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Conditions at Zion North Fork road & Englestead?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Anna, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. Anna

    Anna

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    Has anyone visited the North Fork road recently? Any idea how the snowmelt is progressing in Englestead & Birch Hollow?
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  2. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    My initial thoughts would be as long as it hasn't rained the road should be in pretty good shape. I would bet based on other canyon conditions, that Englestead will still have quite a bit of snow and ice in. The big wall rap can have some dangerous ice at certain times of the year. Birch should be in pretty good shape. I have not been there, but have been in other canyons and talked with others that have been in the area.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
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  3. cboswel1

    cboswel1

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    The North Fork Rd. is currently passable all the way to C.R. It's really rutted, so high clearance would be a bonus. Private groups and guides are currently using Birch with no reports of serious snow melt/ice. No word on Englestead, unfortunately.
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  4. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Did Birch this last Sunday.
    Road was rutted but dry.
    No snow in canyon but a little mud that could be avoided.
    Wild Wind exit in good shape.
    :D
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  5. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Heard that Bluu Gnome and crew did Echo! o_O
    Any details??????????
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  6. Anna

    Anna

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    Cool, sounds beautiful. You didn't happen to walk over and take a peek into Englestead, did you? I'd love to visit it this weekend, but not if the conditions are similar to this time of year in 2010...
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  7. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Being cautious this spring...
    Have seen some exciting photos of people crawling under / rappelling over
    unstable looking snow formations...
    Like you, we are waiting for some bold folks to tell us the coast is clear!
    :D
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  8. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    I know Kip just did Checkerboard and there was still a lot of snow in there
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  9. Anna

    Anna

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    Huh, interesting. Is there a different exit that doesn't go out the Narrows? We were thinking about Checkerboard too, but the Narrows has been closed for a while now.
  10. Anna

    Anna

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    Yeah...those half-frozen rotten snow formations are so scary...don't want to break through them. If there's enough time, we'll walk out there and check out Englestead (and put up pictures here if there's anything of note), but probably just do Birch Hollow unless the beginning of Englestead looks really clear.
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  11. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    It only closed after the last rain / snow. We were in the narrows a couple weeks ago with no issues whatsoever. Conditions change a lot this time of year
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  12. Anna

    Anna

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    For anyone who is interested, I visited Englestead this past Saturday (April 23). I compared the snow visible from the rim then to the same time of year in 2010, which was a huge snow year. See this thread for a discussion of the snow in Englestead in 2010.

    Snow present on 4-25-2010. This picture was NOT taken by me but by Bill from the Yahoo canyoneering forum, whose photos are linked in the thread above. Apparently a descent of Englestead would have been very dangerous or impossible in these conditions due to the huge amounts of snow, ice, and flowing water.
    4-25-10+004.

    Snow present on 4-23-2016, taken by me. Much less snow than in the picture above. There were still appreciable snow bridges present in the non-technical narrows section between the two technical portions, but they did not seem rotten and held our weight. Four of us were able to descend Englestead without problems, taking the Wild Wind Hollow exit (which was in good shape as mentioned in an earlier comment here) for a trip of 8.5 hours car-to-car.
    2016-04-23Englestead.

    If any of you are interested, I can post more pictures of how the snow looked in these conditions once I've gotten the rest of my pictures together.
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  13. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Location:
    Woodland Hills, UT
    Pics are always appreciated @Anna especially ones that differ from the typical conditions most people see in the canyons, thanks in advance.
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  14. Anna

    Anna

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    Okay, here are some pictures of the snow in Englestead. Just about all of it was found in the non-technical narrows between the two widely-spaced technical sections. I would estimate that the tallest snow pile we saw was about 8-10 feet tall. Most were about 3-5 feet tall and were easily walked on the day of our descent. Compared to the February descent of Echo that's posted on here, it was nothing.

    The first place we saw snow in the canyon was at the bottom of rappel 4, at the end of the first technical section. Just a tiny pile lingering in the corner. The second technical section didn't have any snow that I recall.
    DSCN1110.

    At the beginning of the non-technical narrows section, we needed to walk on the snow piles.
    DSCN1114.

    DSCN1120.

    DSCN1121.

    DSCN1115.

    The whole narrows didn't look like it did at the beginning, only a few parts were completely clogged with snow piles. Much of our hike was clear of snow, or only had some drifts against the walls that could be walked around easily.
    DSCN1127.

    DSCN1129.

    DSCN1134.

    DSCN1146.

    Later in the canyon was possibly the largest pile of snow we encountered, maybe 10 feet tall. This is one of the few places I felt nervous about walking on top of the snow and potentially breaking through it. It was solid enough when we visited, but I don't know how it will melt out.
    DSCN1137.

    Finally, we saw another relatively huge snow pile that was dirtier than the rest and contained many shattered pieces of a tree. Because none of us had visited Englestead before this trip, we didn't know if this broken tree was there last year -- it looked pretty fresh to us. We guessed that snow falling from above might have knocked a tree into the narrows.
    DSCN1177.
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  15. Taylor

    Taylor

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    Thanks for the report Anna. We will be doing Englestead in a couple weeks, weather permitting.
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