Send us a suggestion!

Bolts @ Lower Calf Creek Falls

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by a.c, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. a.c

    a.c canyonhermit

    Messages:
    14
    Likes:
    22
    Location:
    Boulder, UT
    The other day while peering over the lip of the Lower Calf Falls I noticed a couple of bolts (adorned with some poorly arranged webbing) on a ledge about twenty feet down on the right (LDC). An intermediate station which keeps one out of the main flow I suspect. Does anyone out there know who installed these or use these? I'd like to get the community's feelings on their potential removal or reasons to leave them The Box Elder tree ~50' back from the lip of the falls seems to be the most commonly used anchor which myself and other locals clean hundreds of feet of webbing from annually. At least so far this year folks have been kind enough to use discreet webbing colors. -Adam

    Attached Files:

    • P7200014.JPG
      Filename:
      P7200014.JPG
      File size:
      1.7 MB
      Views:
      0
    • P7200015.JPG
      Filename:
      P7200015.JPG
      File size:
      3.3 MB
      Views:
      0
  2. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

    Messages:
    961
    Likes:
    1,008
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Can this anchor/webbing be seen from the bottom of the falls?
  3. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

    Messages:
    916
    Likes:
    538
    Location:
    Colorado
    weird, it seems harder to place bolts then setup a good retrevable anchor...
    Ram likes this.
  4. Ram

    Ram

    Messages:
    2,330
    Likes:
    4,268
    Brian and all

    I would say those bolts or webbing would not be visible from below. That of course means it is likely not extended out far enough to not cause damage. The pull is difficult if not done right. I vaguely remember a discussion of theses bolts and that some are doing the drop as two separate rappels. It got just a little heated, but not over the top? Anyone else remember? I do know that land managers have removed bolts from the top of the falls on two separate occasions, separated by about 8 years or so. There has always been a question as to the legality of rapping the falls and it was advised by people on the inside, that a low key, don't ask, don't tell approach is best, as formal closure remains a tool in the hands of the land managers and with so many hikers below, a real possibility. Play nice. Play quiet. Play mid week. Play off hours.
    Deagol, Jolly Green and Bootboy like this.
  5. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

    Messages:
    1,292
    Likes:
    989
    Bogley has some good information on this, and advice on the "do" and "do not". Agree to keep this very low impact, and prepare your trip with care as to preserve this for others. I hope to do it one day.
  6. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

    Messages:
    961
    Likes:
    1,008
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Mildly warm, but, in no way heated. I think Tom mentioned to "consider them gone" and maybe removed the bolts or no?

    Yeah, not on my radar. Either way.

    Wouldn't be too hard to do a bungee cord type arrangement that pulls webbing out from the edge to hide it from below. But, just not doing it would be an option too. I can't imagine there's never a crowd there. Maybe mid week in the off season.

    Stunt rappel for sure. Aren't they all? Ha ha...
    gajslk and Ram like this.
  7. Ram

    Ram

    Messages:
    2,330
    Likes:
    4,268
    Stunt for sure. And yeah pretty much all of them rappel things. Long time now that the actual rapping has been the least interesting part of canyoneering for me. Only time 100% gear dependent. Feel the same about it in the mountains. Dangerous necessity at times. We were doing that drop in the mid 90's and we always had half the group not interested in sliding down a rope at that drop. They hauled the rope out for us.

    The hike down to the upper falls, first above then below the falls is lovely. Then down the 3 miles to the top of the lower falls is a great day, especially in the heat of late spring thru early fall. Lots of shade and water. The first part of the hike from upper to lower falls is special. second half ordinary forested stream until the final few tenths of a mile where is turns very nice again. Great alcove camping along the way. If one retreats from the lower falls, there is a class 3 and class 4 weaknesses right near where one would first consider it first possible, going up canyon on the right. Several ways take you up to the Hogback AKA Haymaker Bench, the narrow ridge with the road. Very worthwhile in of itself.

