Pyramid Peak and Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point

Death Valley National Park, CA

Info

Distance13.3 mi
Elevation gain5,600 ft
Route typeLoop
Duration7.5 h
CruxClass 3
Quality8/10

Peaks bagged

1
Pyramid Peak(DPS, Zdon)6,703 ft / Prom. 3,703 ft

2
Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point(CaWHP)5,320 ft / Prom. 1,320 ft

DPS — Desert Peaks SectionZdon — Andy Zdon's Desert SummitsCaWHP — California Wilderness High Points

Report

After hiking Eagle Mountain and Brown Peak in the morning, I drove north past the ghost town of Amargosa to a free campground known as The Pads, which consists of dozens of large concrete slabs suitable for RVs and campers. The next morning, I departed my campsite by foot, crossing Highway 190 en route to a northwesterly wash bisecting Pyramid Peak and Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point. The original plan was to climb Pyramid Peak by itself, but motivated by good weather and a pesky fear of missing out, I decided to extend my outing and bag Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point as well.

After climbing Pyramid Peak, I returned to the wash and turned left into a tributary drainage, which I followed up to the western ridge of Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point. The ridge crest itself was cliffy, but I was able to keep it mostly Class 2 by dropping down to one side or the other. I skirted around a false summit before climbing the final 300 feet to the true summit, which lies about 0.1 miles northeast of the point marked on the USGS topo. On the descent, I plunged down a scree bowl on the east face, funneling into a long gully. Once back in the open desert, I followed a direct line back toward the campground, concluding my rather spontaneous midweek trip to the eastern edge of Death Valley.

From Highway 190, heading through the open desert toward a northeasterly wash bisecting Pyramid Peak (left) and Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point (right).
Inside the wash.
Staying left at a fork in the wash toward Pyramid Peak, top left.
Starting up the slope at the terminus of the wash.
Picking up a use trail.
View back.
Approaching a saddle along Pyramid Peak's east ridge.
At the saddle, view back.
From the saddle, the route continues up the slope on the left.
Class 2.
Colorful ridgeline.
Approaching a minor saddle.
Steep and loose slope.
The trail bends toward the small gully on the left (where the black rock meets the red rock).
Inside the gully. I avoided the scree via the slabs on the right.
View back.
Dropping into another saddle.
View back toward the saddle.
The trail stays to the left of the jagged ridgeline.
View back at the cliffs along the ridge.
The trail crosses over to the right side of the ridge. Pyramid Peak's summit is visible ahead.
Low Class 2.
Pyramid Peak's summit ahead.
Pyramid Peak summit. View southwest.
Closeup on the snowy Telescope Peak.
View north. Schwaub Peak is on the left.
Closeup of colorful rock layers to the north.
View back down the ascent ridge. Funeral Mountains Wilderness is on the left. The campground is far below on the right.
Returning to the wash between Pyramid Peak and Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point.
From the wash, I turned left into this tributary, headed east toward Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point.
Staying right at a fork in the drainage.
The drainage never exceeded Class 2.
View back toward Pyramid Peak.
Exiting the drainage around 4,200 feet for the slope on the right.
Looking back down the drainage as I make my way up the slope.
Near the eastern ridge of Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point, another view back toward Pyramid Peak.
On top of the eastern ridge of Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point. A false summit is seen top-right.
View back along the ridge.
The ridge crest was exposed, so I dropped down to easier terrain on the left.
Cliffy outcrop along the ridge, bypassed via the Class 2 slope on the left.
View back down the ascent drainage.
Another cliffy outcrop. Again, I stayed to the left.
On top of the second cliffy outcrop. From here, I crossed over to the right side of the ridge and climbed the scree slope, seen center.
Stretch of easier terrain.
Brief section of Class 3 along the ridge crest.
Looking back after the Class 3 section.
From on top of the Class 3 section, view toward the cliffy false summit.
Climbing a loose slope to gain the ridge just south of the false summit.
View back from just below the false summit.
Skirting around the false summit to the right, Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point's true summit comes into view.
Dropping into the saddle on the left.
At the saddle, starting the final climb to the summit of Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point.
View back.
Standing at the point marked Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point on the topo. However, the mound on the left is certainly taller.
Passing the descent chute on the right as I traverse to the higher mound.
Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point summit. View northeast. The descent chute is on the left.
View west toward Pyramid Peak.
Starting down a chute on the east face of Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point.
Entering a bowl comprised of scree.
View back up the bowl.
Plunging my way down the scree slope, following a distinct use trail.
View back up the scree slope from the bottom.
Class 2 gully.
View back up the gully.
Exiting the gully to the right.
Inside the wash to the east of Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point.
View back at Funeral Mountains Wilderness High Point from the wash.
Following the drainage ahead.
A large, 20-foot dry fall within the drainage, bypassed via the slope on the right.
Walking through the open desert on the way back to the campground.

Nearby trips

Eagle Mountain
Eagle Mountain
3.6 mi1,800 ft2 hr
Brown Peak
Brown Peak
6.8 mi2,200 ft3.5 hr