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A New Moab Gem: Whisper Canyon

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Furthermore, May 21, 2015.

  1. Furthermore

    Furthermore

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    It's too bad my current addiction in Utah is desert towers; it has been cutting into my canyoneering. I finally decided to make a sole canyoneering trip this season before the weather forecast took a turn for the worst.

    One day provided acceptable weather but wasn't worth the long drive to the Swell or the North Wash from Denver. Despite still wanting to go canyoneering, there were some Moab canyon leads that I had on my back burner. We decided to check one of them out.

    The drive sucks, the approach is long, hot, tricky and complex. We finally arrived at the start where the adventure began. A few tricky slickrock slides guided us to a “lush” section of canyon which then led us to the first mandatory rappel through a triple arch.

    DSCN3808 (1500x896).
    The start of Whisper Canyon.

    DSCN3810 (1500x1125).
    Slickrock slides at the start.

    DSCN3817 (1500x1125).

    DSCN3832 (1125x1500).
    Triple arch rap.

    d5a32b6aed495a9ea7a226dab6b8e31c (900x1200). Triple arch rap.

    After the triple arch rappel, the canyon involved fun potholes, down-climbs and swims. None of the potholes were “keepers,” unfortunately.

    DSCN3855 (1125x1500).
    Potholes.

    DSCN3875 (1500x1092).
    Swimmer.

    DSCN3878 (1125x1500).
    More potholes.

    DSCN3890 (1125x1500).

    DSCN3897 (1500x1125).

    Like most Moab canyons, the canyon ended quickly with two more unique rappels. The canyon is definitely one of the better Moab canyons and would rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars for the Moab Area. It's too bad the approach is so long, the canyon is short or it would be 5 out of 5 stars. The area also has potential for 2-3 more canyons which I am excited to return and explore.

    DSCN3921 (1500x905).
    2nd rappel.

    DSCN3929 (1125x1500).
    Second rappel.

    DSCN3948 (1125x1500).
    Last rappel.

    After the canyon, we ended up rock climbing and bagging some towers before the weather rolled in. The trip ended with 4 unexpected new tower summits. So much for a sole canyoneering trip. Maybe next time....

    Whisper Canyon Web.
    Erik, Dan Ransom, Ali Miller and 10 others like this.
  2. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Without giving away the canyon, which area is it in? I think I recognize it.
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  3. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    Looks fun and love the triple arch....

    Might grooving the bridge (red oval) be avoided by rapping through the hole (green arrow)? Pull issues?

    rope.
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  4. Furthermore

    Furthermore

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    Scott - Not giving away the area, yet.

    Hank - The quicklink is right at the lip. Also, one can stand back enough so the rope doesn't rub on anything with zero pull issues. We used a removable for that rappel. In hindsight, we probably used more trickery than necessary.
  5. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Scott - Not giving away the area, yet.

    No problem. I have a good idea of where that is and wanted to see if I'm right. Anyway, if it is the canyon I'm thinking up, I thought the lasts rappel were higher than only 70'.
  6. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    I forgot to post the annotated photo in the first place - see my first post. Anyway, just wondering about groove potential on the bridge the fellow is standing on.
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  7. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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  8. Blake Merrell

    Blake Merrell Lovin' Utah's Backcountry

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    Do owners of your book get first dibs on the beta? :D
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  9. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Looks Sweet!

    Looks like a good canyon to use a FiddleStick, which tends to minimize grooving.

    Tom
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  10. Chris Stevens

    Chris Stevens

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    What program did you use to make the profile in? Very clean looking.
  11. Furthermore

    Furthermore

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    Chris - Thanks, I use Adobe Illustrator CS6 with custom artistic brushes.
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  12. Jman

    Jman

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    Years have gone by but I haven't forgotten about this.I had an idea of the location based on your previous explorations so it got me looking on Google Earth with a few potentials locations. After scouting out other ones in the vicinity, I finally had time to make the drive up there (which isn't bad now. My Chevy Cruze made it just fine!) and confirm it with my drone.
    You can confirm its Whisper through my photos...

