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Baptist Draw

  • The Hype

    Baptist Draw is an extremely scenic canyon in the San Rafael that is easy to get to and straight forward to get through. It is commonly done by novice groups and beginners because of its ease.

    The route also features two exit options. This route describes the gorgeous exit up Chute Canyon.

    Getting There

    Access Road
    The trailhead for Baptist Draw is located east of McKay flat at the edge of the plateau overlooking Chute Canyon. The roads to McKay Flat are suitable for passenger cars in dry conditions, but a high clearance vehicle is recommended for the final stretch to the trailhead, although a carefully driven passenger car might do the job. If the roads are wet or muddy from melting snow, all bets are off. All directions give turns as well as key words on signs.

    McKay Flat can be reached via The Temple Mountain Road starting from Interstate 70 or Temple Junction near Goblin Valley.

    North Access: Exit I-70 at exit 131 and head south towards RedCanyon/Tan Seep. After approx 10 miles there will be a fork (Iron Wash Junction), turn right towards RedCanyon/McKay Flat. At the next major road junction (at Tan Seep,) approx 4 miles, turn right.

    South Access: If travelling from Temple Junction, stay on the main road, bearing left towards Red Canyon at the major fork. After a bit more than 2 miles you'll reach the road junction at Tan Seep, continue straight.

    From Tan Seep: After almost a mile will be another junction, turn left toward McKay Flat. After 3.8 miles you will cross a cattle guard. Watch out for an unmarked road taking off on the left about a football field past the guard. Take the road on the left for 2.8 miles. You'll pass one fork and meet another at 2.8 miles. Turn left at this second one and after maybe another half mile you'll start noticing campsites. Pick one you like as this is the trailhead.

    Google map of Southern Swell Roads

    There are lots of campsites in the area. Try not to make new ones, and if you want a fire use a site that already has a pit and bring your own wood. Try not to leave more of a trace than already exists.

    From The Trailhead
    The route down in to Baptist Draw takes off to the northeast of the camping area. Head to the rim of the flat northeast of camp. Looking over the rim you will notice a little butte not too far away (known as Teepee Rock.) That is the first objective to get to Baptist. Head down off the rim where you can and head towards the butte. If you were not following a trail you will likely hit one on the way. The good news is, Teepee Rock is easily visible most of the way. The route goes around Teepee Rock on its south side. As you curve around the butte Baptist Draw is right in front of you. Take the path of least resistance into the draw, hopefully on a path or not leaving much of a trace. There is a burro path that can be followed.

    Once in the wide draw, head downcanyon. After only a few minutes the canyon starts to narrow and build upward. The going is very easy. There are a couple minor downclimbs and a couple spots where larger individuals need to go sideways (I'm fairly slight; 6'00, 145 lbs and my shoulders touched both walls at a point.)

    The Canyon - Rating: 3A II   Longest Rap: 80'   # of Raps: 2

    The technical section is short and sweet. The first "rappel" is about 20 ft off a big chokestone to the right. I say "rappel" because it can be downclimbed but be prepared to consider it a rap. Only a couple minutes down canyon is the final rappel into Upper Chute Canyon. It is an 80' rappel essentially down into a chokestone filled Baptist Draw. The anchor was three bolts at the end of the canyon when I was there. There is talk of getting rid of the bolts because there is natural anchor material around so be prepared to build your own.

    Skills required: Rapelling, Downclimbing, Natural Anchors

    Rappels: 2, up to 80'

    Water
    No water unless after wet periods. No wetsuit needed.

    Natural Anchors
    While Baptist Draw is currently bolted, San Rafael Swell should be considered a "natural anchor" area. Please be competent with natural anchor evaluation and building skills, and plan accordingly.

    Gear Recommendations
    Technical Canyoneering Kit - including helmet, harness, rappel device, ascending gear
    Webbing - 40'
    Rapides - 4

    Flash Flood Danger: Low, watch the sky for activity directly overhead.

    The Exit

    Now in Upper Chute Canyon you have two exit options: down or up canyon. I went up, and will thus offer beta for that route.

    Start walking up canyon. Within a couple minutes the biggest problem is encountered: a ten foot boulder stuck across the canyon. Incompetent climbers (such as myself) can make it up using holds on the left side of the boulder easily. Continuing up canyon the canyon is eerily dark and whimsical. Another short boulder problem is encountered shortly after the first. It is easier than the easy first. The canyon briefly opens and then narrows in again, making some of the prettiest narrows I have seen. The walking is easy with not more boulder problems. After, maybe, half an hour in this section the narrows die. Another couple minutes are spent walking in the wide wash until a small, cairned, drainage comes in on the west (left). Walk up the drainage and as it hits the rim contour the hill that exists to the south. Again you may hit a trail (human or burro made) that will take you across back to Baptist Draw. Proceed into the draw, find where you came in (or a better way if you missed the "cairned" way in) and proceed back up to Teepee Rock. From there retrace your path back up to the flat and your car/camp.

    Red Tape

    The area the canyon is in is not heavily regulated. No permits or loops to jump through at the moment.
  • Access Road
    The trailhead for Baptist Draw is located east of McKay flat at the edge of the plateau overlooking Chute Canyon. The roads to McKay Flat are suitable for passenger cars in dry conditions, but a high clearance vehicle is recommended for the final stretch to the trailhead, although a carefully driven passenger car might do the job. If the roads are wet or muddy from melting snow, all bets are off. All directions give turns as well as key words on signs.

    McKay Flat can be reached via The Temple Mountain Road starting from Interstate 70 or Temple Junction near Goblin Valley.

