Pit of Despair, Death Valley Canyoneering
Sunday's adventure was to be my fourth canyon in the Princess Bride Range, the Pit of Despair. Fun little canyons over here, in a steep but not too high limestone mountain range. We drove out that way, parked the car on the berm, hiked up the fan. It is a bit of a walk over to the base of the mountain, a slow trudge up the alluvium. But the temps were nice so, trudge we did. Today's team included Abby Wines, Mike Cressman and Ray Regaldo, and added Alyson Heare, a Parkie friend of Abby's. And me.
After the trudge, we hike up the cross valley to the steep spot. Up the steep loose slope, then up the easier ridge above to the summit of ... Princess Peak? A brief rest and enjoyment of the view and off we go. At least, I go off, and of course, without my camera... thus the summit selfie without me. Down around the side to the head of the canyon, and in. A bit of a downclimb... a rappel or two... the normal Death Valley scene.
We go down. There is water in the pits, which we avoid. No despair occurs, except perhaps at the shoddy anchor rigging. We rebuild anchors. Find better in a few spots. Extend some out. Rappel onward. Pull ropes. Maybe stick one or two, here and there, but not for long... Alyson being the newbie, she got to rig many of the anchors, and a fine job she did. And then we hiked out.
After a full day of canyoneering, the drive home is brutal. Various sound possibilities were punched up on the iPhone. The French Revolution (at Revolutions Podcast) was finished. Then some others. Various stimulative liquids were consumed. The eyes stayed open. By 1 am, I had made it to Virgin Utah, so I pulled over at the overlook and plopped down for 7 hours sleep. A fine snooze it was.