DV family trip Feb 16-20

I recently did an enjoyable family trip to Death Valley from Feb 16-20.  We stayed at Stovepipe Wells village for our lodging.  I hadn’t brought my son (now 8 years old) to Death Valley during the past 2 years, so it was nice to bring him again.  And I bought a new annual pass for 2021.  (Please everyone make sure you pay your entrance fees when visiting to help support the park and follow the regulations.)  For our 5 days of hiking, we did Double Bridge & Squeeze Slot, Marble Canyon, Tunnel Bridge & White Slickenside, Phinney Pass, and the Crystal Hills high point (which was my 51st Death Valley peak summit).  I also laid the groundwork and did some advance filming for my upcoming feature-length film “Grapevines Solo: Death Valley Adventure 2” which will be coming this spring.  Here are a few photos from our family trip.

Steve, Daria & Stefan pictured in Marble Canyon
Taking Death Valley park staff to see the incredible discoveries of Tunnel Bridge & White Slickenside
Enjoying snow on the hike to Phinney Pass
Stefan exploring the ruins found at the Crystal Hills
View of the Crystal Hills from the Crystal Hills high point summit (my 51st Death Valley peak)

Regarding the future of this site

Hello everyone,

As I have received 5 different e-mails over the past week in regards to the future of this site, I thought I would make a post and address the issue.  The e-mails all mentioned that someone had offered to take over hosting of this site and keep it online indefinitely.  As I mentioned in passing about one month ago, my plans are to remove the site from the internet sometime between 2021-2023.  And that is still the plan.  I don’t know exactly when I will do so, but at some point I will give one week’s notice and take down the site for good.  Before I do so, I will go through and convert all of my site pages and hiking reports to PDF form for safekeeping to preserve everything I have done.  This will allow me to share what I have written with my son as he gets older and also to provide a copy to the NPS for their records and future use.  The last three years have been the most difficult of my life personally as I have dealt with quite a few challenging issues including battling two different forms of cancer.  As of my latest scans and x-rays, my body is currently all clear and there is NED (no evidence of disease).  But at some point over these past few years, I totally lost interest in writing up new hiking reports and maintaining this site.  It became burdensome to me, rather than the joy that it once was.  And the site does need regular updates in order to work properly on the latest phones and tablets, and also to keep the slideshow software current.  But I cannot let someone else take over hosting and preserve my site online.  For one thing, I have a lot of personal photos of my family, friends, and NPS staff members within my hiking reports.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving those up somewhere else on the internet.  And I don’t have permission from others to allow their photos to be posted somewhere else either.  Thank you all for viewing my Death Valley site as such a valuable resource and using my information for the past 15 years or so.  It has always meant a lot to receive the thoughtful e-mails in regards to how helpful the site has been and to even be spotted and recognized by members of the public when I am out and about in Death Valley thanks to the site.  And I especially treasure having gotten to know and spend time with Death Valley park staff.  As stated before, I will soon look for a way to put a lot of my discovery and adventure hiking information into book form so that it is not lost forever.  I expect it will take me about a year to put all that information together, but it will be fun to do so.  Take care, everyone.

Regards, Steve

3rd update on “Last Chance Solo” (2-9-21)

I have decided to return to Death Valley this spring to film a sequel to “Last Chance Solo” in another mountain range, as I have come up with a 4-to-5 day backpacking route which will showcase some incredible Death Valley scenery.  I will share more details about that after the backpacking trip has been completed.

And a brief update on the film festivals.  “Last Chance Solo” was chosen as an Official Selection for 4 of the 5 film festivals that it was submitted to so far.  It has already been an Award Winner (Silver Award for Documentary Film), Award Winner (Award of Merit for Best Indie Feature), and received Honorable Mention (the 2nd highest award) at three of the festivals.  So it is doing very well.  And there are several more to come.  Once these festivals have run their course a couple of months from now, I will go ahead and release it for all to enjoy.  You may enjoy reading this advance review of the film provided by Steven Clark (known to many as Death Valley Dazed).