    North Access: Exit I-70 at exit 131 and head south towards RedCanyon/Tan Seep. After approx 10 miles there will be a fork (Iron Wash Junction), turn right towards RedCanyon/McKay Flat. At the next major road junction (at Tan Seep,) approx 4 miles, turn right.

    South Access: If travelling from Temple Junction, stay on the main road, bearing left towards Red Canyon at the major fork. After a bit more than 2 miles you'll reach the road junction at Tan Seep, continue straight.

    From Tan Seep: After almost a mile will be another junction, turn left toward McKay Flat. After 3.8 miles you will cross a cattle guard. Watch out for an unmarked road taking off on the left about a football field past the guard. Take the road on the left for 2.8 miles. You'll pass one fork and meet another at 2.8 miles. Turn left at this second one and after maybe another half mile you'll start noticing campsites. Pick one you like as this is the trailhead.

    Google map of Southern Swell Roads

    There are lots of campsites in the area. Try not to make new ones, and if you want a fire use a site that already has a pit and bring your own wood. Try not to leave more of a trace than already exists.

    From The Trailhead
    The route down in to Baptist Draw takes off to the northeast of the camping area. Head to the rim of the flat northeast of camp. Looking over the rim you will notice a little butte not too far away (known as Teepee Rock.) That is the first objective to get to Baptist. Head down off the rim where you can and head towards the butte. If you were not following a trail you will likely hit one on the way. The good news is, Teepee Rock is easily visible most of the way. The route goes around Teepee Rock on its south side. As you curve around the butte Baptist Draw is right in front of you. Take the path of least resistance into the draw, hopefully on a path or not leaving much of a trace. There is a burro path that can be followed.

    Once in the wide draw, head downcanyon. After only a few minutes the canyon starts to narrow and build upward. The going is very easy. There are a couple minor downclimbs and a couple spots where larger individuals need to go sideways (I'm fairly slight; 6'00, 145 lbs and my shoulders touched both walls at a point.)
  • The technical section is short and sweet. The first "rappel" is about 20 ft off a big chokestone to the right. I say "rappel" because it can be downclimbed but be prepared to consider it a rap. Only a couple minutes down canyon is the final rappel into Upper Chute Canyon. It is an 80' rappel essentially down into a chokestone filled Baptist Draw. The anchor was three bolts at the end of the canyon when I was there. There is talk of getting rid of the bolts because there is natural anchor material around so be prepared to build your own.

    Skills required: Rapelling, Downclimbing, Natural Anchors

    Rappels: 2, up to 80'

    Water
    No water unless after wet periods. No wetsuit needed.

    Natural Anchors
    While Baptist Draw is currently bolted, San Rafael Swell should be considered a "natural anchor" area. Please be competent with natural anchor evaluation and building skills, and plan accordingly.

    Gear Recommendations
    Technical Canyoneering Kit - including helmet, harness, rappel device, ascending gear
    Webbing - 40'
    Rapides - 4

    Flash Flood Danger: Low, watch the sky for activity directly overhead.
  • Now in Upper Chute Canyon you have two exit options: down or up canyon. I went up, and will thus offer beta for that route.

    Start walking up canyon. Within a couple minutes the biggest problem is encountered: a ten foot boulder stuck across the canyon. Incompetent climbers (such as myself) can make it up using holds on the left side of the boulder easily. Continuing up canyon the canyon is eerily dark and whimsical. Another short boulder problem is encountered shortly after the first. It is easier than the easy first. The canyon briefly opens and then narrows in again, making some of the prettiest narrows I have seen. The walking is easy with not more boulder problems. After, maybe, half an hour in this section the narrows die. Another couple minutes are spent walking in the wide wash until a small, cairned, drainage comes in on the west (left). Walk up the drainage and as it hits the rim contour the hill that exists to the south. Again you may hit a trail (human or burro made) that will take you across back to Baptist Draw. Proceed into the draw, find where you came in (or a better way if you missed the "cairned" way in) and proceed back up to Teepee Rock. From there retrace your path back up to the flat and your car/camp.
  • The area the canyon is in is not heavily regulated. No permits or loops to jump through at the moment.
Mountaineer, Blake Merrell and Nick like this.

Condition Reports for Baptist Draw

  1. Mountaineer
    Apr 24, 2014
    Mountaineer

    Difficulty:

    NA

    Skill Level:

    NA

    Water:

    NA

    Thermal:

    NA

    Group Size:

    NA

    Total Time:

    NA


    Baptist has a high flash flood danger. Do not enter if there is any chance of rain.

    Posted Apr 24, 2014
  2. peakbaggers
    October 05, 2014
    peakbaggers

    Difficulty:

    Easy

    Skill Level:

    Beginner

    Water:

    Deep (waist to chest)

    Thermal:

    1-3mm wetsuit

    Group Size:

    5 people

    Total Time:

    1 hour 7.0 hours


    Baptist from first campsite on the edge of the first trees driving in: One team member was able to drive in carefully with a Vibe. Baptist had 2 -3 spots with water & no swimmers. After dropping into Chute, we headed up canyon. First half was surprisingly dry. Next half had some water. One spot to mid chest. Found the upclimb in here to be easier with fewer obstacles than previous years. Could have been done without wetsuits if you're more cold tolerant.

    Posted Oct 8, 2014
The information provided here is intended for entertainment purposes only. The creator of this information and/or Canyon Collective are not liable for any harm or damage caused by this information. Conditions in the backcountry are constantly changing, only you are responsible for your safety and well being.