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UT: Zion Jacob Canyon April 2017 (new bolts)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by ratagonia, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Jacob Canyon re-visit (new bolts) Zion April 22, 2017
    [​IMG]

    Shall we give Jacob a visit again? YES! The weather was temperate, but soon would be too hot for this south-facing canyon. One ‘benefit’ of working on the guidebook (Zion, 2nd Edition) which I “have been” for about 5 years (Bullwinkle: “This time for sure!”) is that I feel like certain things need to be ‘fixed’, including the bolt anchor on the penultimate rap in Jacob. I suspect the rap was originally done off a sling around a chockstone in the crack – then someone added a bolt to back that up… and again, again, again… till we have what we had at the start of this day, a mess of mostly bad bolts, all to create an anchor in a crappy location for rope retrieval and/or rope intactness. In addition to fun, this day had relocating that anchor as its main objective.

    We wanted an early start, as it could be a long day, and that anchor was going to add an hour. Plus I am an hour slower getting up Lady Mountain than I was 5 years ago. But alas, even Ali, a ZNP employee, could not convince Brad to give up the coveted White Pass. I could rant about this… but let’s not. Needless to say, we tried to the catch the ‘first bus’, and did good.

    [​IMG]
    Team Jacob 2017

    This year’s Team Jacob is Cassy Brown, Cameron McMillan, Rachel Ross, Ali White and your humble correspondant, me = Tom Jones. Across the river, up the non-trail, scamper up the hill to the base of the chimney, then up the Lady Mountain to the top. We were early enough to avoid the heat. Shenanigans ensued.

    Then over to the top of Jacob (direct start). I had forgotten what a friggin’ pain this is. Some sketchy downclimbing, some sketchy ridge following, some sketchy climbing up the superloose rock, some sketchy down steep dirt till finally in the canyon at the first rap. Once on rope, I felt much safer.

    [​IMG]
    Climbing stacked crap to get to the start of the canyon

    A few tree raps and we arrive at the rock narrows. There were more bolt anchors than I remember, but it is always hard to say whether that is a Tom memory problem (likely) or that those were new bolts (possible). We sashayed through the rock narrows and popped out into the lush-foliage section. Thankfully, early enough in the spring that the Poison Ivy was not resplendent, but don’t touch those grey sticks… okay?

    [​IMG]
    Rock rock and more rock, and rappeller

    We casualled it down the canyon. No big hurry. Smooth sailing with the “A” team. A bit of snowmelt was coming down the side… Cassy and I went down the watercourse and came to a pool. (The others went around on a ledge). We really did not want to swim, and with a little dynamic action and sticky shoe action, we both made it without getting wet.

    Soon enough, we arrived at the end of the canyon. A long, exposed, fairly easy downclimb and the work could begin. I found a place out of the flow that looked like it gave a clean line of sight to the bottom of the rap, and started in. Two 1/2″ x 2-3/4″ Stainless Steel Powers Powerbolts and we have a new anchor. Tossed some webbing on it. Got the team heading downward, 240 feet or so…

    [​IMG]
    Cassy on rappel.

    MUCH less Poison Ivy on the rap this time. Got the team down, pulled the rope clean, sauntered down to the final rap. Did that. Stuffed ropes. Re-packed packs. A bit of bushwhackery, some deer trail following and we were down in the Court of the Patriarchs. Before horsey-ride season, this is a pretty nice place. Back to the bus stop in time for the last bus EASY. 15 minutes to spare.

    MORE PICTURES AT THE LATEST RAVE
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
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  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I'm interested in how many people have done Jacob. If you would, please reply with Yes, and when, and party size. Plus how many stars you think it deserves, on a scale of 0-5.

    Thanks.

