Badwater to Telescope Peak in Death Valley


The four of us piled out of the SUV for another predawn start in a pull-off on the side of the road. Shoes were tightened, trekking poles extended and packs were hefted (heavier than I had expected) as we prepared to walk out onto the flats. Not just any flats. These were the famed salt flats of Badwater in Death Valley National Park. A place of extreme terrain and extreme conditions. It’s was a comfortable 60-degrees as we headed out onto the salt before sunrise. The rugged evaporated lake was worn smooth by thousands of visitors who walked out a thousand feet for that obligatory selfie. Our trek would take us quite a bit further, up to the snow covered peak 20-miles distant. We could see that morning light already bathed the 11,048-foot summit of Telescope Peak, the highest in the Panamint Range and Death Valley National Park. We’d save our selfies for up there.

The vertical rise from Badwater (-282 ft) to Telescope Peak is one of the greatest on the planet. Add in some false summits and a roller-coaster ridgeline, we’d climb about 14,500 ft before it was all done. The purpose of this trek was to test and photograph the latest line of fabric from Polartec called Power Wool. Our team was outfitted in apparel from various brands made from the new material and were looking to put it through the ringer. The overnight trek did not disappoint. We started in the punishing salt flats, hiked through the heat up an endless canyon and finished post-holing through waist-deep snow to reach the summit. For this project to reach it’s objective, all the photo and video assets where captured on the go. There wasn’t time for setting up shots on this adventure, other than the occasional stop to let the photographer get ahead of the team.

Polartec and it’s brand partners will be featuring the work on their respective sites as well as various advertising for the apparel pieces (ads, hang tags, point of purchase). You can check out Polartec’s social media campaign currently on their platforms.

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