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I could be standing at the bottom of a canyon, and admiring a towering cliff face.

I had slowly crept to the edge of the cliff and was now staring into a ____ abyss.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Oct 30 '16 at 15:23
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Though I'd use the word precipitous here, and the collocation precipitous drop is well known, most dictionaries refer to the steepness involved but not the drop usually associated with the term.

Collins Thesaurus of the English Language does clearly list this, however:

precipitous adjective

  1. sheer, high, steep, dizzy, abrupt, perpendicular, falling sharply ...

(emphasis mine)

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I would suggest yawning:

1: wide open : cavernous <a yawning hole> <yawning gaps in the plot>
from M-W.com

another alternative would be gaping:

: wide open : very large <a gaping hole>
also from M-W.com

Yes, they really used 'hole' for both of their examples. :-)

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I offer bottomless.

M-W:

bottomless adjective

2a :  extremely deep

the killer threw the gun into what he thought was a bottomless pit

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How about vertiginous?

Wiktionary:

vertiginous: having an aspect of great depth, drawing the eye to look downwards

Oxford Dictionaries:

vertiginous: extremely high or steep; vertiginous drops to the valleys below

This works nicely as the sense one would have opposite to "standing at the bottom of a canyon, and admiring a towering cliff face".

Addendum: Just noticed that @JohnFeltz mentioned this word in his comment on the question. John, my acknowledgment.

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