canyoneering

Micro Death Hollow, Escalante, Utah

At the beginning of May, our friend Sri came to visit Utah and proposed a weekend in Escalante. We jumped at the chance to take our new RV trailer out for a test run. We drove up on Friday night and found a fantastic dispersed RV camping area right off Hole in the Rock road. There were a number of RVs already there, but we had privacy and it was extremely quiet. The next morning we met up with some friends on a balmy day and headed into Micro Death Hollow, a great canyon with a scary name. This is a short canyon that definitely packs a punch, depending on water levels. Several members of our party did not have wetsuits, so we were hoping that conditions were not too wet but planned for an early exit via the sneak route if needed. No permits are needed and beta [...]

By |2024-07-09T22:22:09+00:00May 5, 2024|canyoneer, remote canyon, Utah|0 Comments

Averett Canyon and Willis Creek Slot Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, Utah

Water in the desert is a magical occurrence, especially if it’s fresh and flowing. One of our more pleasant local hikes on a lazy spring day is Willis Creek Slot Canyon, located right off Skutumpah Road in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Specific information on how to find the trailhead is available here: Willis Creek Narrows | Easy Slot Canyon Hike | Visit Utah. Unlike most of our adventures, this is a family-friendly hike, appropriate for all ages, walking down a mostly flat, gently flowing creek. There are three sets of narrows to see, spanning a little over a mile each way. If you venture to the end of the third narrows, you will find yourself at the confluence with Averett Canyon, the other subject of this post. Willis Creek holds a special place in our hearts as it was the first slot canyon we ever entered, many years [...]

By |2024-06-06T03:26:41+00:00April 14, 2024|hike, hikeaneer, Utah|0 Comments

Portal Canyon, Virgin River Gorge, Arizona

The Virgin River Gorge, known as the VRG, is a place of transitions and contradictions. It is the intersection of the Colorado Plateau and the Mojave Desert, between sandstone and limestone, between an incredibly arid climate and the Virgin River flowing through it, between remote wilderness and nearby civilization. Located between St. George and Mesquite, the VRG is accessed through I-15, one of the most expensive highway projects ever constructed. This section of highway is a challenging drive in the best of conditions due to an extremely curvy road, small shoulders and surprisingly high speeds. Add in high winds or darkness and the fact that there is no cell signal in most of the Gorge and the drive can become somewhat nerve-wracking. There are several technical canyons in the VRG, accessible through small pullouts off I-15, if you know where to look. This area is popular in the winter [...]

By |2024-06-05T05:04:10+00:00April 7, 2024|arizona, canyoneer|0 Comments

Rim Shot, Moab, Utah

It was the last Sunday of March, and we woke up to a blizzard. We were staying in Monticello for the weekend to meet up with friends and run some canyons in Moab. The day before, Mike Bilotta had taken us through the incredible Fiery Furnace. Today, the weather forecast was extremely iffy but supposed to be clearing up around 11am. We ate breakfast and packed up to head to Moab. The canyon we had selected for Sunday, Rim Shot, was short and open, more of a cliffaneering route than a canyon, with very low risk of flash flooding. No permits are required for this canyon and beta is available here: Rim Shot - ropewiki. We convened with our party at 11am in a parking lot along the highly scenic Colorado River corridor. As soon as we arrived, the weather decided to really pick up and give it one [...]

By |2024-06-03T03:44:25+00:00March 31, 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

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
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