Dantes to Badwater

Our first canyoneering adventure!
After trying for several seasons now, we finally got the opportunity to hang out with a park ranger friend and his wife doing one of the coolest things we've ever done. They have gotten into canyoneering (going down a canyon by hiking, down-climbing, and rappelling) a bunch in the last year, so they took Andrew and I and two of their friends down Coffin Canyon and Sticks Canyon all the way to the valley floor, south of Badwater, from Dantes View (over 5,000 ft.).
What an incredible day!!!

A storm began moving through this day and when we started out at 7am at a Dantes parking area it was snowing!

Going down...

The first rappel was about 45 ft.

This was the connecting wash from Coffin to Sticks Canyon.

Group photo

This was an overhanging rappel. So many of these rappels made you realize that you can only go one way in this canyon (and so many others), but that is down, safely, with ropes and harnesses. There is no going up these dry waterfalls. Which also made you think and realize that if you got stuck in one of these canyons, couldn't go down or up, for whatever reason (rope wasn't long enough, bad anchor, not able to build an anchor, etc.) you are plain stuck. No going back the other way, no going down, no cell service...I don't know how a rescue would be possible, maybe lowering a rope from a helicopter. Thank goodness we have our Spot beacon that runs on satellite and we were with experienced people who have done this exact route before.
What a rush the whole day was!

Down climbing

We found a very old double-sided mining pick in the canyon. The company name on it, Washoe, was recognized and said to have been a company from back east. This tool was probably brought out here in the 1800s. Very cool! How did those people get through this canyon? And how long did it take them?
All in all, we did 16 rappels many meat anchored rappels (using Jay as an anchor and rappelling off him). It took us about 12 hours. Several of the rappels were 80-90+ ft. long. Our last few rappels were done in the dark which was pretty cool also. We had such an amazing day! We plan on doing it again soon in a different canyon.