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Most Technically Challening Canyon in Zions

Discussion in 'Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group' started by Kerry, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Kerry

    Kerry Guest

    Excluding Heaps and Imlay, what would you say was the most technically challenging canyon at Zion's?

    Would it be Kolob? Das Boot? Icebox? Englestead?
  2. Ice

    Ice Guest

    Honestly..... if you want technically challenging you need to get out of Zion. There is a reason some refer to Zion and rap-n-swim or kiddie canyoneering...... Heaps and Imlay are mostly challenging for their unrelenting length and not for any really major technical obstacle. Das Boot is more like Das Hike with a couple short and easy rappels tossed in to act as a riff-raff barrier that eliminate hikers.

    But to answer your question.... maybe Englestead if you have problems with the big entry, or maybe Kolob if it's flowing hard, I know one group of highly skilled canyoneers who did it at 9 cfs and mentioned it was pretty scary. But in 'normal" conditions Kolob is just a clip-n-go canyon, with the MIA exit being the hard part. I bet I've heard of more problems with Misery (based on actual canyonner/days) than any other Zion route. Misery has resulted in several unplanned bivies.... but that is always the result of poor navigation, so if you can't navigate than maybe Misery is the hardest.

    And before the Zion canyoneers get all uppity.... I will say that Zion is one of my favorite destinations.... or at least it was before the permits system messed with my wilderness experience.....

    Anyhoo..... that's my 2 cents on the subject. Your mileage may vary.....

    **This post neither represents nor reflects the opinions of www.Climb-Utah.com management. These statements may or may not be true. Shane has been known to be full of shit.





    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "Kerry" <taatmk@...> wrote:
    Excluding Heaps and Imlay, what would you say was the most technically challenging canyon at Zion's?
    Would it be Kolob? Das Boot? Icebox? Englestead? >
  3. Ron Graham

    Ron Graham Guest

    From what Luke Galyan and I saw on a recent trip to the top of Mount Majestic, Spearhead Canyon might be near the top of the heap of technically difficult Zion Canyons simply because of the difficulty associated with entering it. There is very little beta on it, other than comments contributed by Tom Jones, the only person we know has descended it. From a scouting trip to the top of the canyon that Luke and I went on a few weeks back, it appears that reaching the canyon floor would require multiple rappels from hanging anchors or anchors with small stances at various points on the sides of the canyon's steep walls. Although my eyes might have deceived me, I'd estimate that the steep drop from the canyon's rim to its floor is at least 500 feet. The sandstone layer making up the canyon's walls appears to be pretty chossy, so the safest anchors would likely not be bolts but webbing tied to the few trees with extensive root systems that we saw protruding from the canyon's walls. The fact that no clear line of descent has been established makes the challenge of safely getting into this canyon particularly daunting.
  4. beadysee

    beadysee Guest

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "Ron Graham" <dsrtfox@...> wrote:
    From what Luke Galyan and I saw on a recent trip to the top of Mount Majestic, Spearhead Canyon might be near the top of the heap of technically difficult Zion Canyons simply because of the difficulty associated with entering it. There is very little beta on it, other than comments contributed by Tom Jones, the only person we know has descended it.

    Yeah that Tom guy gets around....(notes on Spearhead below).

    Also, I guess I'd rank "Mountain of Mystery Canyon" right up there for being kind of a pain in the arse to pull off. Birch Creek is a high angle whopper in the finish too.

    Cheers,

    -Brian in SLC

    Spearhead Canyon Descent @ Zion National Park

    Overview: Technical canyoneering descent of the canyon located directly behind (west and north) of the Spearhead and to the west of Cathedral Mountain. 18 rappels, the longest being 200 feet. Compiled by Brian Cabe following his and Tom Jones' descent on 15 October 2000.

    Disclaimer: the information provided herein is for historical reading entertainment and is not intended to be a guide.

