Dark Shadow Canyon, Death Valley NP, CA

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 |2024-06-06T00:06:53+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

Secret Canyon, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

On Thanksgiving morning, our friend Bart Knox joined us for a short canyon outside of Las Vegas in the Black Canyon area called Secret Canyon. There are a couple of interesting things about Secret Canyon in particular. Like many canyons in this area, Secret ends at the Colorado River and has geothermal activity in the lower section by the river. We weren’t sure if the pools were going to be deep enough for a soak but wanted to check the place out. It was going to be an interesting day either way, because the only way out of the canyon is either by kayak or ascending two rappels back up the way we came. Always a good time for skills practice! No permit is required for this canyon. Beta and a map of the route is located at: Secret Canyon (Nevada) - ropewiki. If you are interested in packrafting [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:29:22+00:00November 23, 2023|canyoneer, nevada|0 Comments

Boy Scout Canyon, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

Every once in a great while, I get to see a place so beautiful and unexpected that it takes my breath away. This was definitely the case on our trip to Boy Scout Canyon, a hidden gem outside of Las Vegas, in the Black Canyon area, where we went mid-November of last year. Luke Murray put together a large group for this Sunday outing. Max and Chelsea Heveran and I were visiting from out of state, and we got to meet some local canyoneers, which was very fun. To give you an idea of how unusual this outing was going to be, my packing list for the day included the normal hiking clothes, my canyoneering gear, a warm hat, jacket and fleece, along with sandals, a bathing suit and towel. Talk about packing for all seasons! This canyon does not require any permits and can also be done as [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:33:06+00:00November 12, 2023|canyoneer, nevada|0 Comments

Mud Spring Canyon, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada

When the temperatures drop, it’s time to head south-west! Around mid-November it felt like time to head to Las Vegas and connect with some of our canyoneering buddies and meet more of the wonderful Las Vegas canyoneering community. The first canyon we descended was my old nemesis, Mud Spring, located in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. You see, about three years ago, Max and I descended this fine canyon, just the two of us, and as a canyoneer I was as green as a Brussel sprout. It was probably the 10th canyon that we had ever done and this was before we realized we could go out with other people who knew what they were doing. We were on vacation in Las Vegas and had previously done Ghost Rider and Keyhole, which are totally appropriate for beginners. Mud Spring is a considerable step up from these canyons [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:30:59+00:00November 11, 2023|canyoneer, nevada|0 Comments

High Spur Canyon, Utah

The next canyon in our remote canyon series is not only very remote, but also extremely beautiful and has been compared to the famous Antelope Canyon in Arizona. High Spur is barely a technical canyon, with only a couple big downclimbs and one rappel at the very end. It’s also possible to hike down most of the canyon and then hike back up, but it would be a pretty long day. Full beta is available here: High Spur Canyon - ropewiki. The road to High Spur is quite long and bumpy. The first leg is a 50-mile drive on pretty well graded roads to the Hans Flat Ranger Station in Canyonlands National Park. This is one of the most remote ranger stations in the lower 48 and the rangers seem very happy to see people! Our party for the day consisted of Shawn Bagci and Maggie Mahoney. Shawn drove [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:41:22+00:00October 24, 2023|canyoneer, hikeaneer, remote canyon, Utah|0 Comments

Fire Canyon, Capitol Reef NP, Utah

In mid-October, Max and I headed to Capitol Reef NP for the Wasatch Mountain Club Canyoneering Rendezvous. There, we led canyons for three days and got to reconnect with old friends and met some new folks as well. On our first day, we led one of our favorite routes – Fire Canyon and Cassidy Arch. Fire Canyon is not as well-known as many surrounding canyons, mostly due to its location far from any trailhead, which requires a long hike in and out. The route starts at the Cassidy Arch trail, goes all the way up to the top of the trail and continues up the Frying Pan trail until it’s time to descend into the canyon. Fire Canyon is located right in the middle between Cassidy Arch and the Cohab (Wife) canyons. The entire route, car to car, is about 9 miles with 2,500 feet elevation gain for the [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:43:22+00:00October 19, 2023|canyoneer, Utah|0 Comments

Scorpion Canyon, Death Valley NP, California

  Right before Christmas, Max and I drove down to Death Valley NP for a few days of R&R (defined as canyoneering for four days straight!). While Seattle and the rest of the country was in the grips of ice and snow, we enjoyed 60+ degree days in the lowest place in the United States. The last time we had been in Death Valley was in 2016, on our second trip. We did most of the popular drives and hikes around the park, and even stayed at the famous Furnace Creek Inn. This time around, our goal was to get an introduction to the technical canyons of Death Valley. There are actually hundreds of canyons in the Death Valley area, and many of them have just been explored for the first time in the past few years. This fact makes Death Valley a canyoneering hot spot in the winter [...]

By |2024-03-21T02:27:56+00:00December 23, 2022|california, canyoneer|0 Comments
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