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CA: Death Valley Rainbow Canyon

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Mountaineer, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    [​IMG]


    Over the Christmas break Elizabeth and I had the privilege to descend Rainbow Canyon. Even the drive is spectacular: climbing, going through a tunnel, and extended views.

    There are a couple of small pull off spots to park. After greeting another couple of canyoneers who were doing the same canyon that day, we were eventually soaking in sun and hiking in 60F temps.


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    The route is easy. You follow an old road to the wash, and then almost immediately come to the canyon head. There are three raps, or "step down climbs" that are sequenced fairly close together. Very different geology than what I am used to canyoneer in.


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    I could see where we parked for part of the way down. Lots of people would stop, and get out of their cars and mull around. I first thought there were a lot of canyoneers coming to do perhaps a popular route that day, but each party eventually got back in their vehicle and continued on with a confused look on their face. I suppose they were trying to figure out what they may be missing.

    After the raps, there is a bit more boulder hopping then a steep exit (not too bad) to climb and return back to the car. About 3 hours in all. We paused at the top of the exit for about an hour, to just soak in the view.


    [​IMG]
    french_de, ratagonia and Ram like this.
  2. Ram

    Ram

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    Love it. We had a large group go through too, several years ago. I found the climb out to be stiff in a place or two. Thanks for sharing.
    Mountaineer likes this.
  3. rick t

    rick t

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    been there, done that, not a bad little jaunt, but what a misnomer! Rainbow? Three or four reddish stripes on a gray wall? Have to assume that the first descenders did it in one of their rare rainfalls and that might have been an actual rainbow overhead. Hate to think that someone was so color impoverished that those walls inspired (?) that name.
  4. Ram

    Ram

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    Yeah well it is Death Valley and gray is often the color, although you can get some interesting gneiss and shiest. Marble too. A little rock art if you snoop around and there were those fighter jets coming up over the lip of the canyon at days end. Good fun
  5. skeeter

    skeeter A holed piston is just an ashtray

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    Location:
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    That looks like a good little short canyon jaunt. Reminds me off the stuff we have in Idaho.
    Mountaineer likes this.
  6. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Buzzed right over us as we were rapping down Darwin. Glad I recovered from the loud boom by keeping my brake hand on. :)
    Ram likes this.
  7. Ram

    Ram

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    We found some nice early AM light.

    [​IMG]
  8. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Excellent colors in that shot. Nice job.
  9. wisconnyjohnny

    wisconnyjohnny Stemming Minions

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    any chance of water in this canyon ever? any notable dangers?
  10. Ram

    Ram

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    Well the canyon was created by water, so there is a chance, but really....no, not much and certainly not a concern in that clime. The raps are chossy, so I guess loose rock requires a tad of caution, but the only real challenge I remember is a spot or two of class 4 to easy class 5 on exit on marginal rock.

    Oh and as an after thought, Darwin Canyon is nearby. Short, wet and beautiful. A great way to wash off the the dusty dirt of an AM, into an early PM Rainbow descent
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  11. wisconnyjohnny

    wisconnyjohnny Stemming Minions

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