    Map: Temple of Sinawava, Utah (7.5 minute, 1980)

    Reference: None

    Equipment: Two 60 meter (200 foot) ropes, 200 feet of 6mm retrieval cord, rappelling gear, bolt kit, extra sling and rapid links. Full rock climbing rack including set of pitons and hooks. 4 liters of water. Overnight gear (lightweight sleeping bags, headlamp, etc.). All fit into daypacks.

    Getting started: Note: all directions will assume hiker is facing the direction of travel. Distances and descriptions are estimates.

    We started hiking from the Grotto Falls parking lot, up the Angel's Landing trail, and past the spring at the top of Refrigerator Canyon to the base of Cathedral Mountain. Searching for a reasonable ascent route led us to the "hook" canyon, which ascends between the elevation points 6955 on Mount Majestic and 6930 on Cathedral Mountain. In the upper stretch of this canyon, we ascended the right (west) fork. This approach required technical climbing of approximately 5.8 A2 in difficulty (we belayed four pitches) took the entire day and was somewhat of a grunt: loose rock, brush, and post holing up deep sand and scree. This approach is not recommended.

    Descent into the canyon: After a night on the Cathedral Mountain mesa, at the canyon rim, we scouted the steep canyon walls dropping into the gorge for the safest, most logical descent path. Opposite and slightly down canyon from our camp, we noticed a tree line on the northeast wall of the canyon, 2-300 feet downstream from the head of the canyon (which appeared to contain an unsafe amount of loose rock). At 9:30am, from a large tree on the rim of the canyon, we rappelled 40 feet to a small single tree setting in a shallow bowl located 60 feet to the skier's left of a large clump of trees. From this 10" diameter pine, we added a green sling with a rapid link and rappelled 200 feet to a single 14" diameter pine. Again, we left a green sling and rapid link and rappelled for 130 feet to a loose gully which ran parallel to the main canyon for 200 feet before turning and running straight out over a pour over. At 11:15am, we rigged another rappel in the brush at this pour over but could not ascertain whether the ropes reached any fruitful anchors. Tom jugged back up the rope and we hiked back up to the top of the gully. Cutting across slope, back toward the head of the canyon, and then down to a large pine tree, which we rigged with webbing and rappelled past a steep wall, to a bench then low angle for 140 feet. At a gnarled, bent over pine, we rappelled the steep wall for 160 feet to a sturdy spruce tree, which we rappelled thankfully for 100 feet to the canyon floor.

    Main Canyon: Immediately down canyon, we rappelled a 10 foot pour over, hiked a short distance, and rappelled for 100 feet past multiple, short pour-overs. After a nice bit of hiking, we rappelled 40 feet over an avoidable water hole where we took lunch and refilled our water bottles at 1:15pm. At this point, the canyon ran almost straight away with not much elevation loss, which we hiked for a fair distance intermixed with some down climbing. A 2" tree on the right side of the drainage provided a handy anchor for rigging a sling for the 40-foot rappel. Just downstream, a 60-foot rappel past a pour over was from a 3" tree out on a ledge on the left side of the drainage at 2:20pm. We climbed up a short dirt filled chimney to a large pine tree for a 40-foot rappel, which immediately led to a 30-foot long pool. Thinking we were in for a swim, Tom successfully negotiated the deep pool with tenuous chimney technique. We weren't to remain dry for long, however, as the next pool required 40 feet of swimming. Just downstream at the final pool in the canyon, I rappelled 30 feet into the water, swam downstream and rigged a Tyrolean traverse for the packs and a lucky, though nervous, Tom. After a short hike through some lush green foliage, we arrived at the big air and open exit of the canyon, surprised to find a single bolt anchor on a large rock guarding the final steep descent. At 4:00pm, we sorted our gear and grabbed a snack in the flat stream course.