    Story time? Maybe around 2000? We were at the top of the falls. A couple came over to the lip The gal was not happy with the guy and was letting him know it. No idea what it was about. About 5 feet from the drop, she slips. BAM, right down to her butt and starts sliding toward the drop. I mean she was as good as GONE! The guy, dives down on her, stops her, helps her get up and then she just wailed on him. HARD full swing punch that connected to his shoulder. Yelled at him and I quote. "YOU HURT MY ARM!!" He timidly says he is sorry, with his head down and slinks off behind her as she heads away from the falls. My partners and I just looked at each other slack jawed. "Did that really just happen?" It did.
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    4,568
    Likes:
    5,612
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    All canyoneering is a stunt. The Lower Calf Creek Falls stunt is a great one. In July, one of the only reasonable things to do in Escalante.

    Bolts in canyons - pretty much any bolts - should be considered temporary. They can be removed by natural or human processes at any time. People who rely on bolts being in place are called "rescue bait". Next time I go there, I will maybe remove those bolts. Some consider them sacred objects -- I do not.

    :moses:
    EvergreenDean, Ram and a.c like this.
  9. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

    Messages:
    1,438
    Likes:
    1,698
    Or €€ :)
  10. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

    Messages:
    961
    Likes:
    1,008
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Concur. Very worthwhile. Used to be a bit more off the radar. Still...probably not commonly done or known. That little pothole section is sublime.

    Folks, right or wrong, have an expectation of anchorage in canyons known to have such. Whether its material for a deadman, stumps, chockstone, or, fixed gear. Sure, nature can remove or change a situation from time-to-time. But, when a person does it, on purpose, and either adds or removes anchors and/or anchor options, then, they've interjected themselves into the situation. Responsibility. For some, its a heavy burden. For others...who don't see anchor solutions as "sacred objects", then, maybe they should consider their actions carefully before labelling people with an expectation of anchors as "rescue bait". Smacks of, what? Elitism, ego, playing god, arrogance?
    LonePeak and hlscowboy like this.
  11. Ram

    Ram

    Messages:
    2,330
    Likes:
    4,268
    The little pothole section at the bottom is lovely. I am partial to the moss covered stream bed below the upper falls. When the tree cover is in full, you can see no evidence that red rock or a desert lurks just 100 feet away. Seen cat tracks in there quite often. Methinks it sees plenty of traffic, as the trails in the 2nd half of the hike are quite established and have been so for many years. Probably not canyoneer traffic.

    As to the anchor....let hyperbole rain from every tree top!!! Kidding aside, the few bolted anchors up top, over the years, were taken out by rangers long ago. One has to build an anchor up top to get to the station with the bolts, about a 1/4 of the way down. The bolts are off the fall line from the top. The ledge is SUPER slick and for the life of me I don't understand why anyone would do it as two raps. If the water is that high, the top part would be dangerous anyway. Sixty meter ropes do it from the top. Using the bolts just adds additional exposure to risk.

    Above the upper falls
    [​IMG]

    down from the upper falls
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lower potholes
    [​IMG]
  12. wisconnyjohnny

    wisconnyjohnny

    Messages:
    175
    Likes:
    136
    Just curious how big the wall is to the east of the falls. About 200 ft over?
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    4,568
    Likes:
    5,612
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Very difficult to parse your question.

    From the top of the falls (and back 20 feet to the tree) to the bottom of the falls is pretty close to 200 feet. Clambering east from the top of the falls, one quickly gets to steep loose terrain. Very dangerous, you go first.

    Tom
  14. hlscowboy

    hlscowboy

    Messages:
    51
    Likes:
    31
    Location:
    Cedar City, UT
    It is true that bolts can be damaged or removed by natural processes. It is equally true that many people rely on beta that references such bolts and likely lack the skills necessary to deal with a set of missing bolts where they believe a set will be. Intentionally removing bolts that others may be relying on is intentionally creating a potentially dangerous situation for someone else. Rope can also be damaged by natural processes, yet none of us would consider nicking another canyoneer's rope on the sly to teach them how to deal with a core shot. Although the bolts are not sacred, showing respect and concern for others who enjoy the sport, even those that are less experienced and trained should be. I don't see how intentionally creating a situation that make the situation potentially more dangerous for another person is in harmony with ethical canyoneering.
    LonePeak likes this.
  15. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

    Messages:
    1,204
    Likes:
    1,098
    Intentionally removing bolts that others may be relying on is intentionally creating a potentially dangerous situation for someone else.

    In the case of Calf Creek I believe repelling the falls is illegal now, so it shouldn't be an issue.

    It is equally true that many people rely on beta that references such bolts and likely lack the skills necessary to deal with a set of missing bolts where they believe a set will be.

