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Tight and technical slot canyons
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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Nov 1, 2008
avitar pic <br />

Just curious who else out there is into slot canyons.
What canyons have you been into and what they were like?
Story's welcome. Pics and beta more then welcome, if we can compile enough maybe we could convince the administrator to let us start posting them up!
Anyone ever climb routes in slot canyons? I know some of the more difficult ones require some technical climbing to get out of but I'm thinking more along the lines of if you went into a slot and saw an awesome line and came back to free/aid up it?


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By Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Nov 1, 2008
rockerwaves

Hay Jason, Contact Rick Pratt. He's on the MP people list. Rick has a lot of experience in this arena.He is really cool person that I have had some mind expanding adventures with over the years.


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By atrau
Nov 1, 2008

I do a lot of canyoneering and mostly stick to stuff in Zion, due to that fact you have one of the best rescue teams in the nation there and you have anything you could ask for. If you want one that slots up and takes a lot of stemming and climbing, chambers in the Robbers Roost Area is amazing.

If you are trying to get into it, I have done most of the canyons in Zion and dozens around Utah and Arizona. I have too much info to just post, if you have any questions about some canyons contact me. I don't like canyoneering but it is an excellent off day activity.

Robert Schwarzmann

P.S. I also teach some Classes on how to set up Canyoneering anchors and self rescue.


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By Robert 560
From The Land of the Lost
Nov 1, 2008
Secret Crag

I've spent some time doing canyoneering and would love to do more. Maybe an area here could be made to chat about it. I feel like there must be others here that would be interested.


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By Tradster
From Phoenix, AZ
Nov 3, 2008

Salome Jug & Lower Waterholes in AZ. Spry, Keyhole, Behunin, Pine Creek all in Zion. Rather like extreme hiking, but lots of fun. I'd be up for more.


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By Legs Magillicutty
From Littleton
Nov 3, 2008
Function over fashion.  My newest pair of climbing shoes.

I have done Pine Creek, Orderville, The Subway and some of Echo. I would still like to do Imlay and just about any others really.

I have heard that there is a slot in Boulder Canyon. Anyone done it? Where can I find info on it.

I'd be up for doing technical slots.


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By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
Nov 3, 2008

Canyoneering is a wonderful, exciting and complex activity that I've only dabbled in. I'm too old, crippled and busy to engage much further in it than I do. I guess you could call me a canyoneering n00b.

May I respectfully suggest that you take this thread idea over to canyoneeringusa.com? It's a site run by Tom Jones of JRAT fame and now, Imlay Ganyon Gear. It's a site similar to this one but dedicated to the sport of Canyoneering. It has all the stuff: route beta, gear advice, forums and chats, etc. It would be nice if they had a route database like the one here, though.

Let's keep this a climbing site.

Mal


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Nov 3, 2008
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Route databases with rigging info for canyoneering would be pretty useful, for sure. They tried that for mountain biking on that sister site for summitpost, but it got overrun by the spammers.


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By Tim Kline
From Littleton, co
Nov 3, 2008
Classic climb called Gossamer in the monster area of Rushmore

If you want an exciting and challenging canyon, Alcatraz Canyon was awesome. We just did Moonshine wash, that was awesome too, but it wasn't nearly that complicated or tight as Alcatraz. Check out this link:

climb-utah.com/Roost/alcatraz.htm

This site is awesome for Canyoneering info!!!


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By Brian in SLC
Nov 3, 2008
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Malcolm Daly wrote:
May I respectfully suggest that you take this thread idea over to canyoneeringusa.com? It's a site run by Tom Jones of JRAT fame and now, Imlay Ganyon Gear. It's a site similar to this one but dedicated to the sport of Canyoneering. It has all the stuff: route beta, gear advice, forums and chats, etc.


Tom's site doesn't have a forum or "chats". He suggests the yahoo egroup "canyons" for a forum.

There's also the ACA site:

www.canyoneering.net

And the bogley site which has a canyoneering forum.

www.bogley.com

None of those sites have a real functional user database for canyon info but they are good places to solicit for current conditions.

Summitpost has a bunch of canyon beta. Ditto climb-utah mentioned above. Tom's site (canyoneeringusa) has the best info for specific canyon beta, for the routes he's put in there. Heckuva resource.

