Krill and Lomatium Canyons, Arches NP, Utah

Imagine, if you will, a vast maze composed of red sandstone spires, deep vertical cracks, ramps and fins taking you up and down what look like blind passages, incredible arches and ancient juniper trees lifting their branches to the sky. This, my friends, is the famous Fiery Furnace, located in Arches NP near Moab. The Fiery Furnace is one of the most popular hikes in Arches and requires a permit that can be obtained one week in advance. Permits are available at: Self-Guided Fiery Furnace Exploration - Arches, Arches National Park Tours -, at 8am MDT. These permits go very fast, usually within a few minutes, so if you want one, plan on being at your computer at 8am MDT. Permits need to be picked up in person at the Arches Visitor Center the day of or day before your hike, which includes watching an informative video and [...]

By |2024-05-09T03:55:38+00:00March 30, 2024|canyoneer, Utah|0 Comments

Soap Creek, Grand Canyon, Arizona

Soap Creek is a thoroughly delightful canyon, located in Marble Canyon, Arizona. This short and engaging canyon has it all – a fantastic approach (straight off a parking lot), gorgeous views, interesting and beautiful rappels and a challenging scramble back to the car. This canyon requires a short shuttle, with the entry in a large parking lot next to Cliff Dwellers Lodge off Highway 89A. The drainage starts immediately next to the parking lot, with a few minutes’ walk under a bridge that crosses the highway. Beta is available here: Soap Creek Canyon - ropewiki. No permits are required. When we did this canyon in mid-March, there was water flowing all throughout the wash, which made for a very fun day. When we started out that morning, it was cold and windy, so we were very much interested in not getting wet if possible, but we still brought our [...]

By |2024-05-09T04:00:02+00:00March 10, 2024|arizona, canyoneer, grand canyon|0 Comments

Lower Waterholes Canyon, Grand Canyon, Arizona

On a cold morning in mid-March we pulled up to a small pullout on Highway 89 in Arizona above the entrance to the Lower Waterholes Canyon slot. Our group of seven was present and accounted for. Our friend Chelsea had obtained the permits needed from the Navajo Nation to descend Lower Waterholes. A boat would arrive to pick us up at 4pm down at the beach on the Colorado River. All our clocks were synchronized, all our plans ready for the big rappel sequence. It was go time. As a side note, this canyon requires a permit from the Navajo Nation. More information can be found here: Waterholes Canyon (Lower) - ropewiki. Right on cue, a passerby pulled over and informed us there was a marathon happening that day, passing right through our parking spot, and that we couldn’t park there anyway. We had researched the parking situation, with [...]

By |2024-05-09T04:18:27+00:00March 9, 2024|arizona, canyoneer, grand canyon|0 Comments

Badger Canyon, Grand Canyon, Arizona

After five posts in a row about Death Valley, it’s time to move on to something completely different. Let’s talk about the Grand Canyon! There are a number of great technical canyons near Page, Arizona that we wanted to visit. The first canyon we explored was the North Fork of Badger Canyon with our niece Mira and our friends Mel Rader and Kieran Corrigan. It was wonderful of Mel and Kieran to take the day off and play with us. Badger is a short canyon that is easily accessible from US 89A in Marble Canyon, Arizona. From a pullout right by the highway, you can drop right into the canyon drainage. There are no permits required and beta is available here: Badger Canyon - ropewiki. To give you a brief overview, the north fork of Badger has four rappels and a short walk to the Colorado River. There are [...]

By |2024-05-09T04:18:47+00:00February 20, 2024|arizona, canyoneer, grand canyon|0 Comments

Grotto Canyon Layer Fork, Death Valley NP, California

The day after Styx, we thought we would up the ante a bit by making an attempt on Grotto Canyon (Layer Fork), located near Mosaic Canyon in the Stovepipe Wells area. We were waiting for our friends Chelsea and Vyonne at Stovepipe Wells Village when they pulled up with Tom Jones! Tom was at the Death Valley Rendezvous and decided to accept Chelsea’s invitation to join our group. I was secretly wondering if we all knew what we were getting into! Grotto Layer Fork is most definitely one of the best canyons we have been to in Death Valley so far (we have barely scratched the surface) but is a pretty high pay to play proposition. No permits are required, aside from park entry. Beta is found here: Grotto Canyon (South Fork, Death Valley) - ropewiki. The approach is a 3,400 foot climb up and up and up steep [...]

