trip in March

Have an upcoming trip? Post about it here! A great place to meet people with the same interests
Post Reply
MidwestDesertRat
Jayhawker
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 7:23 pm

trip in March

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:55 pm

Hi!

I am planning my trip out to DV this winter in a few weeks.. and I was hoping to get some information. Thx in advance. :)

1. I am going with a buddy this time and one of my main goals is to do the Fall Canyon first dry fall bypass and see the impressive narrows above it. The different reports I have seen are not clear on whether or not there are additional narrows once you are above the first dry fall and the canyon opens up once again. Is it a good turnaround point once the canyon opens up above the first dry fall? It seems like you are about 4 miles into the hike at that point.

2. Is there a bypass to the first dry fall in Grotto Canyon? The one that you arrive at right away and that I have seen described as the most difficult. I believe we will attempt it but a backup plan would be nice.

3. How difficult are the 2nd main falls of Darwin Falls to reach? I remember noticing where I thought the route to those falls started when I had almost reached the first falls but I did not attempt it. Varying trip reports describe it as anything from easy to too difficult to try. I do not mind a short exposed walk, but I would probably not attempt anything that would involve a difficult exposed scramble.

4. Specifically for Death Valley Dazed since you have an awesome video for this. :)
You make the Willow - Sidewinder cross-over look pretty straightforward. Is it just a matter finding the side canyon from Willow and then just walking the same direction up the hill, through a saddle and then back down into Sidewinder? On Google maps it looks like you just follow the side canyon and it will take you right there.

Thx!

User avatar
Gowergulch42
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 716
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:41 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: trip in March

Post by Gowergulch42 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:21 pm

I can't speak for the other things, but in the several times I've been up Grotto to the major dry fall (never attempted a bypass), we climbed up the initial falls, which allows access to a lovely little pulpit between falls. It was a challenging climb, and some of the others were as well, and we were lucky to have experienced climbers (and ropes/helmets) when we went. There is a kind of bypass on the south east side of the canyon (when facing upstream, the left side) in the form of a side-wash that drops you above a loose scree slope that drops you into the main canyon. You can see it on satellite imagery. It's a little hairy, but it works if you're careful. You could get cliffed-out if you do it wrong.

Darwin Falls' upper reaches are extremely treacherous. Unless you are an expert talus/scree/exposure champion with no fear, it's a no-go. I made it about half-way once before chickening out. Be very careful if you do go.
Check out my reports and informative ramblings at http://dvexplore.blogspot.com

TrailHound
Grubstaker
Posts: 231
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 1:22 pm

Re: trip in March

Post by TrailHound » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:41 am

www.panamintcity.com is a good resource on Fall Canyon if you have not already found it

User avatar
blackturtle.us
Jayhawker
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:24 pm

Re: trip in March

Post by blackturtle.us » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:57 am

Gowergulch42 wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:21 pm
Darwin Falls' upper reaches are extremely treacherous. Unless you are an expert talus/scree/exposure champion with no fear, it's a no-go. I made it about half-way once before chickening out. Be very careful if you do go.
I completely disagree. Not that I wish to be disagreeable, but I don't like exaggerating dangers either. I'm a realist. Darwin Falls might be moderately dangerous, but not treacherous. I'm a complete chicken when it comes to exposure, but Darwin Falls doesn't even cause me the slightest bit of concern. Also Darwin Falls can be accessed from the top. Just drive a few miles in and park near China Garden and hike down the canyon. There are some tricky parts, but nothing more than moderately dangerous. Either way it's possible to fall and hurt yourself, but I've see eight-year-olds get to the upper falls from the top and the bottom and consider it all an easy and fun hike.