Cheers,

-Brian in SLC
(ex-canyoneer ha ha)


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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Nov 3, 2008

Tim Kline wrote:
If you want an exciting and challenging canyon, Alcatraz Canyon was awesome. We just did Moonshine wash, that was awesome too, but it wasn't nearly that complicated or tight as Alcatraz. Check out this link: climb-utah.com/Roost/alcatraz.htm This site is awesome for Canyoneering info!!!


I second that, Alcatraz is the shit! 60m single strand rap off the bumper of your car then super tight meanders, technical downclimbs and if there's water, some gnar potholes extractions. Plus the escape is quite the course in sandstone navigation.
Tim, what did you think of moonshine? Did you find the dryfall climb a bit tough?
The roost and north wash are the place to be for tight stuff.


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By Jason Halladay
Administrator
From Los Alamos, NM
Nov 3, 2008
Climbing at the Belvedere crag near Nago with a great view of the northern end of Lake Garda and the town of Torbole sul Garda below. June 2013.

Timely post. We just returned from some slots in North Wash this past weekend. Great time! I've been through Alcatraz a couple of times and another tight one in the Roost called Chambers in the past but we just descended Shenanigans (middle fork of Butler Canyons west fork) in the North Wash area and it is probably the tightest I've been through! In one section, the buckle on my harness was just enough to keep me from passing through the slot so I had to undo it. It wasn't super technical but it was tight and dark! Admittedly, I'm not a serious canyoneer and don't do any super difficult canyons but I enjoy the outings I've done.

I do think canyoneering is covered well enough on other sites such as canyoneeringusa.com, climb-utah.com and the Yahoo canyoneering group but it is fun to discuss it here as many aspects of climbing are very helpful in the canyons.


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By Tim Kline
From Littleton, co
Nov 4, 2008
Classic climb called Gossamer in the monster area of Rushmore

The dryfall wasn't even near dry when we went!! We had 13 People with us and 3 dogs!! It was REALLY tough because of these variables. The canyon was AWESOME though!! If you have small groups it's definitely a good canyon, but I wouldn't do it with dogs again... we ended up having to do a bucket brigade at the top of the dryfall where there were all of those boulders. That last section was really fun though, with all the water, I have never done a canyon with water before!!

@QUOTE\{Boissal} I second that, Alcatraz is the shit! 60m single strand rap off the bumper of your car then super tight meanders, technical downclimbs and if there's water, some gnar potholes extractions. Plus the escape is quite the course in sandstone navigation. Tim, what did you think of moonshine? Did you find the dryfall climb a bit tough? The roost and north wash are the place to be for tight stuff. -QUOTE@


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By Tradster
From Phoenix, AZ
Nov 4, 2008

@QUOTE\{Sorden}According to my Navajo guide / friend there are at least four routes up and out of Lower Antelope (Corkscrew) Canyon outside of Page, AZ. It's probably the most photographed (published) slot canyon in the world. I've free-soloed all four of them, about 60 feet average, to the surface. My friend, Poncho (God bless ya son, wherever ya are!) took a group of foreign tourists through this very popular and picturesque slot canyon in the summer of 1997. I'd been in there with my own group three days prior while it was raining. Poncho's entire group of 12, including two others not in his group, died in that canyon when a flash flood swept through. Poncho held on to two young French girls as long as he could until they were ripped away from him. He was found thirty feet up on a ledge; naked, bruised and bloody, blinded by the silt in his eyes, alone but alive.-QUOTE@I read about that and heard from locals up there just after it happened. Seems Poncho didn't listen to warnings to stay out of the canyon from several people, including gringos and local Native Americans warning about the flash flood danger that day. I wonder if Poncho has a guilty conscience. Maybe he should have listened to the warnings. How does he feel about being responsible for 12 people's deaths?


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By Tradster
From Phoenix, AZ
Nov 4, 2008

Seems Poncho didn't listen to warnings to stay out of the canyon from several people, including gringos and local Native Americans warning about the flash flood danger that day. I wonder if Poncho has a guilty conscience. Maybe he should have listened to the warnings. How does he feel about being responsible for 12 people's deaths? And you admit to going in there while it was raining too. What are you, an idiot or just a fool?