    Finale: At the airy shelf, we rigged our rope off the single bolt anchor (SMC hanger, 1" webbing) and dropped down 30 feet to a small shelf, continuing the rappel to another single bolt rappel station located another 40 feet down and inside the main exit chimney system. Another single rope rappel for 80 feet again led to a single bolt anchor at a small stance inside of the chimney. Here, we opted to toss our double ropes down the confines of the backside of the chimney (instead of outside) as there appeared much less chance for sticking the ropes. Tom extended the rappel full length but didn't end at any useful anchors at a large ledge. I rappelled down and rigged the rope through a ratty sling around a chock stone at an uncomfortable (slanting, narrow) stance. Pulling the rope through and tossing the ends down to Tom, we made sure the rope would not get hung up in the pinching slot before rappelling to the last big ledge. Tom scouted for anchors and soon located a pair of lost arrow pitons out to the far, left side of the ledge, which provided thankful access to the ground. Removing the old sling and adding a new one with a rappel ring, we descended the final 150 feet to the ground and hiked the short distance to the Emerald Pools trail.

    Notes: The initial descent into the canyon was a high angle whopper. Our route made the best use of available tree anchors, which seemed to be spaced perfectly for our doubled 200-foot ropes. No evidence of prior passage was observed in the upper canyon. We were surprised to find the single bolt anchors in the finale exit chimney at the end of the canyon and mused about from whence they came. It is possible that the final chimney exiting the canyon was descended after a climb of the Spearhead from Zion Canyon. The single bolt anchors (3/8" Rawl type studs) appeared to be in good shape with SMC hangers and green 1" webbing. The loose ends of the webbing were finished in a distinctive style with the ends cut in a point and notch that fit into each other when mated together. Unwisely, we chose to not back up these single bolt anchors but added new webbing and rings at a couple of the lower rappel stations.

    Time: After obtaining an overnight and canyon permit at the Visitor Center, we left the shuttle at Grotto Springs at 9:45 am on 14 October. We completed our approach in the dark at 10:15pm and settled in for sleep by 11:00pm. At 8:00am the next morning, we scouted our descent and started the first rappel at 9:30am. At 4:00pm we began the initial rappel of the steep exit chimney and finished the final rappel at 5:50pm. We were reunited with the shuttle bus at 6:30pm for a seemingly long, 2-day trip.
  5. Ron Graham

    Ron Graham Guest

    Brian, this is terrific info! Luke and I wanted really badly to descend the canyon, but simply faced too many red flags to do it safely on this scouting trip. We could clearly see what we thought was your line of descent, as it appeared to be the most natural one visible on either wall. Luke had wanted to descend closer to the head of the canyon, but the rock there was pretty nasty and we didn't see a lot of stable trees from which to set anchors. Also, we did not see any water in the bottom of the canyon, and I had blown through a liter and a half in the 100+ degree heat just getting to the potential drop in point from our camping spot above the ramp leading up from Behunin.

    For anyone interested in descending this canyon, I'd recommend you try it in the cooler fall months like Brian and Tom did and get to the top of Mount Majestic via the ramp leading up from Behunin. The ramp is mostly a 3rd class scramble, albeit on very loose sand and brittle sandstone with big exposure on both sides. We left a couple of anchors in place on the ramp to help protect against the exposure. There is a meadow on top of the ramp which turned out to be an absolutely beautiful place to camp. From there, it's about an hour's bushwhacking effort to get to the head of the canyon.
  6. Luke

    Luke Guest

    Good info for spearhead. Thanks Brian.



    Tom mentioned the actual head of the canyon looked as though it had some ledges. When I mentioned I would like to descend down the actual head of the canyon, he mentioned that would be the route he would take if he were to do it again. In your recollection how did the head of the canyon look for a descent route (looking back to it while on your route down in)?



    I set up a rope to get myself safely over to the edge of the canyon (on canyon left) about 100 feet or so down canyon of the actual head. About 60 feet below me was a pine about 6" to 8" in diameter on a descent size ledge. I could see another ledge about 50 feet or so below that which tucked itself around a corner up toward the head of the canyon. That second ledge looked large enough for a few people as well but I could not see all that was there and did not readily see an anchor. I did not spend a lot of time really looking it over since I was just taking a look over and trying to verbally tell Ron what I was seeing.



    I do intend to go back sometime for an actual descent. As Ron says, cooler months would be a good idea, although I was still chilly sleeping the night we were up there, but I do tend to sleep cold.



