a 1000 foot climb up the Trona Bump (Mountain Section Four); the descent from there into the Panamint Valley is winding and may be fast with a tailwind. Some of the road ahead is very rough, and hard to believe it used to much worse. At mile 200 you'll begin the 13 mile, 3800 feet
    climb up Townes Pass (El 4956') (Mountain Section Five). The climb up to 2000 feet is gentle, then there are steep grades of 10-13% to 4000 feet; the last few miles are gradual. It will be chilly at the top and you have a fast 17-mile, 5000 foot descent to Stovepipe Wells, where it may be hot! Desert rollers take you to Furnace Creek. Unfortunately we will not be staying at the Furnace Creek Ranch for some much needed sleep.

  • Stage 4: South through Death Valley, the alluvial fans are invisible in the dark, but you climb and descend several thousand feet through Badwater (El -282') to the base of the exit passes (Mountain Section Six). The first climb starts at mile 300 and climbs about 1000 feet in five miles to Jubilee (El 1285'). A one-mile descent leads to the next climb, about 2300 feet in 9.5 miles to Salsberry (El 3315'). Each climb has sustained sections of 5-7% grade and usually poor road surface; in fact, all of the road is terrible after you pass Badwater.

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