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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Nov 4, 2008

Tim Kline wrote:
The dryfall wasn't even near dry when we went!! We had 13 People with us and 3 dogs!! It was REALLY tough because of these variables. The canyon was AWESOME though!! If you have small groups it's definitely a good canyon, but I wouldn't do it with dogs again... we ended up having to do a bucket brigade at the top of the dryfall where there were all of those boulders. That last section was really fun though, with all the water, I have never done a canyon with water before!!


Yeah the dryfall is quite sandbagged and scary, I had to swim to the base and solo 25' of mossy wet sandstone to get up. If you don't have a tagline you're seriously screwed at that point, especially with 13 people. We found some gnarly potholes after that and one of them almost kept me. Did you see the sheep bridge? My partner crossed it by mistake a couple of years ago, he's still shaken to this day.
When I did it we missed the exit and had to climb out then navigate the mesa in the dark with a compass, ended up looking for our footprints to select the right exit drainage.
3Canyon is close by and absolutely amazing. More like hiking in Zion that the Roost. You end up at the mouth overlooking the Green, then backtrack and climb about 2 long pitches of 5.easy slabs with a 5.6 crux. And running into this always cracks me up. Redefines bomber anchor...


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By Tim Kline
From Littleton, co
Nov 4, 2008
Classic climb called Gossamer in the monster area of Rushmore

Boissal wrote:
Yeah the dryfall is quite sandbagged and scary, I had to swim to the base and solo 25' of mossy wet sandstone to get up. If you don't have a tagline you're seriously screwed at that point, especially with 13 people. We found some gnarly potholes after that and one of them almost kept me. Did you see the sheep bridge? My partner crossed it by mistake a couple of years ago, he's still shaken to this day. When I did it we missed the exit and had to climb out then navigate the mesa in the dark with a compass, ended up looking for our footprints to select the right exit drainage. 3Canyon is close by and absolutely amazing. More like hiking in Zion that the Roost. You end up at the mouth overlooking the Green, then backtrack and climb about 2 long pitches of 5.easy slabs with a 5.6 crux. And running into this always cracks me up. Redefines bomber anchor...


We had one person go up the dry fall first, he anchored in some webbing and we used it as a tagline. But after getting all of that damn clay on the falls, it was so difficult. I ended up staying at the bottom to help people across the pothole (cold... bbrrrrrr) And so I was the last one up... it sucked a bit. We weren't prepared for water, which was our stupidity. But it wasn't too bad. We made were fortunate to have a couple of GPS' with us, so we didn't have a problem navigating back. We seen the sheep bridge from the bottom of the canyon but not from the top. We ended up bypassing it due to time. We made it back to camp just in time to watch sunset. The canyon would have been a lot easier had we not brought our dogs. But we made it through without escape!!!


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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Nov 4, 2008
avitar pic <br />

My canyoneering experiences so far consist of these canyons:
1.Not mind bender(Robbers Roost), I was just tagging along, my first slot canyon.
2.Old woman's wash(SRSwell), day after mind bender, long walk for not much pay off.
3.Midevil chamber(Moab), lame except the raps. Simul rapped morning glory arch. I was leading the trip for this one.
4.The high spur. Awesome! Im going to tell a full story about that day in a second.
5.Alcatraz. Also cool, but more like caving.

Not mind bender is what hooked me, the bueaty of a slot is unmatched. Fortunately there was some technical aspects to this slot so I learned some things. It ended in a big free hanging rap. probly atleast 120' free hanging. The anchor was a bunch of webbing comming out of the ground! A burried deadman or something of the sort, I got to go first! AWESOME!

So last memorial day weekend I convinced a couple friends to check the scene out, 1 was my main climbing partner and another was a sportish climber, and another gumby non climber. I was the only one that had ever been in a slot so we started with midevil chamber. nothing worth noting really. The next day we were waking up at the roost (I was up around sun up). We dropped into the high spur pretty early and once past some of the first obstacles we split some mushrooms. We coutinued down the canyon in awe as we passed through slot after slot and they kept getting more aesthetic and longer and tighter. Some minor obsticles and tons of bueaty is what it mostly consisted of. I don't think I even had to use a hand line or short rope(others in the group did though). Just the rap at the end.