“One of the foremost explorers and videographers of Death Valley National Park, Steve Hall’s “Last Chance Solo: A Death Valley Adventure” captures an enthralling six-day adventure through some of the most isolated and least-visited portions of the national park. Steve takes meticulous care in setting up his cameras to record his adventure from dawn to dusk even capturing the nighttime constellations and a shooting star.

Steve sets the example of “safety first” with detailed narrations of his route choices in the context of great panoramas of The Last Chance Range, The Saline Valley, The Racetrack Playa and over the Inyo Mountains to the Sierra Nevada. For added suspense and anticipation some “special guests” join Steve on his summit of Grandview Peak. Anyone who does video blogs will appreciate the extra efforts Steve has taken to shoot and edit this outstanding adventure with his brother Lowell creating much of the soundtrack.

Steve’s passion for all things Death Valley is evident with his eagerness to share his “Last Chance Solo” with as many photographers, desert rats, geologists, history buffs, hikers and national park fans as possible with this smooth-flowing, evenly-paced production.”

2nd Update on “Last Chance Solo” (1-24-21)

Checking in with another update on “Last Chance Solo: A Death Valley Adventure“.  The film is 100% complete now and turned out so well that I have sent it off to film festivals for the first half of this year.  That means I am not able to release or share it publicly at this time.  But I will pass along info about some film festivals where you can view it in the near future.  Here are some details about the finished film.

  • Project Type:  Documentary
  • Genres:  Adventure, Drama
  • Runtime:  1 hour 33 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:  January 22, 2021

Synopsis:  “Nothing comes easy in Death Valley”. Explorer Steve Hall experiences this firsthand as he embarks on an epic solo adventure into an undocumented area of the Last Chance Range. This remote region contains challenging desert terrain and a lack of available water. As Steve backpacks into the range, he passes through beautiful canyons that have never been filmed before and across high mountain ridges with sweeping views. While attempting to summit his 50th Death Valley peak, a major obstacle is encountered which threatens to end his journey in failure. Featuring Death Valley sunrises, sunsets, starry nights, and special guests.

(On a side note, I just wanted to let you know that I’m considering removing my Death Valley site from the internet sometime between 2021-2023.  I realize what an important valuable resource many in the world view this site as being for Death Valley hiking, but I kind of feel like I’ve done my part for the past 15 years by sharing my hiking reports with everyone.  I’ve kind of lost interest in writing up detailed hiking reports and moved on to other things.  However, if I do so, I will put something in print in book form so at least my information will remain available to those who would like to have it.  But I did want to give you all advance notice about this future likelihood.)

Update on “Last Chance Solo: A Death Valley Adventure”

A short update on my upcoming self-documentary film “Last Chance Solo: A Death Valley Adventure”. The initial cut of the film (shot in 4K) has been completed and it is 1 hour 35 minutes in length. It features some original music by my brother Lowell Hall. I currently plan to release it all at once as a complete film (rather than splitting it up into episodes as I had been considering). I just wanted to do something a little different other than my standard written hiking reports. The film documents me backpacking all alone through the seldom-visited area of the Last Chance Range located in between Corridor Canyon and Dry Mountain. I spent 6 days exploring the area and covered 67 miles in total (40.7 backpacking miles and 26.3 day hike/side trip miles). The release date is TBA but will hopefully be in early 2021.

Teaser Trailer for “Last Chance Solo: A Death Valley Adventure”

Short teaser trailer for “Last Chance Solo: A Death Valley Adventure” coming soon.  Recently, I took a 4-day solo backpacking trip into an undocumented area of the Last Chance Range between Corridor Canyon and Dry Mountain.  And I filmed the entire journey to share with everyone later.

For initial release, I will be splitting this into 5 episodes (about 15-20 minutes long each), releasing one every Friday starting a couple of weeks from now. Later, I will combine all the episodes into a full-length 1 1/2 hour film for those who prefer watching it that way. Stay tuned and get ready to enjoy my newest adventure in Death Valley National Park from the comfort of your home.