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Holy Cow!

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Amy K, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. Amy K

    Amy K

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    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Last year I saw a shot of the arch room in this canyon and had it on my back burner radar until I felt prepared to complete it. With another year of canyoneering in the books, a couple courses taken, and new tools/skills, it was time. @Chasetharp and I assembled a great team to do a couple canyons clear south of Boulder, Utah. (I'll post another TR of the second canyon later). Last Saturday, Chase, Sarah, Randy, and Josh and I left camp at the trailhead to begin the canyon. We already knew the approach so we got to the first drop fairly quickly. Beta mentions using a tree to a 50' overhang to get into the canyon. Instead we used a smooth operator from a tree RDC that did not produce quite as much stress on the rope from the rock edge. It was only about 15' and then an easy walk down into the canyon. The canyon then begins with a downclimb over a small choke stone. Following this, was the first big pothole. @Chasetharp did two amazing potshot throws, one stuck perfectly around the corner in the tight wedge that allowed Randy to batman easily out. (I hate that this came out blurry)
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    Once Randy was out, this became a partner assist out for the rest of us. The next few potholes we got into using a sand taco (sand anchor, but I call it taco because that's more fun). All the starts were very awkward or tight and we had to be extremely careful with our soft starts. All potholes were escaped using partner assists.

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    On top of the sand taco/pothole challenges, this canyon also presents some lovely narrow sections with fun downclimbs - so awesome!

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    The room I was waiting for finally arrived after another sand taco rap. It took us into a beautiful arch room/chamber!

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    To the right is a cavern-like feature, where a super skinny slot is forming in a subway-type section. The other side is another huge arch. Mother nature is truly incredible! After this is a couple more raps. We used the smooth operator off a tree for the first and built a retrievable anchor for the last 100' rap.

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    We got done with the last rap and realized we had finished the canyon and left nothing behind! Our first ghosted canyon and it was a success! But wait! We went to pull the anchor down on the last rap and it was not budging. We tried every direction and.. nothing. I then suggested building a system - 3:1 to try and get it down - Success again!

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    This area was really special. The weather is goofy as ever. The narrows are beautiful and this canyon had it all. I feel it must be mentioned, even though the beta does state something similar, that there are NO ANCHOR OPTIONS for most of these drops. The tiny sandstone notches break off, there are no bushes for most, nothing. We really wanted to leave no trace and keep this canyon looking untouched. The group must have and know how to use the sand taco (anchor) proficiently and be able to soft start without shocking it. I couldn't have asked for a better team to complete this canyon with! Stay tuned for the TR for the next canyon of the weekend..
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Wonderful TR, thanks.

    Tom
    Rapterman likes this.
  3. Chasetharp

    Chasetharp

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    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    I’d also like to mention that some of the drops were somewhat overhung starts. We were lucky to have Randy along, I’ve never seen someone so light on the rope on such awkward soft starts before. Also, we guessed the potshot toss was maybe 30’ from a great stemming position. Big thanks to bluugnome for the beta, we were blown away by how great this canyon is.
    Tom Collins, Rapterman and Amy K like this.
  4. Tirrus

    Tirrus Rope rider.

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    Arches in canyons are a special occurrence. (Englestead, Cassidy, Quandary) Double arches even more so. (Kaleidoscope, Pine Creek, Peekaboo). But in the experience of the folks here, how uncommon are triple or more arches in a canyon? This seems exceptionally rare.
  5. UtahNich

    UtahNich

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    Very nice!

    I for one have never run into another triple arch other than here.

    As more people go down this canyon, the bushes on raps 5 and 6 might end up dying - and thus not be good anchors. I was there 9/18 and they were looking pretty stressed. We found some alternatives for them: for rap 5 we used a sand-trap up against a wee sandstone ridge beneath the arches (I think you can see it in the third-from-the-last photo). There were also some deepish potholes by the drop which could be used (?). For rap 6 we used a retrievable off a chockstone about 40ft back that had a smooth little divot that kept the rope away from any pinch-points. Might be something worth keeping in the back of your mind when you visit this place!
  6. Tirrus

    Tirrus Rope rider.

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    Ha! We went through last week, and saw your sand pile from Rap 5. It seemed like a decent spot, aside from the possible rope grooves that could form across the patio from such a long pull with the trap.

    The little potholes on the DC right may be the better long term solution, although I think a partner stack and capture would work here also.
    Chasetharp, Tom Collins and ratagonia like this.
  7. Jake Freimanis

    Jake Freimanis Ours is a quiet fear

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    Location:
    New Mexico
    Awesome report and beautiful photos! Did you make that sandtaco yourself? :p
  8. Amy K

    Amy K

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    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT

    Thanks! Haha no no.. did not make the sand taco.. I just like calling it the sand taco because there is so much debate over using certain terms. Luckily no one has complained about sand taco. Plus it's more fun sounding. It's the Atwood "sand anchor."
  9. Jake Freimanis

    Jake Freimanis Ours is a quiet fear

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    Location:
    New Mexico
    Well I really like "Sand Taco," I'm gonna start using that too :p
    Chasetharp likes this.
  10. Chasetharp

    Chasetharp

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    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Memory is getting a little fuzzy over time, but we didn’t use any bushes aside from the rappel after the cavern room because it had some solid options. The bushes seemed too marginal for our liking ha. We also did a super short rap into the canyon on rdc that seemed way easier than the suggested option.
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