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A bit of Zion History

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. ratagonia


    Mount Carmel, Utah
    from Eric Brueck -

    Just saw the Gorging video and there were some statements in there that made me laugh.

    I did Pine Creek by rapping in from the rim below the Cathedral before 1977, but I also did it 2 times (at least) starting under the bridge. I grew up in Zion. My dad was the Asst Chief Ranger and then the Chief Ranger. I lived in one of the rock houses (middle one) just up the road from the Human History Museum. My dad retired from Zion in 1973. I started my NPS career in 1974 at Grand Canyon and then moved back to Zion in 1981 and retired in 2006. I started doing canyons in the late 60's and did Pine Creek in 1974 from the bridge. When i was a kid, we used to go up the slot from the bottom by way of the old trail cut in the rock to the south of last rappel. There was some boards across the chute (not there now and some of the trail in rock as all but disappeared). You could actually hike up almost to the cathedral by some climbing. Maybe I was the first to go down Pine Creek and maybe not, but the thing that bothers me is when people say they were the first and have no idea what went on before them. Just because there were no bolts there does not mean a thing. Pine Creek gets lots of water and it has changed a lot over the years. There were some very big logs at the first and you could use them for anchors as well as webbing in cracks, etc. I am sure you know about that. I probably did it 6 times before someone added a bolt. Now they have bolts and chain in several places.

    (and a bit later)

    Zion was a playground for me and since I lived so close to Pine Creek, I went in it a lot. We used to hike up and find money that people would throw out of the tunnel windows (you could stop and park in them, all but the top one). We used to dam it off down further and make swimming holes until the next flood came which back then were more often.

    I do not consider me an expert on Zion but I have spent most of my life hiking in it. I know I have done the narrows more than 100 times. I did not start doing technical canyons until the 70's and did Pine Creek, Goose Creek, Great West Canyon form the very start (slot part too), Left Fork from Wildcat Canyon and the West Rim Trail, Phantom Valley into the Great West (it is now Right fork), and Phantom Valley down the canyon behind the main canyon which drains into Birch Creek, Also climbed out of that and came down the drainage in front of the Alter of Sacrifice (came behind the Sentinel), Behunin, Brueck Canyon (the one that comes in by the Grotto Picnic Area) ,I named it that just for me. Ha ha. I actually used some pitons in it and more. All in the 70's. I did Heaps, Imlay, Mystery, Bulloch, and others after moving back to Zion to work in 1981.

    The place is a VERY special place to me and I have done most of the canyons numerous times, but I don't do them anymore as I have a bad shoulder and wrist and because there are too many people for me and the permit thing. I have always been an avid backpacker and so I go on 3 trips a year and have spent the last few years in the Wind Rivers.

    I have covered the park form top to bottom and side to side and still love it. Funny that you mentioned Royce Trappier. We had to rescue him out of Heaps in the early 80's. He had spent 4 or 5 days in there before we found him. He was quite a character.
  2. Kip Marshall

    Kip Marshall Bshwakr

    I certainly appreciate some of Eric's beta in the early days. I would only say that the devil is in the details. It's pretty easy to claim having done Pine, Great West and obvious other canyons before anyone else, but he doesn't seem to be claiming Heaps, Imlay or even Kolob. Most of all, I wouldn't let this discourage people from exploring the backcountry - top-to-bottom and side-to-side isn't something even I will likely achieve.
  3. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

    I personally think claiming “first Descents” is a bit gauche.
    Yellow Dart, Bogie and Jason Linder like this.
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