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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : California

11.9 miles (19.1 km) E of Aberdeen, Inyo, CA, USA
Approx. altitude: 2342 m (7683 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 37°S 62°E

Accuracy: 4.0 km (2.5 mi)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Etrex Vista reading from 2.5 miles showing distance. #3: Etrex Vista reading from 2.5 miles showing location. #4: The view to the east, looking back to Waucoba Spring. #5: Picture of me. #6: Picture of my wife René.

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  37°N 118°W (visit #3) (incomplete) 

#1: This is the confluence from 2.5 miles.  It looks like it's just over the ridge in the center of the picture.

(visited by Richard Smith)

09-Oct-2001 -- On Monday the 8th, my wife René and I drove from Death Valley into Saline Valley via the Racetrack Valley Road and the rugged Lippencott Mine Road. We car-camped in the Waucoba Spring area near 37°N 117°56'30" W.

On Tuesday the 9th, we woke up around 7:30AM and set out on the hike. We started about half a mile north of Waucoba Wash (which almost exactly lines up with 37N). We followed some old 4WD trails and then hiked cross-country over a few low hills, looking for the best path to use to start working our way into the canyon. After about half an hour and two thirds of a mile we stopped to see how we were doing. The canyon entrance was about half a mile away to the west. Unfortunately, it was obvious to both myself and René that we had underestimated the difficulty of this hike. We had failed to bring heavy-duty hiking boots, or a first-aid kit, or sufficient water (we were sharing a one-quart bottle for a six mile desert hike).

Both me and René were already pretty tired, and we were starting to realize that this hike was really going to kick our butts. Now my wife and I normally like this sort of thing on local Bay Area hikes, but the problem is that we were in one of the most remote wilderness areas in California. This was not some Sunday stroll where we could overdo it, then just drive home and crash out. What would be a minor nuisance on a local hike could cost us dearly out here. Since neither of us wanted something like that on our conscience we chose to turn back even though we were just 2.5 miles from the confluence point.

We got back to the truck and drove north out of Saline Valley. The north way out is much more passable (and scenic, according to my wife) then the south way. In fact it's probably do-able without 4WD as long as you have decent clearance and good tires. We were having lunch in Big Pine by around 12:30, and drove home to the Bay Area via the beautiful drive along Highway 120 through Yosemite.

René and I are hoping to try this again, perhaps as soon as November. First we need to upgrade our gear and go on a few conditioning hikes in the Bay Area. With any luck we will try again over Thanksgiving weekend. This time we'll do both the approach and exit from Big Pine because it can be done in two hours which makes a single-day hike do-able as long as you get a hotel room in Big Pine or Bishop.

If anyone wants to try to get there before us, they have my blessing. Just be sure that you and your vehicle are both in good condition. All the rules that apply to cross-country desert hiking apply to this trip. As far as I know nobody has met with injury or worse during a confluence hike, and I don't want to see 37N 118W be the first to claim someone. Please feel free to contact me via email if you'd like more info on this hike and I'll be happy to give you all the information I have.


 All pictures
#1: This is the confluence from 2.5 miles. It looks like it's just over the ridge in the center of the picture.
#2: Etrex Vista reading from 2.5 miles showing distance.
#3: Etrex Vista reading from 2.5 miles showing location.
#4: The view to the east, looking back to Waucoba Spring.
#5: Picture of me.
#6: Picture of my wife René.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)