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, 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

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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