We got out in good time and found the second car at the shuttle point, we were at alcatraz at about 4:00-4:30. We decided to drop in despite the lack of time but based on how well we did with the high spur we figured we would be alright. Our biggest problem with this slot was too much gear. It was like torture at times. It was mostly dry except for the deep dark spots had a little moisture. The problem was dragging the pack behind you was a pain and at times not exactly feasable. For some reason the guide mis-lead us to bring our 60M with us through the canyon with a short rope, light rack, and all kinds of other BS. The canyon was a blast with alot of fun downclimbs and steming/bridging oppertunitys, even some chimneying. I didn't think it was extremely technical though but would understand if it was wet it would be harder). We raced through the canyon with the biggest challange being shuttleing the packs through constrictions in the deep dark bowels of the slot. We had to stratigically place people to bridge tight sections and pass the packs above! It got tiring and clostraphobic racing the sun. It seemed more like caving at times with headlamps in full force. We got out of the slot with a little light to burn but soon lost it by taking a wrong turn up a drainage, we ran back down and found the trail to the rim and about reached the rim as it got dark. This left us some night time orienteering and navigation. It was scary but I had atleast 1 for sure land mark. It wasn't over yet by any means. We took our time and safely navigated in the dark out of the last little section to flat top rim walk back to the car. At one point we weren't exactly sure what way was the exit so it took some planning, we stopped and rested and put on warm clothes. I explained the obvious risks of getting lost out here at night and falling off a cliff etc. We can sleep here till first light and find our way out with light or keep fighting and taking saftey measures and get out of here right now if me manage to not get lost in the process. It was agreed, we weren't sleeping there so off we went. Get back to the car at like 11:00-11:30.
EPIC! I will never forget that day, it will probly remain a top 10 memmory in my life.

Here is a link to my photobucket album from that trip, all the photos are in reverse order for the most part(end of alcatraz on page 1 and the begining of midevil chamber page 9)
s177.photobucket.com/albums/w232/forum8fox/canyons/


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By Tradster
From Phoenix, AZ
Nov 5, 2008

Sorden wrote:
And yet the Navajo still took his entrance fee. I'm certain my old friend Poncho feels unimaginable guilt, remorse and regret for guiding those people to their deaths. We were both very young and didn't know any better. I've been known to act like both and idiot and a fool. How 'bout you Tradster?
So just because they took a fee, he still went in after being warned more than once. I've done some dumb things in my life, but nothing like going into a slot canyon during flash flood danger. And nope, never have been responsible for the death's of other people due to anything negligent I've done. Poncho should have died that day along with his clients. I hear that he still guides. That's a travesty. Your comments lead me to believe you are several bricks shy of a full load.


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By Ian F.
From Phx
Nov 5, 2008

Wow, it seems to me that if there were several legitimate warnings, and they proceeded with a guide, whom is suppose to access dangers and protect the clients, then Pancho should have been tried for negligence, and or manslaughter, and should be in jail.

Definitely not guiding.


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By Tim Kline
From Littleton, co
Nov 5, 2008
Classic climb called Gossamer in the monster area of Rushmore

Canyoneering and climbing are inherently dangerous activities. In the case of this particular issue, it could have been raining miles away and caused this flood. I agree that a weather check should have been completed and that they should have avoided going into this canyon. I think it's imperative that before you ever enter a canyon that you are 100% certain you are not going to have weather issues. I feel bad for both Poncho and the 12 people that died. I'm sure that the guilt and the physical problems Poncho has as a result of this incident is plenty punishment enough. But this is a perfect example of why we who climb and canyoneer should learn from this incident and not repeat these mistakes. If you are new to canyoneering take these 2 pieces of advise.

1.) Check the weather before you go, if there is even a 30% chance of precipitation... don't risk it. You can do the canyon another time.

2.) If you've never been in a canyon, go with somebody who has... I found things in these canyons that I totally didn't expect and team work is not an option in a canyon, it's a requirement.

I'm not expert canyoneer by far, but the people I've gone with are the closest thing to it I believe, and the three things that we continually practice is preperation, caution and teamwork.


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By Tradster
From Phoenix, AZ
Nov 5, 2008

Tim Kline wrote:
Canyoneering and climbing are inherently dangerous activities. In the case of this particular issue, it could have been raining miles away and caused this flood. I agree that a weather check should have been completed and that they should have avoided going into this canyon. I think it's imperative that before you ever enter a canyon that you are 100% certain you are not going to have weather issues. I feel bad for both Poncho and the 12 people that died. I'm sure that the guilt and the physical problems Poncho has as a result of this incident is plenty punishment enough. But this is a perfect example of why we who climb and canyoneer should learn from this incident and not repeat these mistakes. If you are new to canyoneering take these 2 pieces of advise. 1.) Check the weather before you go, if there is even a 30% chance of precipitation... don't risk it. You can do the canyon another time. 2.) If you've never been in a canyon, go with somebody who has... I found things in these canyons that I totally didn't expect and team work is not an option in a canyon, it's a requirement. I'm not expert canyoneer by far, but the people I've gone with are the closest thing to it I believe, and the three things that we continually practice is preperation, caution and teamwork.