    Also you mention the canyon running south up between Cathedral and Mount Majestic as being "Hook" Canyon. Are you calling it that because it is hook shaped or is that the name of that canyon? I was referring to it as the upper Refrigerator Canyon since it is the same water course. If Hook is the name I will update my Spearhead TR. I was thinking it might be fun to descend it some day after getting to the top of Majestic (just an amusing thought).



    Since fires have knocked down most of the dense vegetation it is pretty easy travel along the top of the plateau. There's a lot of new growth coming in so it will not be so easy later!



    Luke



    From: Yahoo Canyons Group [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group] On Behalf Of beadysee Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 08:14 To: Yahoo Canyons Group Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: Most Technically Challening Canyon in Zions





    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ron Graham" <dsrtfox@...> wrote:
    From what Luke Galyan and I saw on a recent trip to the top of Mount Majestic, Spearhead Canyon might be near the top of the heap of technically difficult Zion Canyons simply because of the difficulty associated with entering it. There is very little beta on it, other than comments contributed by Tom Jones, the only person we know has descended it.

    Yeah that Tom guy gets around....(notes on Spearhead below).

    Also, I guess I'd rank "Mountain of Mystery Canyon" right up there for being kind of a pain in the arse to pull off. Birch Creek is a high angle whopper in the finish too.

    Cheers,

    -Brian in SLC

    Spearhead Canyon Descent @ Zion National Park

    Overview: Technical canyoneering descent of the canyon located directly behind (west and north) of the Spearhead and to the west of Cathedral Mountain. 18 rappels, the longest being 200 feet. Compiled by Brian Cabe following his and Tom Jones' descent on 15 October 2000.

    Disclaimer: the information provided herein is for historical reading entertainment and is not intended to be a guide.

    Map: Temple of Sinawava, Utah (7.5 minute, 1980)

    Reference: None

    Equipment: Two 60 meter (200 foot) ropes, 200 feet of 6mm retrieval cord, rappelling gear, bolt kit, extra sling and rapid links. Full rock climbing rack including set of pitons and hooks. 4 liters of water. Overnight gear (lightweight sleeping bags, headlamp, etc.). All fit into daypacks.

    Getting started: Note: all directions will assume hiker is facing the direction of travel. Distances and descriptions are estimates.

    We started hiking from the Grotto Falls parking lot, up the Angel's Landing trail, and past the spring at the top of Refrigerator Canyon to the base of Cathedral Mountain. Searching for a reasonable ascent route led us to the "hook" canyon, which ascends between the elevation points 6955 on Mount Majestic and 6930 on Cathedral Mountain. In the upper stretch of this canyon, we ascended the right (west) fork. This approach required technical climbing of approximately 5.8 A2 in difficulty (we belayed four pitches) took the entire day and was somewhat of a grunt: loose rock, brush, and post holing up deep sand and scree. This approach is not recommended.

    Descent into the canyon: After a night on the Cathedral Mountain mesa, at the canyon rim, we scouted the steep canyon walls dropping into the gorge for the safest, most logical descent path. Opposite and slightly down canyon from our camp, we noticed a tree line on the northeast wall of the canyon, 2-300 feet downstream from the head of the canyon (which appeared to contain an unsafe amount of loose rock). At 9:30am, from a large tree on the rim of the canyon, we rappelled 40 feet to a small single tree setting in a shallow bowl located 60 feet to the skier's left of a large clump of trees. From this 10" diameter pine, we added a green sling with a rapid link and rappelled 200 feet to a single 14" diameter pine. Again, we left a green sling and rapid link and rappelled for 130 feet to a loose gully which ran parallel to the main canyon for 200 feet before turning and running straight out over a pour over. At 11:15am, we rigged another rappel in the brush at this pour over but could not ascertain whether the ropes reached any fruitful anchors. Tom jugged back up the rope and we hiked back up to the top of the gully. Cutting across slope, back toward the head of the canyon, and then down to a large pine tree, which we rigged with webbing and rappelled past a steep wall, to a bench then low angle for 140 feet. At a gnarled, bent over pine, we rappelled the steep wall for 160 feet to a sturdy spruce tree, which we rappelled thankfully for 100 feet to the canyon floor.

