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Heaps July 4-5

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Doug Smith, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. Doug Smith

    Doug Smith

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    First are we Crazy trying to do anything in Zion on a holiday week? Is there water source that you can pump on the West Rim. Sounds like people are finding some but not sure where? Sound like the water level is dropping fast in Heaps. Anyone doing in the next week or so? Taking 4-6 people all heave good skills, Gus and I have done Imlay but first timers for Heaps
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  2. cjhaines

    cjhaines Chris

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    We'll be going through on June 30 and I can update you on conditions then

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
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  3. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    REALLY recommend having at least one Heaps veteran with you.
    Even small errors by anyone in the group, compounded over a Loooooooong highly technical canyon can lead to an epic (or worse).
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  4. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    +1 to the veteran, although its not absolutely essential. If you don't have a veteran here's a few tips to making it through in a timely manner.

    1. Make sure you read and know the beta very well especially for the route down off the west rim and across phantom valley. Once you're in the canyon its hard to get lost (although there are still one or two spots where you can at least get temporarily side tracked)
    2. Get to bed early the night before and an early 4-5 am start, but not too early since lack of sleep will slow you down and muddle your judgement.
    3. VERY IMPORTANT I tell this to everyone in my group every time I go and it never seems to sink in, there is always someone who doesn't get it, but pack your bag COMPLETELY the night before and have something quick ready for breakfast so all you have to do in the morning is wake up and hike. No rearranging stuff in your bag, no "I've only got one or two things to pack in the morning", just grab and go, it always takes longer than you think it will in the dark of the morning looking for the things you need to add. I've had trips where I've gotten up and been ready to hike and then stood around for 45 min waiting for everyone else when I could have been sleeping more.
    4. Your first trip through Heaps should not be a social event, make sure you're always moving forward, once one or two are down a drop they should have a rope and be moving forward to the next obstacle to set it up.
    5. Better to be prepared for and have to bivy than to try and rush things when you're running out of daylight and make a mistake
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  5. Doug Smith

    Doug Smith

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    We are taking Heaps very seriously, Have beta from 3 souses. We are planing on Bivy/Camping in Phantom Valley to get an early start on the canyon. Don't think we will need too but we could bivy another night. Our core group has 50-60 canyons completed in the last few years. Did Neon twice on back to back days in April. We do a week in Zion every year for most of the last decade. It's Time to do Heaps
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  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Assuming you hold a reservation in your hand, the holiday weekend has no effect.

    Hiking from Lava Point and Hiking up from the bottom tend to take the same amount of time, but BOY does the hike up from the bottom chew up a TON of energy.

    The West Rim Spring is lame. Very slow. Watering up a group would chew up an hour or more, just carry it from the bottom. There is pumpable water sometimes near the put-in spot. This year, maybe not.

    Bivying in Phantom Valley indicates you plan on hiking up in the heat of the day. ie, between 9 am and 9 pm. I advise against. Best is to leave Lava Point at 4:30 AM, 5:00 at the latest. If no one has done it before, I recommend bringing a GPS with ONE waypoint, the start of the ridge down into Phantom Valley. It is not all that conspicuous from the top.

    If your schedule does not allow for two full days to do Heaps, with an early start on day one, then re-arrange your schedule.

    The trip is way better bivying at the Crossroads than bivying in Phantom. I have done it both ways. Bivying on the West Rim is ... the mosquitos are voracious.

    Everything Tom Collins said.

    Given this year's conditions, bringing a full hooking kit, including a 3/8" drill, drill holder and hammer is a very good idea. Personally, I would also bring a Supai pool toy, which could make some of the pothole exits a LOT faster. Nice thing about a 2-day trip staying at the Crossroads is that you do not need to be in a hurry. USING the hooking kit (meaning, really, the drill and hammer) is a FAIL and should be avoided at all costs... short of risking death, which is why you MUST bring it. When Heaps gets low, it is extremely hostile to underequipped humans.

    If peeps are too tired at the end, better to bivy. Poor technique has big consequences on the exit sequence.

    Imlay is an excellent warmup for Heaps.

    Tom
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  7. Doug Smith

    Doug Smith

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    Thanks for the response Tom. Will you be around your store on June 30, we will be coming through Mt Carmel?
    We are planning on as early a start as possible, Would love to be on top before noon and avoid as much of the crowds as possible. Will see how things go and if time allows camping at the crossroads sound like a good idea. We have a full hooking kit, hope we don't need it. Looks like only 4 for the trip now 2 from Colorado can't make it. Hopping for some thunderstorms before we go but it's not looking good.
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I don't really have a store, but it is easy enough to pick up stuff if you order in advance. Email me if you need to.

    Tom
  9. Mike Zampino

    Mike Zampino Canyon season never ends.

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    Adding to Tom...
    6. Have your sequencing dialed in and decided for the exit beforehand.
    7. Pack the long rope into a dry-bag.
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  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    By the by, everyone... If you drill holes for hooking, please "Layton Kor" it. Try hard to drill the minimum number of holes, meaning, spread them out as far as possible. A taint, but less of a taint.

    Tom
  11. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    And...drill them well. Also, take the proper hooks so what you've drilled won't blow out. An ugly, unusable scar is no good for anyone.