This is so true. Once you go in, it is difficult to escape to higher ground in many places. One should remember that it could be raining 30-40 miles upstream and you can still be caught down stream in a bad way. Check the weather channel and carefully examine the weather patterns and radar imagery. As Tim reminded us, when in doubt, stay out. I postponed doing Lower Waterholes a second time for nearly two years because the weather just never seemed right. In Zion, we had a clear weather forecast and clear skies, but once 2/3rd through the canyon, it started to rain. We beat the weather by ten minutes when we exited. Even with a an apparently 'good to go' day, we barely got out unscathed. It was very sobering to watch the slot portion we had just exited become a raging torrent, as we stood on high ground watching the water rush out of the constriction.


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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Nov 5, 2008

Jason Kaplan wrote:
We got out in good time and found the second car at the shuttle point, we were at alcatraz at about 4:00-4:30. We decided to drop in despite the lack of time but based on how well we did with the high spur we figured we would be alright. Our biggest problem with this slot was too much gear. It was like torture at times. It was mostly dry except for the deep dark spots had a little moisture. The problem was dragging the pack behind you was a pain and at times not exactly feasable. For some reason the guide mis-lead us to bring our 60M with us through the canyon with a short rope, light rack, and all kinds of other BS. T


Dude, starting Alcatraz at 4 is way low on the good ideas list.
The narrows are probably less than 1/3 of a mile long but it takes at least 3 hours to get through. You guys are lucky you got back safe and sound, navigating the sandstone maze is pretty hard even with daylight.
Don't know what guidebook you looked at but most of the ones I've seen recommend leaving your 60 on the bumper of your car and going in with 30' of 8mm. The guys who did the first descent aided out cause they thought the canyon boxed, thus the recommendation for bolt kit, ascenders and such. I feel your pain though, i went in with the 60 cause we only had 1 rope and a fat pack and it was a grunt. Definitely darker than most canyons. Found a nut tool deep inside. Weird.

The Spur is sick, that's where I had my epic. Actually even getting there is epic. I remember the sandy section before getting to Hans Flat, we looked at it for a bit then gunned my Subi and floated through it. Got in in 5th gear at 60mph, got out in 1st gear at 5mph with a new sound at the exhaust. High centered the whole way... The rangers saw us pull in and laughed. We told them we were going to the Spur and they laughed even harder. The following exchange went like this:
You guys have another car?
No.
You're going to take that fully loaded Subi with 3 people down the Flint Trail?
Yeah.
Can you raise it?
No.
Cool, you have a large jack?
No.
A bunch of shovels?
No.
Couple sections of 2x4?
No.
Rope or cable and pulley to do some hauling once you're stuck
No.
Well good luck, we have to drive down this way later today anyway, we'll pull you out of whatever hole you're in.

We had to get out in a few places to spot and lighten the car, but getting to the trailhead was the best rock crawling ever to be done with an Outback. Unfortunately the canyon had a lot of water, we waded super long sections that are usually dry and finallystopped at a supposed 25' rap down a dryfall that really was a 6' drop in a pool. The anchor had washed away so we hiked back across some pools to find an uprooted juniper, dragged it to the drop, wedged it and I rapped into the pool. Couldn't reach the bottom so I swam about 200' to a bend, peeked around the corner, saw another 200' of water and swam back. Ascending 6mm wet utility line hurts. We ended up bailing by climbing a chossy weakness in the canyon wall, bunch of insecure slabbing with wet shoes and a 100' tagline tied to the belt for pro. The rangers saw us drive back the next day and reminded us that tow trucks out there cost a minimum of $3000... We then proceeded to recross the sandy section and ripped out the exhaust. Made the drive back to Salt Lake fun, couple extra horsepowers and couple hundred extra dB. The peeps at Groggs heard us coming from a few miles!