By |2024-04-27T00:25:02+00:00February 18, 2024|california, canyoneer|0 Comments

Styx Canyon (North Fork), Death Valley NP, California

In mid-February, our niece Mira came to visit us for her “reading week”. The request was for warm weather and a lot of desert. We did our best to oblige, although the weather forecast was uncertain at best. Death Valley was an obvious choice that met both of the requirements, with some caveats. The weekend prior to our trip, a strong storm had come through from California refilling Lake Manly and closing many of the roads in the park, including the road to Dante’s View. In addition, that weekend was the Death Valley Canyoneering Rendezvous, which brought a crowd of canyoneers to the park. Our plan was to do Styx Canyon North Fork, one of the classic canyons starting at Dante’s View and descending 6,000 feet to Badwater Basin. This was a great opportunity to invite our Vegas friends to come play with us along with Rick Kent who [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:18:24+00:00February 17, 2024|california, canyoneer|0 Comments

Miracle Max Canyon, Death Valley NP, CA

It was Christmas Day 2023 and Max and I were in the middle of a three-day power outage in Death Valley, comfortable in a rented trailer that was running on propane. We had done Typhon 4 the day before and our quads were shot from the 6,000-foot elevation loss. The obvious plan would be to take it easy 😊. Cue the laugh track. Rick Kent had a first descent of a canyon that he wanted to do, with a steep 3,000-foot elevation gain approach, so Max and most of the rest of our crew thought that was a great plan for a rest day. I decided that was a bit too much for my legs to take, so I joined a small group to explore Miracle Max Canyon, one of the lesser-visited canyons of the Princess Bride range. The Princess Bride range is a real outlier in the Death [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:20:06+00:00December 25, 2023|california, canyoneer|0 Comments

Typhon 4 Canyon, Death Valley NP, CA

Wow!!! There aren’t enough adjectives to describe the incredible Typhon 4 Canyon, located in Death Valley NP. This canyon descends a mind-blowing 6,000 feet, starting at Dante’s View Scenic Vista Point and ending below sea level near Badwater Basin. Dante’s View is a major sightseeing destination, especially at sunrise. An easy paved drive takes you right to the top of the overlook, where you can see a distinct set of mountains in each direction, framed by the amazing Lake Manly covering Badwater Basin. We did this canyon as part of a Christmas trip to Death Valley last year. As you can imagine, the canyon involves a lengthy shuttle, which is best set the night before if possible. There are no permits required, aside from the park entry fee. Bolting is not allowed in the park. We started right at sunrise, and it [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:22:20+00:00December 24, 2023|california, canyoneer|0 Comments

Dark Shadow Canyon, Death Valley NP, California

Dark Shadow Canyon is a seldom-visited technical canyon in Death Valley. Located in the Grapevine Mountains, Dark Shadow is one of seven canyons that are accessed from the Titus Canyon trailhead. This collection of canyons all descend into various parts of Fall Canyon, which is a popular non-technical hike in the park. Permits are not required, aside from paying the park entrance fee. Max and I did the Fall Canyon hike in 2009, years before we ever heard of canyoneering. At the time, I was struck not only by the beauty of the canyon and its blue-grey narrows, but also by the difficulty of walking uphill on loose gravel for three miles, until reaching an impassable dry fall and turning around. I think past me would have been in complete disbelief if someone had told her about Dark Shadow and its approach. Here are a couple photos of me [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:23:30+00:00December 23, 2023|california, canyoneer|0 Comments

Dothraki Canyon, Canaan Mountain Wilderness, Utah

Dothraki is a canyon veiled in myth and mystery. Located in the Canaan Mountain Wilderness, near Water Canyon, Dothraki is not a traditional canyon, but more of a vertical crack going straight down almost two thousand feet. Some of the myths about Dothraki involve the fearsome Dragon’s Back approach, the technical nature of the canyon, its history of sticking ropes, and the belief that this canyon can take more than 10 hours to complete. Although there is a grain of truth to these allegations, the canyon is not as fearsome as rumored. That being said, Dothraki is not a beginner canyon and should be attempted with a competent group. There are no permits required to access this canyon, but an SUV or better vehicle is recommended to get to the trailhead as the road is not always well graded. Full beta can be found here: Dothraki - ropewiki On [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:34:16+00:00December 3, 2023|canyoneer, Utah|0 Comments
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