User avatar
Gowergulch42
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 716
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:41 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: trip in March

Post by Gowergulch42 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:15 pm

It's probable I took the wrong trail, but what I did was absolutely as dangerous as described.
Check out my reports and informative ramblings at http://dvexplore.blogspot.com

User avatar
netllama
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 506
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:59 pm
Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: trip in March

Post by netllama » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:27 pm

blackturtle.us wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:57 am
Gowergulch42 wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:21 pm
Darwin Falls' upper reaches are extremely treacherous. Unless you are an expert talus/scree/exposure champion with no fear, it's a no-go. I made it about half-way once before chickening out. Be very careful if you do go.
I completely disagree. Not that I wish to be disagreeable, but I don't like exaggerating dangers either. I'm a realist. Darwin Falls might be moderately dangerous, but not treacherous. I'm a complete chicken when it comes to exposure, but Darwin Falls doesn't even cause me the slightest bit of concern. Also Darwin Falls can be accessed from the top. Just drive a few miles in and park near China Garden and hike down the canyon. There are some tricky parts, but nothing more than moderately dangerous. Either way it's possible to fall and hurt yourself, but I've see eight-year-olds get to the upper falls from the top and the bottom and consider it all an easy and fun hike.
Not sure that I'd use 8 year olds as the standard for rational behavior. They're fearless, and only learn from their mistakes.

MidwestDesertRat
Jayhawker
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 7:23 pm

Re: trip in March

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:02 am

Thanks for the info guys.

I had not considered approaching upper Darwin Falls from the top. Is that road 4wd to get to China Garden? Is that a safer / easier route to get to the upper falls? I am somewhat chicken too when it comes to exposure as well and tend to play it pretty safe. My 8yo self would probably have had less fear on doing something like that than my current self. :)

I suppose I could try from both the bottom and the top if the top is reachable by car w/o 4wd.

User avatar
blackturtle.us
Jayhawker
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:24 pm

Re: trip in March

Post by blackturtle.us » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:01 am

China Garden probably requires 4x4 or at least high clearance. It's longer to get there via the town of Darwin than coming up from the Darwin Falls parking lot, but the trip up from the parking lot and down into China Garden has a few moderately rough spots that at least require high clearance. As for the hike down versus the hike up, it's about the same difficulty either way. You're more likely to need to get wet coming down though. During the summer that's great, but not so great during the winter or early spring!

User avatar
blackturtle.us
Jayhawker
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:24 pm

Re: trip in March

Post by blackturtle.us » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:08 am

netllama wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:27 pm
Not sure that I'd use 8 year olds as the standard for rational behavior. They're fearless, and only learn from their mistakes.
I didn't think I was making a point regarding "rational behavior." I was thinking in terms of physical ability and relative danger. I don't think the route is too dangerous for eight-year-olds and would not hesitate to take a normal eight-year-old on the route up to the falls. A little coaching might be required and it might be necessary to assist some eight-year-olds in a couple spots, but nothing that I'd consider beyond the physical capabilities of a normal eight-year-old. [NOTE: Of course, the new normal is for kids to spend most of their free time playing video games and so physical coordination and stamina might not be what it used to be.]

User avatar
TacoLand
Grubstaker
Posts: 245
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:00 am
Location: Northern Nev.

Re: trip in March

Post by TacoLand » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:29 pm

4. Specifically for Death Valley Dazed since you have an awesome video for this. :)
You make the Willow - Sidewinder cross-over look pretty straightforward. Is it just a matter finding the side canyon from Willow and then just walking the same direction up the hill, through a saddle and then back down into Sidewinder? On Google maps it looks like you just follow the side canyon and it will take you right there.
If you're going to do this one, make sure you have good directions or a mapping program. I made a bypass from Willow to Sidewinder many years ago, before I started using GPS tracks on my iPhone, and this whole experience was specifically why I adopted GPS tracks. An old girlfriend and I totally missed the correct / easier / first bypass, and ended up doing a talus scree scramble from Hell. Well, I thought it was fun at the time, but once we got out of our jam after a very long time and difficult scramble – and realized we were WAY above Sidewinder Canyon with another difficult hike to get down to the proper canyon – she went ballistic due to the stress. I recently compared my photos to Google Earth and we were WAY off track. Ended up in this whole jam because I figured it'd be pretty straightforward and didn't have great notes at the time, and instead let my "intuition" lead the way. Ha!

I'm going to be tackling this again in mid-March ... with GPS coordinates this time. So, assuming you hit the right saddle, it's super easy and a neat way to loop the two canyons. Have fun!

MidwestDesertRat
Jayhawker
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 7:23 pm

Re: trip in March

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:20 pm

I'll make sure to get the gps info from Google Earth for the crossover from Willow Creek to Sidewinder. If I see anyone making that crossing while I am, I'll assume its you Tacoland. I will also assume based on your name that you will have tacos with you. :)

Post Reply