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Englestead in December

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Austin Farnworth, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. Austin Farnworth

    Austin Farnworth

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    I have been considering doing Englestead Hollow with the short exit up Orderville while i'm down in that area the week after Christmas. I know that their can be some road access issues in the winter, but as far as I've seen, there hasn't been that much snow down there yet. Does anyone happen to know to conditions of the dirt roads up there?
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    The "up" route is surprisingly long, and includes a climb at the BoundaryLine Boulder that could be challenging if iced up.

    So far no snow on the roads. And really, it is the North Fork Road, rather than the tiny roads that access Mystery Canyon for instance.

    You can always call the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort and ask if they have any snow up there.

    Tom
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  3. Austin Farnworth

    Austin Farnworth

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    The ice sounds a bit sketchy! with the lack of snow do you think Not Imlay could be doable?
  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Not Imlay makes a good summer canyon because it gets a fair amount of shade. Then again, without snow, there is very little water to freeze, so... Maybe.

    Our first rule of canyoneering in winter is to ONLY do canyons you have done before. Have you done these? I realize that without snow, you might mistake the situation to be not-winter... but even without snow, conditions are harsh, winter rules still appropriate.

    T
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  5. Austin Farnworth

    Austin Farnworth

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    I haven't done either canyon, though I feel that navigation and logistics would not be an issue for me. I'm somewhat familiar with the approach to Not Imlay and have great navigational resources. Winter conditions in the canyon would be the greatest concern, though I would enjoy the added challenge of it as long as it doesn't become stupidly dangerous.
  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    "Our first rule of canyoneering in winter is to ONLY do canyons you have done before."

    Some things that are non-obstacles or almost un-noticeable in summer, can be serious problems in winter. Thus, it helps to have done the canyon, and be able to review it in your mind, and to know what is ahead, when heading into it in winter. Certainly some exceptions apply, in North Wash. I cannot think of many canyons in Zion that can be excepted.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubris

    Added: As an example, the crux of Mystery turns out to be the place before the traverse to the anchor for the Mystery Springs rappel. Coming out of that sheltered place and the few steps on slab down to the big sandy 'pothole'. We meat-anchored all but the last person, the best climber, then JZ downclimbed 'on lead', with pro being that bolt at the start of the traverse. A trickle of water coming down from the stream channel made this simple step in summer rather treacherous in winter.

    Tom
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  7. Ram

    Ram

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    From a February 9, 2013.
    If you go, go DOWN Orderville. That is a better package. All of the warnings that Tom made still apply. You seem a strong group, for folks relatively new to the game. The "knowing" the canyon is as important as Tom implies too. Also December daylight vs. February. A fine day it was. Not all February's are alike though. So it being doable one February, does not ensure other years in February, will be reasonable.
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/best-of-2013.18959/#post-78930
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  8. Austin Farnworth

    Austin Farnworth

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    Wow those pictures are great! Did anyone on your trip use wet suits instead of dry suits? If so, how thick?
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  9. Ram

    Ram

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    I checked the full albums and what I found astounded me. One dry suit. I am guessing I was in a wet suit. The other 4 folks wore regular warm synthetics only, over their suits. I recall that there was only one spot in Englestead where we got our feet wet to below the knee. Orderville? A few deep wades and one swim. I am guessing we all had neoprene socks on. A fair share of sliding down snow. Some tough folks. I remember a minor chill clearing the first big rap, cool through the 4th rap and warm the rest of the way, minus a short shock in the swimmer in Orderville.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
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  10. bnwilso

    bnwilso

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    As always Ram's memory is astounding given the number of trips that have transpired since that February trip through Englestead. Aside from the one dry suit, others all wore the usual wetsuits (4/3 in my case) and some of us had a neoprene vests with hoods. All had substantial neoprene socks. Ram is accurate on the few pools encountered, but the snow and dripping melt water on a couple raps made the wetsuits necessary throughout, including the giant popsicle at the end of the first rap. Don't underestimate the snow and ice problems that could be present. Getting to the first anchor required a belay across a skating rink like piece of ground and I think the usual last rappel into Orderville was not attractive so we went an alternate way off the side. I also remember getting cold standing around at the junction with the Narrows before proceeding out - likely the cumulative effect of being in a wet wetsuit for quite a while.
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