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Helios Canyon, CA

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
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Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.31 miles
Trailhead Elevation -247 feet
Elevation Gain 2,530 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,757 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 16.1
Interest Off-Trail Hiking
Dogs not allowed
Post the 1st photoset!
Author autumnstars
author avatar Guides 25
Routes 19
Photos 562
Trips 1,391 map ( 11,424 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Las Vegas, NV
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Dec, Nov, Mar, Jan
Sun  4:30am - 7:07pm
0 Alternative

son of Titan
by autumnstars

Helios is the personification of the sun in Greek mythology, in keeping with the naming of many canyons in the Black Mountains. The hike begins by traveling up the alluvial fan ~0.3 mi around the base of a large scree pile. After passing the scree, head up the slightly more stable slope at a spot of your choosing. The slope is both steep and loose, gaining over 2000 feet in slightly more than 1 mi. The trudge up is rewarded by stunning views of Badwater Basin whenever you care to pause for a moment.

If you don't really enjoy the steep uphill, Helios Canyon is far more fun than the approach. This canyon drops fast, with no lengthy sections of gradual wash walking. Rappels of 25 to 170 feet are interspersed with numerous downclimbs and fun obstacles. The final set of 5 rappels comes in the last ~1/10 mile of the canyon, making for a spectacular finish. Depending what you are comfortable downclimbing, there are nine plus rappels with the longest 170 feet.

Be smart! This is a less frequently-visited canyon, so always be prepared with enough gear to replace webbing and quick-links in case they are worn or missing. At minimum, you will need: helmet, harness, rappelling device and biner, and 2x200 ft ropes. Bolts are not allowed in Death Valley and most rappels in this canyon utilize cairn anchors, so know how to inspect, build, and weight them. As always, carry extra rope.

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2016-01-23 autumnstars
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    From Las Vegas, take NV-160 west toward Pahrump. After driving past the main businesses in Pahrump, turn west (left) on Bell Vista toward Death Valley (signed). This road changes names to State Line Rd once you enter California - remain on it until you reach a T junction with CA-127 at the Amargosa Opera House. Turn north (right) on CA-127, and then west (left) onto CA-190 within 0.2 mile (signed). Drive 28.9 miles to the intersection with Badwater Road in Death Valley NP (signed). Turn south (left) on Badwater Road, and drive ~19.2 miles (you will pass the parking lot for Badwater). Here, the road makes a sharp right turn just after reaching the south end of the Hades Canyon alluvial fan. Find a flat section of shoulder to pull off the road and park here. The mouth of Helios Canyon can be seen by looking east. Start your hike here.
    page created by autumnstars on Jan 23 2016 2:34 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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