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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Feb 2, 2009
avitar pic <br />

Just got back from another trip to the north wash. INSANE....
Dropped into Sandthrax. WOW, humbling. We're alive luckily, no major epics. It was damn scary and extremely physical. Keep an eye out, I'm going to post up a TR in this "other sports" forum once I get around to it.


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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Sep 21, 2009
avitar pic <br />

The Squeeze TR:
Nathan, Eric and I took off Friday evening to go do some canyons out in Utah. We were planning on Quandry Direct and The Squeeze. We got some insider information from RAM and we drove from Hanksville to Muddy Creek. We found our way past Factory Butte and down to MC where we spent the night. Got in close to 4 in the morning, and woke with the sun (3 hours of sleep or something crazy like that). We got ready with expectations of this being one of our hardest days yet experienced.

We took off up the long arduous hike up MC crossing it many times. This resulted in soaked feet, with mud and gravel in the shoes. Some places you would step and the ground would move like Jello, I sank to my ankle early and pulled out a boot covered in chocolate pudding! Brutal! If you were walking the banks you had tamarisk to contend with which make your skin all sticky and covered in vegitation. Not too pleasant.

It was pretty though:



We came to a split and took the wrong way since we didn't have a map and didn't know there was a split. Shortly we realized our mistake by studying the hill side, MC goes between the moroni slope and the swell. We took a path back to MC following a slab on dry open ground albeit off camber some what.

There was a well worn trail heading up the slope but we weren't sure if it was the right one or not. We studied the map and read the description off Tom's site and weren't 100% sure yet, so we walked up canyon a little and found the end of the squeeze. This was good because it helped us have some more perspective on where the canyon was and how to get there. We walked back to the first place we could climb out of the canyon and onto the slope. This was a steep washed out face which lead to a alpine like ridge scramble upto a gentler ridge where we discovered a less worn hiking path. We followed the path for a while till it died off and we just took off up the slope and slightly towards the canyon to the high point seeing a cairn and a big horned sheep in the process.


Eric was fortunate enough to get to see the sheep charge strait up a nearly vertical cliff.

After reaching the top we had to come to grips with the fact that we had some weather moving in. It had spit sprinkles at us a little on the way up but what was closing in on us seemed to be something more. We scouted the way in and took some pictures and worked our way towards our possible way in.




It started blowing and raining enough for us to seek shelter, not pouring or anything but enough to be uncomfortable. We waited it out and ate lunch. Eric didn't seem to think it was a good idea to proceede, due to all the nasty looking clouds looming around in the distance before we left the peak.

I can relate to the validity of this concern, however I had noticed that the part of the storm hitting our area was the smallest of the group of clouds surrounding. I noticed sunny weather in the distance beyond before we left the peak. I prayed we could just wait it out and get some nice weather and move on. I never once saw any flowing water, but it did wet the rock a little. We let it dry up as we liesurely finished our lunch and waited for the sign that things were good to go (blue skies). We went down a series of gullies and I was in the back.

Near the bottom I got split up when they went in the other of the 2 gullies. I stayed in the one I was in and last noted them in. I went down a slotted section with some short easy down climbs untill I came to the final drop to the canyon floor.

It was a 20' drop about and they had the rope. I had some other stuff but I didn't want to fuss with it. I found a ramp leading onto the fin which split us up, and tried to walk over to them. I couldn't, but I did manage to find a way to down climb the front of the fin to the floor. I beat them down as they are rigging for their own drop. You can see them on the right here and the spot I downclimbed aswell on the front of the lookers left wall of the slot they are in:

Down canyon we go, enjoying the aesthetic narrows section before the technical fun show's it's head:








Just below this log is our first pot hole:

It's dry and easy though and we keep cruising:

















Up to this point:


We had not needed to rig any ropes up. We came to this drop and it was large enough and shapped in a manner to prevent us from jumping or down climbing. We had decided we wanted to ghost as much of this canyon as possible. So we filled a pot shot and rapped off it bypassing useless bolts.
Eric and nate work on pulling the single heavy pot shot:

Nate basically batmaned up the rope to near the lip, and pulled it free since it wasn't too high up he just dropped back down. Lesson learned, don't fill them too full if planning to pull them.


We continue down canyon encountering nothing too serious(no need to rig in other words):




Untill we came to this:

This time we rigged up 3 pot shots, maybe 3/8 full. Eric went first as Nate watched the bags and made sure they were going to hold.


