Never take anything but excellent-condition tires on some of the rough roads in Death Valley. Though some wear remained prior to entering Death Valley, 3 of 4 “All Terrain” (A/T) tires were destroyed by the sharp rocks somewhere along the way (Cottonwood & Marble canyons, Titus Canyon and the road to Eureka Dunes). I learned later that serious off-roaders use 10-ply tires, and that the Pirelli Scorpion A/T models are only 2-ply.
Four miles from Eureka Dunes, I swapped in the compact spare for the left rear tire, whose sidewall showed a 1" gash and 0 psi. The spare inflated without incident, and after reversing course, the right rear began to leak steadily two miles later, due to a sharp cut through the center of the tire. Adding 5-10 psi every 3-4 minutes for the next 40 miles and 4000' of elevation gain, I managed to nurse the tire to within eyeshot of the Eastern Sierra town of Big Pine, where a Verizon cell signal finally materialized, allowing a call to roadside assistance. The benefits of an air suspension and the built-in air hose should not be underestimated when considering an SUV! A flatbed-truck ride to a Bishop hotel finished out the evening.
The next morning (Wednesday) , I ordered four (4) new Pirelli Scorpion A/T tires at Bishop Automotive. The tires showed up early on Thursday, except that the fourth tire was the wrong size. I considered replacing just the rear tires, but inspection of the right front tire showed a 3/4" flap of rubber cut right down to the threads—not good. The 4th tire showed up at 1pm on Friday. Our vehicle now shod with new rubber, we zoomed uneventfully over to the Eureka Dunes and enjoyed a spectacular view of these magnificent dunes, sculpted by a yellow sun and brilliant blue sky.