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UT: Zion Ghosting Imlay and Heaps Part 1

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Anthony Dye, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. Anthony Dye

    Anthony Dye

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    Location:
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    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.
    Sequence 01.Still001.
    longes fiddle loop.
    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.


    Sequence 01.Still004.
    Taylor mid jump
    Jump.
    Taking the leap
    Sequence 01.Still006.
    Chris in the toboggan run

    filling potshots and waterpocket.
    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.
    Sequence 01.Still009. Potshot mid throw
    Tom setting up the waterpocket.
    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.
    Sequence 01.Still013.
    Sequence 01.Still011.
    Tom levitating across one of the potholes
    Pulling the fiddle.
    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!
    Floating log anchor.
    log Rappel.

    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.
    Final Rap Waterpocket placement.
    Final Rap.
    Good view of the tourists from up here
    Final Rap2.

    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!

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    • Taking the leap.
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  2. RossK

    RossK

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    Great report and thanks for sharing. And well done for achieving it!
    Anthony Dye and Rapterman like this.
  3. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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  4. Chasetharp

    Chasetharp

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    The legends themselves!
    Anthony Dye likes this.
  5. Southern Canyoneer

    Southern Canyoneer Desert Hiker

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    Wow thats impressive. Well done!
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  6. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Now that it’s been ghosted, we’ll be pulling all the bolts, filling all the hook holes with epoxy, and cutting out all the old webbing... :snicker:

    Thanks to Anthony D and Tom C for putting this trip together. It was something I’ve wanted to do for at least 5 years. Just needed the properly motivated group.
  7. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Wow...great efforts!

    Partner assists for the climbs out of the deeper potholes with hook holes? Or, potshots?

    Great video!
    Anthony Dye likes this.
  8. Anthony Dye

    Anthony Dye

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    Hey Brian, we did not use any hook holes. To us, ghosting the canyons wasn't just "leaving no trace" we had been there, but also doing the canyon as if we were the first ones there. So we didn't use hook holes, bolts, existing webbing etc.
    we only used the potshots for one escape (the one you see us throwing in the video). If I remember correctly we didn't even use a pack toss for Imlay. Just boosted and climbed
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  9. Kip Marshall

    Kip Marshall

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    You didn't use the existing bolts or webbing for safeties?
  10. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    I got that you didn't use hook holes...in some of the video/photos you can see the old holes....but it seems to me there was a correlation between difficulty and height and the number of hook holes... The mention of potholes with hook holes was as a reference (and not to imply you used them).

    That's some good boosting! Some of those up climbs were pretty high.

    Two guys boosting one?

    Pretty neat!
    Anthony Dye and Tom Collins like this.
  11. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Yeah some of the taller boosts we had two guys boosting one, one guy on each foot. Fortunately no one had to go under water, so none of this (from a Poe trip 2 years ago)
    Pothole Boosting.
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  12. Anthony Dye

    Anthony Dye

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    Hey Kip, we used webbing once in heaps but in a way that it would have been removed...still ghosting. More on that later, I don't want to spoil any surprises!
  13. Anthony Dye

    Anthony Dye

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    Best picture I've ever seen in my life, ha ha
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  14. Kip Marshall

    Kip Marshall

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    I'm asking is if you locked off your lanyards on existing webbing....
  15. Kip Marshall

    Kip Marshall

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    I'm kind of a stickler for details, having been 'attempted' to be called out (once or twice).
    Anthony Dye likes this.
  16. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    We didn't in Imlay, we did once in Heaps, as Anthony said, he'll give details in the TR once he posts it. I think the way we did it still qualifies as ghosting, but the community can chime in once the details come out.
  17. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    The arm lift/assist protruding out of the water is intense!
    Nice job all around.... an elite accomplishment.
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  18. Phavant

    Phavant

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    Congrats guys thats awesome! Guessing from the canyon light we were two groups back from you yesterday. We opted for the full. We were a little disappointed in pot hole depth yesterday, was hoping for it to be nasty!
    Anthony Dye likes this.
  19. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    YES
    BEST teamwork photo
    ever.
    :)
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  20. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Well done boys. Having ghosted more difficult canyons with you guys, I'm not surprised in the least that you were able to do it. I am surprised you let Taylor do all the downclimbs though. I would have expected Tom to have jumped off everything.
    Anthony Dye likes this.
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