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UT: San Rafael Swell Baptist Draw - 27 April 2019

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Sutitan, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. Sutitan

    Sutitan

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    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Another year, another Moab Trip. Some friends and I (and seemingly the rest of the world) try to make a trip out to Moab around the end of April. Typically we end splitting into smaller groups, doing whatever hobby we enjoy most, but everyone has seemingly enjoyed my past years canyoneering outings and they all wanted a bit more. The group decided that they all wanted to go do a canyon on Saturday, but this time they wanted a slot canyon. Knowing Moab's offerings, I knew this was going to be tough.

    I've never been to the Swell, but I know its close enough to Moab that some guides offer tours of it (Zero G), so I figured how bad can the drive be? Google was suggesting over 3 hours from camp, but by my measure, it was estimating about 1.5hrs of it to be consumed by roughly 24 miles of dirt road once you got off I-70. I took a gamble and told everyone it'd be a 2 hour drive first thing in the morning hoping that the dirt roads would be good. The drive ended up up being a hair over 2 hours. Perfect.

    The forecast was clear and was supposed to stay that way for the whole day. The past few days have been dry. the weather was warm but plenty comfortable. We we're a group of 8 people, most who have done atleast a canyon and most with some pretty climbing experience so I wasnt to worried about pace through the canyon. We began our approach, sticking to what felt like the trail for most of the time. Id be lying if I said we didnt lose it at least once. Once in the correct drainage, the excitement grew. One of the climbers spotted 2 sport routes in the canyon which I though was bizarre. seems like an awfully far way to go for what looked like a pretty mediocre slabby climb. We ran into a waist deep pool which I thought would set the tone for what we'd expect moving forward, but the remainder of the canyon was almost entirely dry.

    The first half of Baptist Draw was fun and equally as beautiful. After the 2nd rappel, we elected to go for the short route, up Chute Canyon. We were greeted by relentlessly gorgeous narrows. Id venture to say its dangerous to send a photographer up Chute Canyon as they'd just get stuck down there shooting it till they run out of food. One of my favorite parts, and something I haven't experienced a ton of is how the group came alive on the hike out. the numerous little boulder problems had everyone working like a team. We we're passing and hauling packs, dropping hand lines where needed, placing peoples feet. It was fun all around.

    It took us a hair over 5 hours to reach our car again. The hike out was a bit hot, but was a small price considering the admission. This was such a great beginner canyon, with very straight forward rappels, and was an amazing experience from start to finish.

    DSC_7542-min.
    DSC_7561-min. DSC_7468-min. DSC_7282-min. DSC_7400-min. DSC_7318-min. DSC_7341-min. DSC_7527-min. DSC_7576-min.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  2. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Did the biggest rappel still have those crappy, loose, hardware type bolts?
  3. RossK

    RossK

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    Nice photos. Thanks for sharing
  4. Sutitan

    Sutitan

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    Location:
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    That sounds about right. Im not sure I took any pictures of the anchors, but I vaguely remember inspecting it. Three bolts to some chains. Bolts didn't move at all, but definitely not flush/solid. I dont think anyone was alarmed by them by any measure.
  5. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Cue Tom and the helmet police...ha ha.

    Nice shots!
    ratagonia likes this.
  6. Sutitan

    Sutitan

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    Location:
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    I knew it was only a matter of time when I saw what photos I threw up. Worst part is that is my wife...

    She brought her helmet along for the drive and it thoroughly gets used, but didn't realize it wasn't in her bag till we were far from the cars. Im glad to report that our backseat was thoroughly protected from any potential rock falls though.
    darhawk and ratagonia like this.
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Nice pics... except for the one.

    I was expecting a tale of incredibly gross swims in nasty pools... but dry!

    T
    Bosco and Sutitan like this.
  8. yetigonecrazy1

    yetigonecrazy1

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    Location:
    Gunnison, CO
    Upper Chute is a surprisingly awesome piece of canyon. Lots of fun scrambling and some dark and narrow parts. Some of the best sandstone slot canyon photos I have ever taken are from there. 10 times better than anything in Moab (except SRG, haven't done that one yet)
    darhawk and Ram like this.
  9. VillainousTurtle

    VillainousTurtle

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    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Really pretty photos. Did you do the short route or the long route? I've always wondered which way is more scenic/ fun. Thanks for sharing your trip.
  10. Sutitan

    Sutitan

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    Location:
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    We did the short route. I haven't done the long route yet, but I can say that the large majority of the scenic slot sections occurred after the 2nd rappel (when we were ascending through the short route). The canyon does appear to widen going through the long route, but I think it narrows up a bit on and off throughout the hike out. Maybe someone else whose done it can chime in.
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