    Tom w Bailey May 2013
    Tom w JZ, Guy, Dirk and Nancy June 2013
    Tom w Cassy, Cammy, Ali, RR April 2017 ****
  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    List of descents:

    2001 03 March Brian Cabe w Dwight Curry
    2013 05 May Tom w Bailey (side entry)
    2013 06 June Tom w JZ, Guy, Dirk and Nancy
    2014 04 April Tim D, TreC, Luuke, Jerry, Carl
    2017 04 April Tom w Cassy, Cammy, Ali, RR ****
  4. Ram

    Ram

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    Yes
    Oct 2003. Bucky plus Andrew
    May 2004 Miller and Corbin
    Another time around 2007-8 with no photo evidence. Was it Kip?
    2 Stars

    Highlights..Lady Mt. summit...rare route into the C of the P's....That 200 vertical downclimb at the top of the airy big wall
  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Thanks Ram

    List of descents:

    2001 03 March Brian Cabe w Dwight Curry
    2003 10 Oct Steve Ramras, Bucky and Andrew
    2004 05 May Steve Ramras w Miller and Corbin
    2013 05 May Tom w Bailey (side entry)
    2013 06 June Tom w JZ, Guy, Dirk and Nancy
    2014 04 April Tim D, TreC, Luuke, Jerry, Carl
    2017 04 April Tom w Cassy, Cammy, Ali, RR

    Ratings (stars 0-5):

    Tom = 4
    Ram = 2
  6. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Geez, Tom, that's a motley crew of folks! 4 trips? Wow...

    Rating? If it were just the canyon, I think it'd be kinda low. But, combo with Lady? Bumps it up to a 3 methinks.

    Only party earlier than me that I know was Jeff...(!). Probably responsible for the piton stacks and anchors...all he had left. I'm sure there had been others...as webbing and bolted anchor above the drainage from Lady Mountain were evident. Hadn't been done much.

    I note that the limited edition hardcover of the new AAJ (mine arrived earlier this week!) is signed by Jeff. Neat documentation of routes on the Red Sentinel in Zion...

    https://shop.americanalpineclub.org...-american-alpine-journal?variant=334419984410
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Only 3 trips for me.

    There were a bunch of single bolt anchors in the rock narrows in 2013, including a drilled piton (Jeff's??) and an RT bolt. There were a few logs in there too, but I am sure they move around a lot. This last trip, all those single-bolt(ish) anchors had new modern big bolts next to them. I'm a bit surprised they did not also fix the penultimate rappel, but their arm was tired by then.

    T

    lmj12.
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I am unclear on what you mean (the bolded text). Could you clarify? I know you came down the side to land near the bottom of the upper rock narrows.

    Why would Jeff have come down this way? After doing Isaac?

    T
  9. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Meaning, that the anchors Jeff left would have been in the drainage below Isaac and not from coming down from Lady Mountain.

    So, we saw a bolted anchor above the wash on the side of the slope towards Lady Mountain. And another sling on a bush I dimly recall. That wouldn't have been Jeff's descent route.

    From the 1975 AAJ:

    "Isaac, South Face, Court of the Patriarchs, Zion. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Jeff Lowe and I climbed the crack system which follows the east side of the south face of Isaac. Two dirty, bushy pitches marred the otherwise clean route. Descent was via a long ledge system wehere we traversed north into the canyon east of Isaac and then down the canyon. NCCS V, F9, A3." George Lowe

    What Jeff and George referred to as Isaac in the above, was really Abraham. So, that description was really the first descent of the canyon between Abraham and Isaac, methinks.

    From Jeff:

    "What is properly called Abraham, which harbors the radiator wall, was first climbed by George Lowe and me in 1972, via the huge corner system on the right side. The formation properly known as Isaac, was climbed by Wick Beavers, Mike Weis, John Weiland and me in 1971, I think. The route on Abraham has not seen a repeat, to my knowledge. The one on Isaac has been climbed a number of times."

    Which was originally called "Jacob" by Jeff in his seminal article in the 1972 Ascent called "East of the Valley, West of the Gunks: a Zion Story."

