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UT: Zion Elktrap Approach to Seeps / Full Left Fork

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Yellow Dart, Sep 28, 2016.


Which of these have you done?

  1. Subway from top

  2. Das Boot and Subway

  3. Full Left Fork (Uppermost Left Fork, Das Boot, and Subway)

  4. Cocaine

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

    La Verkin
    If you're not much a reader you can check out the vid here, where all this information is compiled, and with hot pop tunes:

    On August 9th, the Full Left Fork via Wildcat Canyon was done, starting at Lava Point. This approach is 6ish miles and took us 3ish hours. On the way down, Bones and I thought we spotted what could be a pretty easy, sloped ridge drop in point. We noted it in our GPS, and I looked it up on Google Earth the next day.

    The Wildcat Canyon approach:

    3 days later, snagged two walk-ins permit for Subway, and decided to check it out.

    The ridge, as it turns out, is a perfectly sloped, very direct, easy drop down into the Upper Left Fork; and if you follow it all the way, it plops you in just below the Seeps, right before the slots start.

    The goal of this cut-across was three fold: cut time en route, cut bushwhacking, and cut time for shuttling down to Lava Point to pick up the lead vehicle (about an additional 30-40 minutes, roundtrip, beyond the Wildcat parking lot). Having read one of @Ram 's old TRs about Full Left via Hammerhead, he mentioned it usually takes about 3 hours to the Seeps if the group is proficient on ropes; so Bones and I were happy to be hitting the Seeps at 2 hours flat, while having not really rushed.

    We named it Elktrap because when looking down on it from above, it has a very similar aesthetic to Deertrap Mountain (when viewed from offtrail, facing south towards Spry). And though we saw no deer, we ran across a bachelor group of 6 bull elk, all mature, and one had a monster of a rack; good thing for him it’s a felony to poach in the park, or Bones would be all over that bad boy this fall.

    Deertrap Mountain:

    Elktrap Ridge:

    Elk #1 (not the monster):

    The beta for this route you can see in the pictures, but here’s the text of it:
    Depart the Wildcat Canyon TH parking lot heading east. You’ll hit the Northgate Peaks (/Subway) junction at 1 mile. Go an additional 1.5 miles to a large open meadow, with a rather large shrub (looks like tree on Google Earth); this meadow’s trail, entered from its west, runs straight east toward the shrub, where it then curves north (toward the apex of Wildcat Canyon) around the big shrub. To here is about 2.5mi all on good trail, 45min.

    Da Shrub:

    From the shrub, turn south real subtle like and just B-line it up the hill to Pt.7635, about 300’ gain over 1/2ish mile (while you can skirt around, it to the west, there is much brush on that face, the likes of which are similar to the off-ridge approach to Checkerboard Canyon; not fun). From the peak, looking south, you can plainly see where the mesa ends (with views of Wildcat Canyon, East and West Temples, and Greatheart Mesa looming over the Left Fork). From here, B-line it to the southern tip of the mesa. At the point where you drop and start down the slope, it’s 1.4mi from the big shrub where you left the WC Trail, about 35min.

    From Pt.7635, looking south:

    After you hop off the mesa (several suitable places to downclimb/scramble) just follow the ridge down, down, down to the Left Fork. Roughly 1.3mi and 40ish min. All told, 5.2mi and 2 hours; no brush, and only the 300’ of gain.

    The Whole Route:
    via elktrap.

    That’s it for new beta, the rest is just basic descent of Uppermost Left Fork, Das Boot, and Subway (at that time, still the Sandway).

    Keyhole sanded in:

    Subway Exit:

    Personal aside: Having found this convenient approach, I don’t think I’ll ever do standard Subway again; seeing as so easily the Full Left can be done in 8 hours with no additional shuttle time.
    ratagonia, townsend, gajslk and 2 others like this.
  2. deathtointernet


    Very interesting, I myself have looked at that ridge several times while in the area, and on the maps, and wondered about giving it a go. Good info.
  3. dakotabelliston

    dakotabelliston Living life to it's fullest

    Spanish Fork, UT
    This is awesome !!!

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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