Our first hike through Slit Canyon didn't turn out exactly like we expected, but that's how it works sometimes in Death Valley.  We ended up having a great morning and enjoyed the canyon immensely, but there was one small problem, which I will get to in a minute.  To start with, we drove 3.7 miles up the decent condition but gravel Hole-in-the-Wall Road.  After driving through Hole-in-the-Wall, we parked our vehicle and started out on the hike.  Following the directions of our guidebook, we hiked 1.2 miles northeast towards the point where the hillside met the mountain range.  It was a relatively easy start, and soon we were entering Slit Canyon.  A short time later, we rounded the first bend in the canyon and ran into a dry fall which could not be climbed.  Thus, we backtracked briefly and took the bypass up the hillside, which was clearly marked with cairns.  The bypass was steep but easy, and it wasn't long before we were back down in the canyon.  We walked back to look over the fall which we had bypassed and could see down into the grotto.  As we continued hiking up canyon, we observed that the walls were narrow and high, and we had great expectations.  Once we were about 1/2 of a mile into the canyon, we reached The Slit, which is a very narrow 70 foot stretch that the canyon is named after.  We had to climb a few boulders to progress through The Slit, but it wasn't too difficult.  Then came our surprise.  At the end of The Slit there is a 15 foot fall which needs to be climbed in order to continue. Our guidebook had said that this was "easy to climb".  It wasn't that easy, and I decided that it was too risky for Daria to climb after checking out every possible option.  Obiously, I am very protective and concerned for her safety.  To finish the hike, I returned one year later in November of 2009 with my friend John Leidel, and we made it to the end of the 3rd narrows.  Most hikers will find that it is a good idea to stop at the end of The Slit and head back out of the canyon after getting some pictures.
SAFETY ALERT-- This hike contains sections of climbing, exposed bypasses and/or high dry falls and requires safety ropes & equipment in order to complete the entire hike.  Those without the proper training, experience, and safety gear should stop at the end of The Slit where there is a climb necessary to continue the hike.
This photo is taken from the parking area right after we drove through Hole in the Wall.  We headed for spot where the hillside and mountain come together, marked by the red arrow:
Almost to the start of the canyon, this is the view looking back at Hole in the Wall:
The entrance to Slit Canyon:
We progressed a little bit into the canyon and started admiring the high peaks around us:
But our progress slowed a bit as we ran into this first dry fall, which was too high to climb:
We backtracked briefly and found this bypass which went around the dry fall.  The bypass looks steep and difficult, but it wasn't that bad:
Daria climbing up the bypass and enjoying it:
The bypass does take you up kind of high, as you can see in this photo of Steve with the canyon mouth in the background:
This is the secret grotto at the top of the dry fall which we bypassed:
Heading up canyon further into the 1st narrows:
This was our first view looking into The Slit:
As we entered The Slit, we found that we had to climb these three boulders to progress:
Steve and John Leidel hanging out in The Slit during Steve's second hike here:
Steve climbed the three boulders during his first trip and then had this picture taken at the top:
This was the dry fall at the end of The Slit.  To the right of this dry fall is the place which I decided was too risky for Daria to climb.  Safety comes first on our trips to Death Valley and I wasn't comfortable with the foot and hand holds available:
I continued on past and took this picture looking back down through The Slit:
The lighting was so beautiful that I zoomed in just a little bit closer and took another picture:
Heading further up canyon past The Slit:
I didn't want to keep Daria waiting any longer, so this is where the hike ended during my first trip to Slit Canyon:
A close-up of the 50 foot dry fall, which shows how pretty it is:
This is a view of the bypass route to get above the massive dry fall and be able to continue hiking up canyon:
John climbing up the final steep part of the bypass:
From the top of the bypass, there is a nice view looking up canyon:
Before going up canyon, we walked down a short distance towards the dry fall which we had just bypassed:
And this was the view looking down 50 feet below the top of the fall:
Next it was time to continue up canyon, as we began progressing through the rest of the 1st narrows:
Rock from opposing sides of the canyon walls nearly touched each other at this point:
Exiting the 1st narrows just ahead:
Sure enough, the canyon opened up quite a bit for a while:
Here the canyon closed in briefly, but only for a few steps before becoming wide once again:
Even the wide open spaces we hiked through were interesting and had a lot of variety:
Rounding a bend into the 2nd narrows of the Digonnet-named Slit Canyon:
The next three pictures show you the 2nd narrows, which were not extremely interesting but had some pretty spots:
Once again the canyon opened up, but the 3rd narrows were not very far away:
Just around this corner lies the 3rd narrows, probably the highlight of Slit Canyon (other than The Slit itself):
This is the first of three dry falls in the 3rd narrows of Slit Canyon:
Steve standing next to the first dry fall, which was 7 feet tall:
John and Steve climbed this first dry fall on the left side:
The next three pictures take you through the beginning portion of the 3rd narrows:
This is the second of the three dry falls, about 9 feet tall:
Steve standing on a pile of rocks which has poured over the dry fall.  It seemed like somebody added a few rocks to the top of the pile in order to make climbing easier:
Looking back down the 9 foot dry fall at the narrows below:
And this is the third and final dry fall in the 3rd narrows.  I also think that it is the prettiest:
John using his climbing skills to get up and over the third dry fall, which is about 12 feet tall:
John making it to the top of the third dry fall:
Taking a picture looking down the third dry fall:
There is a small portion of the 3rd narrows to see above the third dry fall:
This is looking further up canyon after we had exited the 3rd narrows.  At this point in the hike, we had accomplished our goal, so we decided to turn around.  To reach this point took about 3 1/2 miles of hiking, scrambling, and minor climbing:
Heading back down the 1st narrows of Slit Canyon on the way back to our truck:
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