    (It looks like this canyon would be fun right after a rain storm in the area or when it's drier to climb out of the potholes).

    This first pic is the 2nd to last exit rappel and if you look closely, you can see some long webbing strands up there at the lip tied to those bushes back there.
    whisper canyon.JPG

    A few potholes to jump through or skirt around.
    whisper 2.JPG

    A few more potholes sections to swim through.
    whisper 3.JPG

    More potholes and a rap, maybe?
    whisper 4.JPG

    a slide down into a pool of water followed by more potholes
    whisper 5.JPG

    a bend in the canyon which contains more potholes and water sections.
    whisper 6.JPG

    this is looking in that same area but a closer view.
    whisper 7.JPG


    This last pic is the triple arch.
    whisper 8.JPG
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  13. Dan Ransom

    Dan Ransom Staff Member

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    Dang, drones take all the fun out of it don't they...

    Looks like a fun canyon though!
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  14. Jman

    Jman

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    While I disagree that they take the fun out, I think I get what you are saying. Part of the “sport” is the unknown.

    At first, I thought I “discovered” something new to explore for Moab...

    ...and then I saw the double arch and it just hit me that I remember someone talking about rappelling through a double arch in Moab years ago and then found this thread.

    The exploration is the fun part indeed, but doing this saved me a “long approach” just to confirm it.

    I found a shorter approach but of course, boots on the ground will confirm that or not, and plan to go back in a few months and test it out.

    And that’s where the real fun begins - doing a canyon! (whether it’s a dud, meh, or epic one).



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  15. rawtrails

    rawtrails

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    Looks like a great time. Holler when it’s dumping. I’d love to scope it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  16. Furthermore

    Furthermore

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    I guess a little persistence paid off! That is indeed Whisper Canyon.

    I don't know how many canyons I have scouted via running/scrambling only to find out they're duds; the drone is a nice trick, oh, technology these days. I'll admit those photos are pretty neat.

    Now that the canyon will soon be let out of the bag so to speak, I hope everyone is able to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the canyon as we did. I'm a little worried about rope grooving on the arch. The approach isn't too difficult but isn't as straight forward as many and I'm curious how you'll approach it. Sometimes the better approaches are figured out through someone else.
  17. LoganDg

    LoganDg

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    We finally found our way to this one. It is quite a gem! Pools, a bit of stemming, even a potential keeper. We were thrown off the scent bcs we mistakenly were looking in the park. Then we got tipped off to the location of the triple arch and finally found it. The drive is not bad now. The dirt road has been graded so you probably don't even need 4WD. The approach is convoluted, yet very scenic. Once we dropped in to Whispers we explored a few of the slots formed by cross joints just before and after the triple arch rappel. A fun and rare opportunity for stemming in Moab. While the potholes were not in keeper mode for us, they could be some day. In all, we found 6 technical canyon routes in the immediate area. It is a bit sad that two of them are online and will draw people to this off-the-beaten path area. One that is not we are calling Cat Scratch because we found mountain lion scratches on the approach. The other one we simply are referring to as Ancient Arch (a play on Ancient Art, a climbing route in Moab) bcs we found a very old and undisturbed granary. It is so far off the beaten path that we believe it could be a first canyoneering descent as well. We assume Lin and Dean have been all around this area many years ago so ours are probably not FD's, but these are the names we are using amongst ourselves. As of now, they are "show-don't-tell" routes like Whispers.

    Hard to capture all three arches (bridges) in one photo from above
    IMG_3065.
    IMG_3095.
    Optional bridging adds to the fun
    IMG_3105.
    The final rappel, a nice freehang
    IMG_3107.
    Optional stemming in side slots just before and after the triple arch
    IMG_3055. IMG_3032.
    Unmistakable mountain lion claw scratches on the bottom of the photo on the way to Cat Scratch Canyon
    IMG_3615.
  18. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Interesting way of complaining about drawing attention to the area, by drawing attention to it.
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