    Jeff writes of the descent of what we call "Jacob" canyon:

    "The descent flows smoothly down backside sloping slabs. We scramble down easier parts, and evergreens hold the rope for us to slide over the steep. The sweeping white ridge of Abraham hides us from the eyes of man and nothing man-made mars our view. We are the first ones here in these hanging canyons on hanging canyons, and there is a hushed and reverent silence as we round corners of the unknown past. Here we find a perfect carpet of green moss growing precariously on a sandy bottom. We make the mistake of trampling on the fragile lawn, our feet crushing and indenting nature’s floor. Well-meaning men, we are the first to leave our destructive mark on this wild place. The next bend reveals the treasure of a million diamonds scattered on the canyon floor. Looking up shaded walls, we see the frozen waterfall whence they’ve fallen. Around the last corner, in the lowest hanging canyon, Mike speeds ahead through a water-carved gorge, under a mammoth, wedged stone, then waits, poised in peaceful, ancient light, still three hundred feet above the world of men."

    Whole article in Ascent:

    http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1209198&msg=1458104#msg1458104

    Great quote:

    "As we follow the setting sun up between the First and Second Ledges, our minds are eased by the texture of the soft red sandstone. It’s more like a lover’s ass than cold stone, and a gentle caress, not a forceful tug, gets us where we want to go. As the color of the rock blushes to a glowing pink in the sunset, we begin to accept the offerings that emanate from the things around us."

    Neat history! Funny that Jeff totally screwed up the climbs and the formations that they are on. The article in Ascent starts out with, "The roadside plaque reads Isaac, Jacob and Abraham - The Three Patriarchs. Jacob, between Isaac and Abraham..."

    The peaks are really aligned, left to right from the Court as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So, he named them incorrectly based on possibly a roadside sign. That kept folks confused for years. Amazing that he and George climbed a grade V on Abraham in the early 70s on a weekend from SLC:

    "George's and my route on Abraham had some dirty climbing, but not much. It also had some great hand and fist cracks up high. George and I left SLC on a Friday evening, drove to Zion, crashed for a few hours, climbed the route and descended over Saturday and Sunday, then drove back to SLC so George could be back to work on Monday. Therefore, it's a grade V, not a VI. It's not nearly as difficult as The Toad, which is a full-on grade VI."

    Fun stuff.
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  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    There were some old pins in Isaac Canyon (between Jacob and Isaac, oops, between Isaac and Abraham) when we went down about 12 years ago. One pair at a drop in the canyon that were removed with a slight tug (I regret I did not put these in my museum at the time) and an anchor we saw at the last rap, about half way down a 300' rap. Could be from Jeff and George, or could be from Walt and Middendorf a bit later.

    http://www.canyoneeringusa.com/rave/isaac-canyon-sep-2005/

    I think you found pins half-way down the penultimate rap in Jacob, that could have been from Jeff.

    Old pins in Zion sandstone tend to be removable by hand... but then, 1971 was 46 years ago!

    Tom
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
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  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Just a reminder, I am soliciting descent information on Jacob Canyon. So far:

    List of descents:

    2001 03 March Brian Cabe w Dwight Curry
    2003 10 Oct Steve Ramras, Bucky and Andrew
    2004 05 May Steve Ramras w Miller and Corbin
    2013 05 May Tom w Bailey (side entry)
    2013 06 June Tom w JZ, Guy, Dirk and Nancy
    2014 04 April Tim D, TreC, Luuke, Jerry, Carl
    2017 04 April Tom w Cassy, Cammy, Ali, RR

    Ratings (stars 0-5):

    Tom = 4
    Ram = 2
    BrianDC = 3
  12. Taylor

    Taylor

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    Yes. Descended May 2016 with a group of 6: Todd and Laura T, Shawn and Amy K, Brian W and Rico C.

    You (Tom) and I exchanged emails after our descent, regarding the numerous new bolts and shiny new blue webbing we found at most of the drops. We had expected, and had prepared for a much more challenging outing, as far as anchoring was concerned. I give the canyon 3 stars but the day 4 stars. The Lady Mountain approach really does it for me. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for longish ridge scramble type climbs. Kinesava via Cowboy Ridge is one of my favorite days in Zion.
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