The imageis a scan and isn't that interesting except for the butte itself, but that is best at the end of the day. The butte is in a remote part of death valley and the area is the place of a mystery:
In short 4 germans vanished here from the face of the earth and were never seen again or longer:
For a record 40 straight days in the summer of 1996, the temperature soared above 120 degrees As inhospitable as it was, four German tourists drove their rented minivan into it in late July of that year - and vanished. German architect Egbert Rimkus, 34, his girlfriend, Cornelia Meyer, 28, his 10-year-old son Georg Weber, and Meyer's son Max, 4, are still listed as missing," said Inyo County sheriff's Sgt. Jim Jones, who participated in the original search. "The investigation is still open."
The 4 tourists drove south and then west in their 1996 Plymouth Voyager van, heading toward the stark Panamint Mountains. For the van, the trail through rugged Warm Spring Canyon into Butte Valley "was definitely not a safe road,", The canyon road road ascends to an abandoned mining camp at an elevation of about 2,500 feet. Known for his adventurous spirit, Rimkus must have found the drive to the camp an exciting adventure, according to people who knew him.
"Egbert stopped here and left an entry in the log book that is kept in a steel box atop a short metal post." In German, it read, "7-23-96. Conny Egbert Georg Max. We are going through the pass." Rimkus probably was referring to Mengel Pass , near 7,196-foot-high Manly Peak on the southwest border of Death Valley National Park.
After stopping at the cabin, the minivan turned about a mile short of the pass and headed east along a sandy wash into remote Anvil Spring Canyon.
(from own experience I know that that road was not drivable fro a minivam, altough Charles Manson and his gang made it up that way in a Schoolbus)
Investigators familiar with the disappearance of the foursome are puzzled why they would have chosen to travel into such an isolated area.
In late July 1996, records maintained by the National Weather Service show that temperatures in Death Valley reached 124 and 125 degrees. For the unwary or overconfident visitor, the scorched valley can be a dangerous and even deadly place.
"It has been claimed there is no other spot so forbidding, so desolate, so deadly," writes Richard Lingenfelter in his classic 1986 book "Death Valley and the Amargosa A Land of Illusion."
"On an average summer day in Death Valley, you can lose over two gallons of water just sitting in the shade; hiking in the sun, you can lose twice as much!
Chances of anyone surviving in Death Valley without adequate water and shade were "about zero after three days."
In Dresden, Germany, the families and friends of the four tourists had expected them to return home by July 29. But their reserved seats aboard a Transworld Airways flight were empty.
When they did not arrive, Heike Weber Rimkus' ex-wife and Georg's mother went to the travel agency that arranged the foursome's trip to find out what had happened to them. The agency then inquired if the minivan rented by Rimkus and Meyer in Los Angeles had been returned.
It had not. Dollar Rent-a-Car in Los Angeles said the van was overdue.
The rental agent said the minivan would be reported as stolen if it wasn't returned within 30 days. On Sept. 10, a stolen-vehicle report was filed by Dollar Rent-a-Car with Los Angeles police.
"At this point, no one knew where (the four tourists) had gone," "The last anyone in Germany had heard from them was a fax that Rimkus had sent from the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas. In it he had asked Heike Weber to send money.
"That was the last contact. The money was not sent."
On Aug. 14, Interpol listed the four Germans as missing persons. "No one had any idea what had happened to them until Oct. 26, 1996," On that day, Park Ranger Dave Brenner was taking part in an aerial surveillance mission in a military helicopter over Death Valley's remote southern border. Below, apparently stuck in the wash at Anvil Spring Canyon, he spotted a green Plymouth van. Three of its four tires were flat. Brenner reported the find to the California Highway Patrol, which confirmed the van had been reported as stolen.
But there was no sign of the four German tourists. Until today it remains a mystery!
Barbara Elerick 12/05/2006 6:39A mysterious story ! My main question would be why anyone would want to drive into this inhospitable area in a 125 degrees heat! Something is fishy. The picture is great and I thank you for sharing it and the story.
Indrani Novello 11/30/2006 21:42interesting story. And it chills me to think that I was in Death Valley only 2 months later that year! On my own in a rental car.... Luckily I've survived to tell the story!