    Although bolts certainly have their place, people who do not have the skills necessary to do a canyon without a bolt probably shouldn't be doing any canyons anyway. Even if you plan on using bolts, learn natural anchor skills as a backup before doing any canyons.

    There really aren't many canyons where having a bolt is assured. Canyon such as some of the Zion trade routes are exceptions.

    There are plenty of canyons with dangerous poorly placed bolts (or poorly placed natural anchors). You should be able to make your own anchor in case the anchor in a canyon is in poor condition.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
    Ram likes this.
  16. Ram

    Ram

    Messages:
    2,330
    Likes:
    4,268
    In this case....we are talking about this specific situation, right? The bolt was placed illegally even when rapping the falls was legal. It was removed by rangers before the rap became illegal. There is a LOT of anchoring options there. The canyon is totally and easily reversible there. There is NO danger here, even for the rank novice.

    Entering any canyon without the resources to solve missing anchors, regardless of the reason they are gone, I THINK should be the focus here. Or so it seems to me. Going into a canyon dependent on anchors that one "read about" is "faith based canyoneering." VERY dangerous.

    There are so many places now where bolting is illegal or requires special permits now. There is so much new knowledge, options and methods for anchoring, many with the eye toward leaving nothing behind, that reduces impacts (i.e. pulling ropes thru rings). In Yosemite and other places, pitons were once the norm. Now cams are. Its an evolution and many innovators right here on this board have led the way. Is there danger in the learning curve? Yes! Canyoning is a gravity sport. No one was an expert at cams when they first used them. I appreciate that new tricks always encounter resistance. We humans like our comfort zones. Change is a constant. I think the move toward removable and retrievable anchoring is the wave of the future and I salute it, especially for its inherent potential to reduce impacts.
    Ram
  17. Ram

    Ram

    Messages:
    2,330
    Likes:
    4,268
    BTW...the closure of this canyon to rappelling is a complex issue. It is a crowded venue. It is a Utah iconic location etc.. But the land managers have to be held accountable to following their own rules and protocols. There is real concern that may not have happened here. More later.

    How about a few pictures of what it was like
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
    Sandstone Addiction likes this.
  18. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    4,568
    Likes:
    5,612
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    This is the "Argument of the Sacred Bolt". It's a free country, you can believe this if you want.

    My general rule, as the most active bolt remover in Utah, is that new bolts in well-travelled canyons are generally removed as soon as possible. Old bolts are left in place. Exceptions apply.

    I think the overall system is safer when beginners learn that bolts are not available at every drop as early in their career as possible.

    Tom
    Sandstone Addiction likes this.
  19. hlscowboy

    hlscowboy

    Messages:
    51
    Likes:
    31
    Location:
    Cedar City, UT
    I saw the thread when it popped up in my unread posts feed. It wasn't until after the various responses that I realized that the original conversation was in 2014 (I learned today that the dates don't show up until I hover my mouse over the post). So you're right it makes the discussion regarding Calf Creek rather moot.

    Scott, I completely agree. My point is that we all know that many people will do, even if they should not. Knowing that less prepared people will be making such attempts, creates some moral obligation on the rest of us to not intentionally interfere with anchors that others may be relying upon without taking into consideration how it will impact the less than prepared, a question that was not considered in the prior conversation. Should they do it? No. But equally we should not create a more dangerous situation for them simply because they are not as knowledgeable and experienced.
  20. hlscowboy

    hlscowboy

    Messages:
    51
    Likes:
    31
    Location:
    Cedar City, UT
    I'm smart enough to know I'm not going to change your mind, but I must say I can not see how it makes the overall system safer by forcing less experienced people to learn things in ways that could be dangerous to them.
Similar Threads: Bolts Lower
Forum Title Date
General Discussion Rock of Ages/Pool Arch Canyon bolts chopped Mar 18, 2019
General Discussion Excess bolts in pleadies canyon moab Sep 13, 2018
General Discussion "Some" photos of the current bolts in Zero G Sep 2, 2017
Trip Reports Jacob Canyon April 2017 (new bolts) Aug 28, 2017
Tech Tips and Gear How do I inspect bolts? What if the hanger spins? Jun 20, 2017
Tech Tips and Gear Surely three bolts are better than two? Oct 17, 2016