Eric did a test pull and they seemed like they would pull, so we re-set them and had Eric test them again to make sure they were solid to rap off again.



Then I got to pull them this time:


I only grabbed one for the first pull, OOP's I'll grab both this time!



On we went:


Bypassing bolts left and right(2 anchors to cross 1 pot hole):




I took the high road like a silo, Eric rapped off Nate into the hole and used me as an anchor to handline out the other side. Then Nate took the high road also.

According to the pictures the next major obsticle was a downclimb into a drop into water Eric told us was neck deep. Nate and I never touched the bottom!


I had noticed the clouds over head again and was starting to keep an eye out for high ground. I saw a fair amount so I didn't feel overly anxious, although when I felt it spitting sprinkles again I started to worry a bit. We Quickly continued on through a little more water and a few cool archways(I skipped a bit through here due to my worries of the rain):





Untill we came to a fixed tyrol across a pothole, Eric got through without the aid of the tyrol(while waiting for me to shoot pictures), he came to this on the other side(after raping off his pack, and tossing it out the other side):

Realizing this was below and the fact that it could start raining, we didn't want to wait around for a flash flood:

We decided to scrap the ghosting idea and just start using the bolts as we didn't know how much was ahead of us(Nate and I just used the tyrol and we rapped off a pre-existing bolted anchor, no sweat).

I feel like we could ghost the whole canyon if we had clear weather and a full day in the canyon, more potshots might make life easier too. Me comming down from the top of the double pothole rap.







We continued down canyon in this fashion as we were concerned about time and the fact we couldn't see the whole sky:



looking back up from the last part of the rap:

I think we only used 3 or 4 drilled pre existing bolt/baby angle anchors total in the whole canyon, down climbing alot where there was already fixed webbing.
I think this was the last anchor we used:


We continued down some more fun jumping and downclimbing into other pot holes:

Jump to the island!

Then we came to the final rap:


Eric wanted to ghost it so we rapped off his pack (small haul bag). Nate went first, tested the pull, it was good. We re-set the pack, I went next, I set it extra good on the way down once I was close to the ground and Eric got the pleasure of going last. The pack was tough to pull this time, we had to extend the rope to the other side of the pond and pull with the 3 of us. It ejected like a missle into the pond!

We hiked back out as it got dark, It was dark by the time we were walking down MC. It seemed like a slog to me, I sank into silt to my knee in one spot!
I was so happy to be back at the car. We ate and passed out. We were so tired and didn't want to do the hike again so we when we woke up we ate and took off for Hanksville. Unsure of what's to come next....
There is more to come though.


FLAG
By Peter Franzen
Administrator
From Phoenix, AZ
Sep 21, 2009
Belay

I have only done one slot canyon, but it was a hell of an adventure considering the conditions.

I was in Zion with a bunch of friends for New Years, 2008. We were there primarily to hike and explore, but 4 of us decided that we needed a bit more adventure so a slot canyon was in order.

We did the normally-tame Keyhole canyon. Upper Keyhole is just a walk, and lower Keyhole has a few rappels, some deep pools, and quite a bit of mandatory swimming. We talked to the outfitter in town and he seemed a bit dubious about our decision to do Keyhole in December, but he said that if we knew what we were doing he wasn't going to try to talk us out of it.

So: It was a gorgeous day. Sunny and warm in the sun, snow patches covered the perpetually shady spots on the ground, and the nights were below freezing. We donned our drysuits and made our way up to the top of the Keyhole.

Upper Keyhole was unremarkable, and all of the little pools were frozen completely solid. We walked through it in just a few minutes and came to the first rappel into Lower Keyhole.

I was the first one to rap in, and I was met with a large pool of water covered in 2-3" of ice. It wasn't enough to walk on, so I had to break through and plow a pathway through it. The drysuit and a few layers of fleece underneath it kept my nice and toasty throughout the whole thing.

To make a long story short: all 4 of us made it through with no problems, and it was one of the most incredible days of adventuring that I have ever had. Every pool required someone to break the ice and swim through, with the exception of the long (100m?) swim at the end which was (thankfully) unfrozen. Considering the list of things that could have gone wrong on a mid-winter frozen slot canyon trip we probably had a bit of luck on our side, but I would do it again in an instant.


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