I am beginning a new thread that deals with specific issues related to canyoneering in the Fiery Furnace in Arches NP, however this also ties in with the recent thread titled Canyoneering in Arches NP. You may want to read both posts. Two of us from the Grand Junction area visited the Fiery Furnace in Arches NP in November and had the opportunity to meet with two park officials at the Abbey Arch location on the “Lomatium” route As many of you are aware, the park has recently implemented new regulations that affect both rock climbing and canyoneering. One of the most significant new rules prevents climbing on any arch and/or anchoring off an arch. Many who have done this route in the past have used Abbey Arch as the anchor for the 135’ rappel. This was typically done by using a long sling or rope in a retrievable setup that went around the arch. This is no longer allowed. Our purpose in meeting with park officials was to determine an approved method for anchoring and to discuss locations for descending near Abbey Arch that would not cause any further resource damage and would help keep this route open for further use by the canyoneering community. Here is a summary of what we learned on this visit: What is not allowed: Using devices like potshots and sandtraps is not allowed because they require digging in and displacing sand & rocks. Also, the new regulations make it clear that deadman and/or cairn type anchors are not allowed within the park Anchoring webbing left behind such as around the boulders under Abbey Arch, or around the pinyon tree behind the arch, or the juniper tree up the wash a short distance, when found by the park service will be removed. Such material is considered “New Fixed Gear,” which is not allowed. Worn webbing on established/park-sanctioned routes may be replaced but must match as close as possible the rock color. In general, it is preferred that no rappelling be done from the immediate area of Abbey Arch as part of the resource management goals. This would include rapping from the boulders under the arch or rapping from the pinyon tree behind the arch even with a fiddlestick type device. Any method used here will either leave webbing behind or result over the long term in grooving on or around the arch. What is allowed: Fully retrievable anchor setups: Rapping from the large juniper back up the wash, from about 30 feet before the wash spills over the edge using a retrievable setup or fiddlestick type device. This takes any potential damage away from the arch. Some grooving may result. There are already some grooves there. Set up your anchor to reduce rope drag across the rock as much as possible. Back away from the canyon wall on the pull to reduce grooving on the pull. (not much room for this) Either method of anchoring, know what you are doing! An anchor failure here will be catastrophic. Life threatening injury is likely. A bolted setup: We discussed possible locations to place a two-bolt setup with a chain somewhere in the same vicinity as described in #1 above. (Where the wash empties over the edge.) Our take-away impression was that a bolted anchor in some location may be favored as a long-term solution. It would minimize resource damage and provide the safest and least obtrusive option. Those not wishing to use the bolts have the other option listed above. It is up to “the canyoneering community” to come up with possible locations for bolt placement and we can make more than one suggestion for anchoring alternatives. Also, it will be up to us to actually place the bolts. To have bolts placed at that location requires an approval procedure by the park. I am initiating that effort now with the assistance of some others. It could take up to two months to be approved once submitted. While I generally agree with the “no bolt” ethic that has become the norm for canyoneering, this is a unique situation brought about by the change in park regulations and seems to be the best long-term solution that will help keep this route open and descending safe for everyone. A cooperative effort from the canyoneering community is the key here. Comments & discussion are welcome and should consider these three areas: resource protection, visual impact and visitor use. One other note: Regulations for the Fiery Furnace specify a group limit of 6. If you arrive with a larger group, they must be split into two or more units so as to not exceed the requirement. In addition, those groups MUST remain separate throughout the trip. If they are found together, they will be viewed as being in violation of the group size regulations. The same rule would apply in other areas as well such as the Lost Spring complex. (Not related to the Lomatium route, but important to have clarified – the Dragonfly route will remain open. The regulation against going through water-filled potholes does not apply to those potholes which have a regular inflow & outflow, typically found in a water course like Dragonfly.) Our thanks to those park officials who were willing to meet with us and cordially discuss the new regulations and how they apply to canyoneering in the Furnace and throughout the park. I believe our discussions have had very positive outcomes.