A couple of month ago, I was talking with a friend about trying to ghost Heaps and Imlay canyons. How awesome would it be to know that you could do canyons of that caliber, in their natural states, without modifying anything, and without leaving a trace that you had been there? Better yet, knowing that you could explore similar canyons without beta, and leave them the same way you found them. A great goal to have for this year! 2 weeks later I contacted Tom Collins because I wanted to plan an unrelated trip with him. He says, "Taylor Arave and I were talking about trying to ghost heaps and Imlay" ....I laugh and tell him that I had much the same conversation just 2 weeks previously. We plan the dates and Tom gets the reservations. 1 week later Tom Jones challenges me online to do Heaps and Imlay without using any hook holes, or bolts. Okay.... so this trip was obviously meant to be! We all meet up Saturday morning. The team is Tom Collins, Taylor Arave, Chris Oliver, and me. We leave the grotto lot at 5:50 toward the sneak route. The hiking was pleasant with cooler temps. I couldn't remember much of Imlay, and when I did it the first time I wasn't looking for Sandtrap/Waterpocket placements. I also wasn't thinking about the possibilities for throwing potshots or packs. Would we be able to do it? We certainly had the team for it. As we started the canyon it was a little lack luster in the challenge department. We quickly remembered how much of Imlay is rappelling from log jams. We either fiddled or double stranded all of these with no extra difficulty. We skipped many rappels by meat anchoring and jumping into the deeper pools or down-climbing. The trash compactor section was really fun. It was WAY harder than it was last year for me. we couldn't stop laughing as we crawled over and rolled off of logs to work our way through it. We made it to the first really big hard potholes. It seems to me that the sand floor is up from last year in most of them, or I just have more experience now, so they aren't as intimidating. We were able to partner assist almost all of them, usually with Taylor being the climber. Taylor mid jump Taking the leap Chris in the toboggan run Tom filling the Waterpocket while Chris and I fill potshots When we reached the 3 potholes that are stacked really tight, we finally needed to use the Waterpocket for a 2 stage rappel into the 1st and 2nd potholes. We also decided to throw potshots (about 40') for the escape from the first hole before entering. Potshot mid throw Tom setting up the Waterpocket We all rappelled into the first pothole and escaped. Chris started the second stage, but now the rope was pulling more horizontally, with less friction on the rock, and the anchor started to fail. We thought it was just settling back into position after he had unweighted it, but it kept slipping and the top of the Waterpocket started rising into view over the lip of the hole behind us. I had my back to the opposite wall and pushed hard on the rope against the wall with my hands. It was enough to stop the failing anchor and gave Chris an extra few seconds to get down. After he checked depth the rest of us jumped to the middle of the hole. If the anchor had failed he would have landed in the shallow side, an 18' foot drop into 3' of water. Tom levitating across one of the potholes Tom Pulling the Fiddle Approaching the last rappel before the narrows, I was catching up after packing a rope. I heard a huge crash up ahead that ominously sounded like rock or log coming loose and tumbling. Did I just listen to someone die? I was pretty concerned until I hear laughing and Taylor says "We have an anchor!" They had dislodged a big log down into a pool of water. We fiddled off of it and it worked great, and that was my first floating anchor! The final rappel was the one I was most anticipating. I couldn't remember the geometry of the canyon up to the drop, and wondered if it would hold a Sand Trap or Waterpocket. I was fairly certain there was nothing to fiddle. There ended up being a pool to fill the water pocket, and I carried it up to an 8" step for it to sit behind about 15' back from the edge. Good view of the tourists from up here The hardest part was keeping LDC on rappel. There was a crack and constriction RDC that would have almost certainly stuck the Waterpocket. Taylor went LAMAR, and was the one to get applause from the 20-ish tourists awaiting his descent with cameras at the ready. We pulled the Waterpocket, and Ghosting the Imlay-sneak had been a success! Thanks for reading, Anthony Dye Here is a short video of the conquest Part 2 will be out soon!