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First Canyons after a break

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MitchXV, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. MitchXV

    MitchXV

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    When I was in my late teens (I'm 24 now) I did a lot of canyons with Rob, some of you may know him. (Imlay and Leprechaun were some of my favorites). Ive read most if not all of Tom's stuff as of late. In the last few years I've been doing a lot of sport climbing (5.10-5.11 level) Anyway, I was pretty good at canyoneering when I did it a lot (under competent leadership). That being said, I understand how to rappel and do basic rope work (single strand with binder block and double strand) I know how to make anchors with webbing given it's a more common situation. (Never done a Deadman or Carin anchor or a sandbag anchor). I've done some easy 2 rated canyons recently. I'm wanting to get back into it with some other climbers with a little less canyoneering experience than me (level 2 canyons only). That being said they are all athletic and competent climbers. So according to Toms guide, level 3 canyons are a good place to start with said experience and having done several level 2 canyons with ease. So my actual question is what are some good level 3 canyons in Utah for our experience level. Sorry for the long post.


    TLDR; Good level 3 canyons for someone getting back into the sport who is climbing proficient with past canyoneering experience via a competent leader.
  2. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    Where are you based
  3. MitchXV

    MitchXV

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    I am in Utah County
  4. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    The problem is that when nothing goes wrong, it takes very little expertise to do a level 3 canyon. When something does go wrong (rope stuck for instance), you often need level 4 skills to get out of it. Don't underestimate the value of competent leadership. If you don't have it, become it ASAP.

    But if you've been down Imlay, you have a pretty good idea of what canyoneering is, at least from fixed anchors. Just think about all the things that could go wrong and figure out what you would do in those situations. When you have a solution for all of them, then you are likely competent. Here's a partial list to get you started:

    Rope core shot
    Rope stuck
    Broken ankle
    Hair/shirt caught in rappel device 30 feet below you on a free hanging rappel.
    Unexpected pothole
    No fixed anchor at a drop
    200 foot drop and 150 foot ropes
    Only a sand anchor and pothole is full of water
    Bad sling on an anchor
    Hypothermic teammate
    Unexpected 5th class climbing required

    I have had all of these happen to my group at some point or another. If you don't know how to handle them and you are the leader, you're rolling the dice every time you go out. The solutions are not complicated, but you'd be surprised how few canyoneers know them.
  5. Helo-ops

    Helo-ops

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    Just curious how people deal with this situation 200 foot drop and 150 foot ropes. Any thoughts??
  6. Jason Linder

    Jason Linder

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    Pass a knot on rappel or lower the passenger below the knot the first 50 feet and then have them rappel the final 100 feet. For the pull, a whole lot of webbing or attach a backpack with a little weight on the end of the pull rope and get out of the way (keep your helmet on).
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Tom's guide also says Don't Be a Beginner being led by a Beginner. (Corollary, even worse, don't be a beginner leading beginners).

    You have a good base of skills that are useful. But you are still a Beginner. You are in a good position to do some canyons with experienced canyoneers and move up quickly to being an intermediate, someone who is capable of proficiently leading easier canyons.

    On the other hand, sometimes invites are hard to come by. This is certainly one of those times. So what canyons should you look at doing "in time of plague"? This is like winter. You should do canyons you have done before. And then maybe canyons next door that appear remarkably similar... also sometimes hard to find.

    And why? Because there are less people around to bail you out if trouble occurs. Because you really do not want to call on SAR resources. And because if someone gets hurt and ends up in the hospital, being in the hospital is not such a good thing at the moment.

    Jus' Sayin'... If you are a climber - what climbs would you do? Probably ones that are well-within your ability. There is a good chance that there are many canyons that are "within your ability" - but that is not the standard for canyoning in time of plague - much like it is not the standard in winter.

    Tom
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Utah County, Utah's current Corona Virus hotspot! How's that goin' for you guys?

    Tom
  9. Helo-ops

    Helo-ops

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    Tom,
    When is a person no longer a consider a beginner ?? Just curious.
  10. MitchXV

    MitchXV

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    I can work from home, so it's been OK. A little sick of the quarantine. So following up on your previous post, being a beginner, you are saying stick to class 2 and 3 canyons that I've done before correct? That makes sense. What are some ways I can branch out and improve my skills? (Post virus) Are guided tours a good option? I just don't want to be limited forever. Going with an experienced group is obviously my first choice. However I have lost contact with my previous group, and I don't know anyone else.
  11. MitchXV

    MitchXV

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    I had answers to about two thirds of the list. Where can I learn more? Trust me, the last thing I want to do is to end up stuck in a canyon. That's why I'm on this site instead of charging down one of the myriads of canyons I've researched. It sounds like the sure fire answer is to find a group to go with from what I've gathered...
  12. Ram

    Ram

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    With tongue fully in cheek.....
    When is someone not a beginner anymore?????
    Stage 1- After knowing you are a beginner and feeling good about the way things have gone after a few initial experiences and lessons.
    Stage 2- Then you experience more "surprises", both from erring in judgment but more so from things you had never dreamed of happening and learning.
    Stage 3- Then you feel "you got this!" Then more surprises keep occurring and occurring and you manage them well or well after a bump or two or have epics along the line. You will have and need all three.
    Stage 4- And the epics become your group's "lore." Lore is very important to the journey.
    Stage 5- Then you realize you know what you know, but that you really know nothing. And you smile on the the way to expecting the unknown and its lessons, with humility and your radar up. RADAR UP!
    Stage 6- When you know and own what you do poorly, fair, average, good and excellent. You don't have to be great at all facets of canyoneering. Just being self aware and honest about the different facets
    Stage 7- You spend most of your time taking the pulse of everyone else, without them knowing you are. Then you are not a beginner anymore. What a ride!
    Perhaps retired and well known canyoneer Donald Rumsfeld said it best
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
  13. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Well, sure, the best way is to go spend a week with a bunch of people who really know what they're doing. But it doesn't hurt to read up on this forum (read a couple of years worth of Tech Tips and Accident Reports especially) canyoneering books, any tutorial you can find online, go practice at the crag or your backyard. You can also take a class or two.

    Most of us just stumbled around for a while and got lucky that nothing really bad happened to us. But we can't recommend that approach because we recognize we just got lucky.
    Yellow Dart and NateFlet like this.
  14. Smhunter1983

    Smhunter1983

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