[Moderator Note - Topic Split from Pothole Escaping For Dummies] Hmmmm. I know what you mean. Here's my story from my first pothole canyon (which does not help much): June 1999. Quandary Canyon. After victory in Knotted Rope Canyon the week before, Quandary was supposed to be cake. At least as described in the book. Owen and I got up early and headed down. After a couple short rappels and a nice bit of scrambling, Steve Allen's route exits the canyon up a gulley to the left, avoiding the difficulties below. We were there for the full meal deal, so we looked downcanyon and decided to give it a go. We had a drill, a few baby angles, a full length rope and good solid climber's egos. First was a small pothole and a 40 foot rappel. I placed an anchor out of sight from the canyon above, to avoid tempting the unwary. We rapped to the slab below. Slabs led to potholes, swims and progressively harder beached whale moves out the other side, another short rappel into a pool and a short, cold swim. Then we came to a thirty foot downclimb into a large pothole, and another rap into a pool out of sight below. The first pool did not look inviting - the lip on the far side looked kind of tall to get out of, and the neck between that and the rappel beyond was pretty slender. I climbed up a slab on the right and traversed over the pool as far as I could. Thankfully, my little stance was shaded, and I quickly placed a drilled angle in the soft Navajo sandstone. I hoped I got it out far enough to get past the first pool, onto the neck, then down to the second pool below. It's always scary leaning back on a single point anchor. But it sounded good when I pounded it home, so - down I go. I try to stick the diagonal rappel, but as I get lower, I discover the wall is more undercut that I had appreciated. I realize this and loose my stick at the same moment, so now I'm hanging free. The Alpine Bod is not too comfortable, so I head down into the water, trying to swing along the wall at the bottom to get to the neck, but the vectors just ain't cooperating. I drop into the pool. The lip is big, and I know we're in trouble. Also, for the first time, the pool is deep enough that I cannot feel the bottom anywhere. So I tread water, try to dump the pack and release the rappel. The swirling motion of my treading tends to wrap the rope around my legs, and the water is cold. Real cold. Hmmm, not going well. I disengage from the pack and the rope, and swim to the lip. It is about two feet past my outstretched hand, and very smooth. Baby bottom smooth. I surge out of the water and gain another 6 inches. The 70 degree angle of the exit slope makes it harder - it is difficult to get any kind of surge onto it. Owen downclimbs the chimney and drops into the hole. Comes over to join me, recognizes the situation. My immediate thought is to tie off my pack, toss it over the lip, and use the tension on the rope to get to the lip. I dig out a biner, free up some rope and tie off the pack. I lift it up to toss it, and sink down to my chin. Hmmm. I can toss it about 6 inches - that's not going to work. Owen tries to stick the slab moves, and has success similar to mine. He pulls up on the rope and tries the 5.12 traverse. No luck. We still have the rap rope above us, but I don't look forward to digging out slings and setting up prussiks. I'm also worried about dropping and losing the drill or any other essential gear. There is a sling around a natural arch at the back of the pothole, near the downclimb. I'm worried about the situation getting out of control. I ask Owen to go back to the sling and get himself out of the water. No use both of us going hypothermic at once. (I forget that I have all the slings, thus inflicting a heel hook and 5.10 resting position on Owen). I grab the rope and get my torso out of the water, and do some swinging back and forth that, while futile, at least warms me up. I leave the rope and try the lip again. There is a sloping hold about 6" under the water, but it's coated with mud. I work vigorously at scrubbing the mud off. I get a little mantle going on it, but it does not help much. I try again and again - hey, it's something to do. I can get my foot about two inches below the mantle hold, but then I fall out of balance backward. After about 10 tries, I start trying my knee. Better! On the fifth try, I stick it long enough to shoot my right hand up to a ripple on the wall above. "Owen - give me a push". Owen swims over and gives me the best nudge he can. Just enough to hold me in balance - I shoot my left hand up to a sharper edge near the top. Stick! I clutch upward, grab the top, then majorly thrutch onto the neck. Owen passes the packs up, then we yank him out of there. We rap to the slabs below, and bask in the sun to warm up. Another rappel, a couple of small potholes, and we return to the "normal" part of the canyon. The rest of the canyon was uneventful. In retrospect, we were lucky to escape. Yes, I could have prussiked the rope and placed an anchor further left, assuming I set up the prussiks without dropping anything important. Yes, we should have had more gear, and had the gear to jug the rope ready at hand, clipped to the harness. And I should have been more cautious about dropping into the pothole, once I realized I wasn't going to make the neck. Live and learn.