The purpose of the conferences is to provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of original research on the history and prehistory of Death Valley and its surrounding region, and to disseminate that research through published papers.
Not too long ago a visitor to Death Valley Talk asked what was so unique about Death Valley. The answer to that is of course, everything there is unique and that inadequate descriptor extends far beyond the physical environs of what we now term Death Valley National Park.
Editor's Note: Death Valley is a wonderful and beautiful place to enjoy and get to know. It also has the word "death" in its name. Successful exploration of the Death Valley back country requires awareness and preparation. Morrie, one of our Death Valley Talk forum members, recounts his day of survival in Death Valley.
This is a story of a situation that my brother and I experienced on our last trip to DV. It was one of the most harrowing outdoor experiences I've had.
The two of us were on a day hike up an un-named side canyon off Cottonwood Canyon. It was a beautiful slot canyon but soon became blocked by a dry waterfall and chockstone that would have required some serious rock climbing beyond our abilities. At this time I realized I accidentally left in the car a 30' 9mm climbing rope that I usually bring on these hikes for a hand line or belay. If one of us could have climbed these falls, the rope would have helped the next person, but no matter -- it was not climbable anyway.
LeRoy & Jean Johnson
A handsome book has been added to the Death Valley literature—Death Valley ‘49er [sic] Trails. It has pretty pictures, large type, a good table of contents, and copies of USGS maps with the author’s interpretation of the ’49er routes drawn on them. The material is presented in an easy-to-follow sequence.