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Escalante Neon/Choprock/Ringtail Conditions 2017

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by JClery, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. JClery


    Escalante, Utah
    A few friends and I went to do Neon/Ringtail/Choprock this weekend. Woke up to snow in Escalante on Saturday morning and the adventure began on the ride to the trailhead, lots of mud but nothing too bad that my Tacoma and 4WD couldn't handle. It was an interesting trip that started with helping out some hikers stuck on the other side of the river as it spiked Saturday AM, the skies were clear by now but the river was chest deep and moving really fast. We had wetsuits and were able to swim the river but set up a guideline to get the other group and their packs across before we headed to Ringtail.

    Ringtail was tip top full and cold, 4-5mm wetsuits kept us warm enough though. No potholes techniques needed as they were all full of water.

    Sunday was sunny and warm and we headed over to Choprock. We had real light water flow through the entire canyon and a little bit of a late start (we hit the technical section at 11:30) so we had a good bit of sun through the Grim section making it feel a bit more happy than grim, several exceptions of course. Despite having some flow and all of the pools being full, I could tell the water was down about 2 feet in many spots from my last trip in the fall. I didn't have to swim under any log jams like last time and there are a few pothole arches that were above the water level that I'm use to seeing underwater. There is a pothole you can climb into using a log jam to discover a secret door into a tight swimming slot. That log is now gone making the climb into the pothole very difficult if at all possible and opening the entire side of the pothole up to the slot, making the secret door not so secret anymore. The final rappel was spectacular while we were showered by a gentle waterfall. We were all pretty comfy in 5mm wetsuits and 2 of us were very glad to have some neoprene gloves for all of the swimming. We were a group of 3, 3 hour approach from the mouth of Neon, 5 hours in the tech and 1.5 hours back to camp with the river levels back down to thigh to knee deep, no swimming required.

    With the weather looking threatening and some light rain we decided not to push our luck in a full pool Neon with the ground completely saturated. We hiked up to the cathedral before heading home and saw that Neon was trickling, so it must be completely full as well.

    We were happy to find the river crossing to get to the b-line route was only knee deep but it was a cruel joke as the beach at our exit was deep quicksand, luckily we had a nice tall dipstick name Grant to show us where not to go.

    I've posted a few photos on Instagram,
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
    bhalvers2002 and EvergreenDean like this.
  2. Canyonero


    Whoops, missed the date.
  3. Brent McBride

    Brent McBride

    @JClery , a group of 3 of us are doing Choprock canyon May 10ish and we have yet to do this canyon previously. We have 4/3 wetsuits, 2mm socks and 2mm gloves. We have read how cold this particular canyon can be, and would like input from someone like yourself who has done it multiple times. We have 2mm shorties we could potentially wear under neath the 4/3 if needed. Thoughts on the suit, gloves and socks? I'm concerned the gloves and socks may be a little light-duty.

    Any tips on this this canyon?
  4. Canyonero


    I was there yesterday. 4/3 seems a little skimpy (I was in a suit that I think is 6/5.) I wear 5 mm socks and my feet weren't cold at all. I wasn't wearing much for gloves (little throwaway home depot ones) and my hands were a little cold. I bet you can get away with the gloves/socks. But I think you'll be shivering in a 4/3.

    But I run cold. If you're the type that is always wearing less than your partners, 4/3 may be okay. Maybe. But I'd try wearing that shorty with it at home and see how it feels. I couldn't get a shorty inside my suit. I can barely get me in it with someone else helping.

    I have probably done 75-100 canyons. This is the coldest water I have encountered in a canyon during what I consider canyoneering season. And you're in it for a long time. So take whatever the coldest canyon you've done is, make it a little colder, and plan on a dozen 100 foot swims in it. Now what do you wish you were wearing?
    Brent McBride likes this.
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