Styx Canyon, Death Valley National Park
Styx Canyon is yet another BIG Death Valley Classic... does it ever end? I sure hope not. Ram's Death Valley Diary of the day available HERE (on the Canyons Group). Under threatening skies, early morning finds us up in the wind of Dante's View again, with Styx as the day's objective. We follow the instructions from Chris Brennan's Totally Excellent Adventure Hikes Website across the ridge, then down this slope into a canyon...
OK, OK. Guess I can't say EXACTLY the same thing EVERY day, but... today it was just Ram, Ryan and I in what Ram thought was the funnest canyon, Styx. The way Styx Canyon works, one (or three) clamber down into Coffin Canyon, then climb over a ridge to get into Styx.
Here’s some stuff in the upper section of Coffin Canyon, in a conglomerate section, or possibly just well-consolidated alluvial deposits.
Still a bit nippy when we climb to the pass to get into Styx. (Looking back into Coffin).
On the other side of the pass, we knew it was going to be HELLISH!!!
Well, at least, Styx-ish: soaring vocals, tearing guitars, with organ and piano...
Coming down through the conglomerate proper into Styx.
And down we go...
...into the main canyon. A pretty nice arch hanging up above us.
And my buddy Ram, who takes more joy on being in canyons than anyone I know (and competition IS fierce).
Lower in the canyon, the rock improved, and numerous short downclimbs were the entertainment for the day. We often do LAPAR or LAst Person At Risk - everyone raps off of one person, then that last downclimbs with help from below. And there is nothing more calming than having Ryan "The Crane" Hull as your assistance from below.
Here, The Crane does the catch and thigh belay whilst the Ram slides the drop.
One of the abundant plants is Eucnide urens, the Desert Rock Nettle, also called the Velcro Plant.
Here's a closeup. It sticks to everything. Gets on the ropes and the ropebags. Said to be painful, definitely obnoxious.
Ryan working out a downclimb.
Ram on the same. Look in the dictionary, under smooooth.
Maybe my best rap picture from the trip.
(Yes, the background of the valley and range across the way was dropped in from a different exposure of the same scene, cause the contrast was HUGE).
This is what a lot of the anchors in DV looked like - BIG cairns. In Hades and Styx, I suspect the canyons were done by The Ancients, which means B.C.B. (Before Chris Brennan) as pins pop up here and there. Rockpiles work great in DV.
And Ryan going over the edge.
And the 'backup' pin. Tossed out on the Canyons Group as an anchor quiz. Some discussion ensued.
Can we go home yet???