The Second Descent of Big Horn Canyon

Where: Death Valley National Park
When: February 18, 2008
Partners: Rick Kent & Mike Schasch

CP with old growth barrel cactus

Me, Rick Kent and Mike Schasch again set out for the weekend's third exploratory canyon. This time over in the Panamints, we wandered up the steep approach to Big Horn Canyon. Eventually picking up a good mining trail, we were led down to the canyon bottom just above the first rappel, a beautiful 70-ft drop down a fluted narrows with an awkward start around a large boulder.
First rappel

Beyond, we encountered another 7 rappels, many of them rather interesting, and some stiff downclimbs. No rappels longer than 120 feet or so.
A funky traverse mid-canyon

An enjoyable canyon with an unlikelihood of full descents prior to ours. We found the remains of two rams in the canyon bottom.
Natural anchor opportunities abound

7.5 hours car-to car.
CP on rappel near the mouth of the canyon

*Initially believing we'd made the first descent of the canyon, in November 2008 we learned that Michelle Nilles had made the first descent (solo) on December 24, 2006. Doing so, she rappelled only 3 times, downclimbing the rest of the canyon. Remarkable!

Photos courtesy of Rick Kent