Little Bridge Canyon, Grotto, Small canyon between little bridge and grotto

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Posted by Paulo on January 25, 2002 at 15:31:13:

Hello all, this was my 4th DV trip, over MLK weekend. I have a few sets of questions.

1) Did anyone here (elsewhere) go up Grotto and Little Bridge Canyon Hikes (Pantamint Range, DV side)? How far up did you get? Is there a way of getting around the first two dry falls at Grotto?

2) The small canyon between Little Bridge and Grotto canyon, it has three forks blocked by dry falls, has anybody rock climbed up them?

3) Is it possible for a Mountain Lion sighting in Little Bridge Canyon or was is more possible that my mind was playing tricks on me?

One thing I learned is that I need to develop a good set of rock climbing skills to fully appreciate two out of the three canyons I did

details of hikes:
I did three hikes by myself, 2/3 in areas back country where there was absolutely no one around. I choose mostly seldom visited sites this time, I like canyons, and after 3 prior visits, am using a lot of the more popular, frequently visited canyons up!

The first hike was in hopes of finding Grotto Canyon, read the map wrong, and went to an unnamed, short canyon, between Little Bridge Canyon and Grotto Canyon, with three forks, all blocked by high falls, rather pretty, about 3.5 miles RT, most on alluvial fan gravel. I climbed up the first of the dry falls in the left and middle forks only to be blocked by a taller one.

The next morning I had a pretty fruitless hike at Grotto Canyon; you need to have some rock climbing skills to the tune of 5.6-5.7 to get past the first grotto (dry fall of 12feet) to the neat stuff beyond. Tried climbing next to canyon up a boulder infested slope, in hope of crossing over into it somewhere up higher. Not much luck.

The last hike (around noon) I walked in about 2.5 miles up the alluvial fan to Little Bridge Canyon. Thought I saw something large leaping quietly from rock to rock way up on the left canyon wall when in the canyon, every hair on the nape of my neck was standing up. Kept moving up the canyon while yelling and shrieking to (fictional/non-fictional?) mountain lion. After 3 miles on tedious gravel was not ready top turn around until I saw the natural bridge, the point of the hike, saw it and hiked as fast as I could without running out the canyon, still yelling and shrieking. Still not sure if it was really there or not, lions are said to be a very rare sighting in death valley, too dry, but certain factors may make it more probable for one to be sited there:

* 1) seclusion, this canyon was 2.5 miles from nearest road and very rarely visited by people,
* 2) mountain lion food was evident in canyon: lots of dall sheep scat,
* 3) canyon had lots of green stuff in it showing food for possible mountain lion prey and possible water source up canyon or springs underneath,
* 4) it was later in the day (around 3pm).

what do y'all think?

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