    I recommend a custom filed set of BD Cliffhangers. Drill a practice hole in a driveway (or other) rock, and, file the hook to exactly fit deep and securely into the hole.

    Based on Tom's comment above, wouldn't hurt to practice getting high from a hook to minimize placements. Not sayin' everyone has to T-stack or use Russian Aiders but get comfy in that top rung and learn how to get securely tensioned from a fifi hook (or whatever tether). Not easy to hand drill on steep to overhanging rock by hand in the upper steps on an etrier.

    And, prior to drilling a fresh hole...look for the existing ones. They're there. Right where they ought to be.

    Good times!
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    You no like the Talon????
  13. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Its fine as a general, all purpose hook. If you're packing a drill, then, customize your hook to match that specific hole. A talon is a do all. Tends to be kinda shallow and unstable, especially for soft rock. I believe when Andrew designed that hook, was primarily for Yosemite-esque granite.

    Big difference in stability between the relatively shallow throw of a do-all Talon to the purpose fit of a custom sharpened Cliffhanger.

    (Learned this from someone who's stood on a gob of drilled placements in Zion...Brian Smoot).

    https://www.mountainproject.com/photo/107359407
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Yes but... seems unlikely that the once-a-year Heaps person would go through the effort to do this, rather than just purchase the Talons that are easily available from Black Diamond... uh, once they get them back in again about August 1.

    Jus' Sayin'...

    Also, I think the holes in pothole canyons are in considerably more solid rock than the rock found on Zion aid climbs. And the narrow tip of Talon talon #2 WAS specifically designed for bat hooking, and works well in 3/8" holes. (Well, well-enough perhaps as my hooking experience other than in potholes is almost zero).

    Tom
  15. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    They're buyin' a drill? They should custom sharpen a hook to match.

    Jus' sayin'.

    Otherwise...they're leavin' blown out holes (like we've seen over and over in Imlay).

    Best practices, man...

    Yeah, that bat hook was for a shallow drilled 1/4" hole. Pretty funny, if you look at Andrew's website, and the photo's from when he did Imlay and they hooked out of potholes...they weren't using a Talon.
  16. Doug Smith

    Doug Smith

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    Last April we did Egypt 2 with a couple from California that we meet at the trail head. They had some brand new Pot Shots and a few other things that that had pick up at your store. They must have been mistaken.
  17. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    People occasionally picking up things at my house and having a store with regular hours are two rather different things.

    Tom
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  18. CamAnderson

    CamAnderson

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    Tom, I've seen you recommend other places to do Heaps as a long day rather than bivying. Are the conditions that bad right now that people should be planning to take two days rather than starting at 3 or 4 am?
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  19. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I have done it both ways several times, and I really think doing it as a one-day is the way to go. But these peeps seemed very set on doing it as a two-day, so I was offering advice into that context.

    First time through, there is a lot of anxiety especially about the exit sequence, which uses up a lot of energy. Once you have done Heaps a couple times, much less energy is expended on anxiety, and the canyon can just be enjoyed. It may be appropriate for first-timers to do it as a two-day, so they don't have to hurry, and so they get to the end with their brain still working. THIS IDEA INSISTS that they bivy at the Crossroads, rather than in Phantom Valley, essentially spreading the work more or less evenly across two days.

    Then again, we also suspect that first timer's bivy kit will be not so honed, and that in general they will bring too much stuff. In many canyons this is not a problem. In Heaps, the extra baggage gets to be a real problem. So...

    Who knows. This is the Interwebs, all advice is suspect. All questions are suspect. In the last few years, there have been several rescues of parties in Heaps who were basically beginners. There are examples of groups who thought they were vastly experienced who only avoided disaster by the skin of their teeth. There are honestly very experienced people who made mistakes that could have resulted in disaster, but did not. It is a big canyon that apparently looks kindly upon us. But it could get in a foul mood at any time.

    Cave ne viatorem
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  20. scottensign

    scottensign

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    As someone who recently did Heaps for the first time (group of three first-timers: me, my son, and a friend of my son) I think Tom's advice is spot on. Especially the part about the anxiety/stress factor. We did it in one day, June 2, leaving Lava Point at 3:15 AM. I was so stressed the night before I didn't get any sleep at all. Fortunately my son and his friend were able to get some sleep. If we had chosen to bivy, I seriously doubt i would have been able to sleep at all due to worry. For me, it was better to just tackle the whole thing in one fell swoop.
    We were at the knife edge by 7AM, the first narrows by about 8 AM and the crossroads by 10:30 AM. Took an early lunch break there, then hammered through the third narrows, arriving at the exit climb out at about 2PM. We took a full two hours to recover before tackling the final rappel sequence.
    We all felt pretty fresh, but I was incredibly anxious /stressed about the exit rappels. And with good reason. The rappel to the bird's perch is very intimidating. And rappelling out into that 300 foot drop was the scariest thing i have ever done. For me, the canyon was tame compared to the final rappel.
    We took it slow and easy on the final rappel and were back at the Lodge by 5:30 PM- so little over 14 hours from start to finish, with a good two hour break before the final rappel.
    We had good water conditions making our trip pretty easy. I imagine it is a lot more challenging if the water is lower (as it may be now).
    My video of my epic adventure:
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