Saturday, March 9, 2013

Avoiding the Big Sleep in Coffin Canyon

Coffin canyon is a somewhat popular technical canyoneering route in Death Valley National Park. We had made the trip to do the canyon earlier in the season but deferred due to rain. So when we returned in March, well it rained. We weren't in any real danger of getting flash flooded but it did get our attention.

On a comical side note, as we walked out of the desert looking like a couple drowned rats there was a full on movie set going on "exactly" around our parked vehicle. Complete with flashing CHP lights. I thought, " This certainly can't be a SAR operation...can it??" Turns out they were filming some kind of insurance commercial. Never have recognized it on TV. There go's our one shot at stardom.

Joannie videoed the hike up and descent.

Approach follows the foreground ridge
When we returned after the canyon we were surrounded by movie trailers, and CHP!

Joannie climbing the ridge

Looking back towards badwater

The top. Very windy

Looking down into where we are going
The colors of upper Coffin Canyon

Starting to rain as we walked down canyon.

Interesting side slot

Going under

The first rappel. Getting wet.

Setting up the big 190 ft rappel.

Joannie video's my descent.

Rope retrieval. We used a rappel line line with a retriever line system. Notice the rain/no rain line on the ground and to which side I am standing.  :)

Looking back up the big rappel

Warm, dry, happy, back in the camper.

Minor flooding back at Furnace Creek

Morning saw snow on the bordering mountains

And looking for Pup fish in Salt Creek