Some time ago we read an article in an archaeological journal about a tiny slot canyon in Death Valley that twists its way steeply upward into the mountains that guard its secret. The route up this canyon is slow and tortuous due to the many slick, steep dryfall chutes that require more than a passing acquaintance with ropes, harness, carabiners, wedges and cams. What's up this canyon that would justify such an expenditure of time, equipment and effort? The answer is three things: petroglyphs, pictographs and magic. It's one of those symbiotic relationships. The petros and pictos, by themselves, aren't really that fantastic and the canyon, by itself, is just another nasty twisting narrow defile that are a dime a dozen in Death Valley. Together, though, the magic is palpable.
After doing some major shivering in our sleeping bags last night, we were ready for some magic. Thanks to Dezdan, who as a Death Valley local now picks up all sorts of interesting information, we're going to visit "Z" Canyon. Of course that's not its real name, but you already figured that out. Dan, Guy and Micah have brought the climbing gear that we'll need, along with the patience to put up with those of us who are more vertically challenged. Micah, who will be doing the free climbing to rig the belays at the top of the chutes, has also brought his helmet and climbing shoes. Just thinking about this adventure has already warmed us up considerably!
We'll be packed up and ready to head out in just a few minutes, so if you want to come along you have just enough time to lash yourself into your chair and tie a bowline around your mouse before you start clicking on the photo link below.