    Main Canyon: Immediately down canyon, we rappelled a 10 foot pour over, hiked a short distance, and rappelled for 100 feet past multiple, short pour-overs. After a nice bit of hiking, we rappelled 40 feet over an avoidable water hole where we took lunch and refilled our water bottles at 1:15pm. At this point, the canyon ran almost straight away with not much elevation loss, which we hiked for a fair distance intermixed with some down climbing. A 2" tree on the right side of the drainage provided a handy anchor for rigging a sling for the 40-foot rappel. Just downstream, a 60-foot rappel past a pour over was from a 3" tree out on a ledge on the left side of the drainage at 2:20pm. We climbed up a short dirt filled chimney to a large pine tree for a 40-foot rappel, which immediately led to a 30-foot long pool. Thinking we were in for a swim, Tom successfully negotiated the deep pool with tenuous chimney technique. We weren't to remain dry for long, however, as the next pool required 40 feet of swimming. Just downstream at the final pool in the canyon, I rappelled 30 feet into the water, swam downstream and rigged a Tyrolean traverse for the packs and a lucky, though nervous, Tom. After a short hike through some lush green foliage, we arrived at the big air and open exit of the canyon, surprised to find a single bolt anchor on a large rock guarding the final steep descent. At 4:00pm, we sorted our gear and grabbed a snack in the flat stream course.

    Finale: At the airy shelf, we rigged our rope off the single bolt anchor (SMC hanger, 1" webbing) and dropped down 30 feet to a small shelf, continuing the rappel to another single bolt rappel station located another 40 feet down and inside the main exit chimney system. Another single rope rappel for 80 feet again led to a single bolt anchor at a small stance inside of the chimney. Here, we opted to toss our double ropes down the confines of the backside of the chimney (instead of outside) as there appeared much less chance for sticking the ropes. Tom extended the rappel full length but didn't end at any useful anchors at a large ledge. I rappelled down and rigged the rope through a ratty sling around a chock stone at an uncomfortable (slanting, narrow) stance. Pulling the rope through and tossing the ends down to Tom, we made sure the rope would not get hung up in the pinching slot before rappelling to the last big ledge. Tom scouted for anchors and soon located a pair of lost arrow pitons out to the far, left side of the ledge, which provided thankful access to the ground. Removing the old sling and adding a new one with a rappel ring, we descended the final 150 feet to the ground and hiked the short distance to the Emerald Pools trail.

    Notes: The initial descent into the canyon was a high angle whopper. Our route made the best use of available tree anchors, which seemed to be spaced perfectly for our doubled 200-foot ropes. No evidence of prior passage was observed in the upper canyon. We were surprised to find the single bolt anchors in the finale exit chimney at the end of the canyon and mused about from whence they came. It is possible that the final chimney exiting the canyon was descended after a climb of the Spearhead from Zion Canyon. The single bolt anchors (3/8" Rawl type studs) appeared to be in good shape with SMC hangers and green 1" webbing. The loose ends of the webbing were finished in a distinctive style with the ends cut in a point and notch that fit into each other when mated together. Unwisely, we chose to not back up these single bolt anchors but added new webbing and rings at a couple of the lower rappel stations.

    Time: After obtaining an overnight and canyon permit at the Visitor Center, we left the shuttle at Grotto Springs at 9:45 am on 14 October. We completed our approach in the dark at 10:15pm and settled in for sleep by 11:00pm. At 8:00am the next morning, we scouted our descent and started the first rappel at 9:30am. At 4:00pm we began the initial rappel of the steep exit chimney and finished the final rappel at 5:50pm. We were reunited with the shuttle bus at 6:30pm for a seemingly long, 2-day trip.
  7. Tom Jones

    Tom Jones Guest

    WE (Brian and I) call it Hook Canyon because it hooks around. It is not the main watercourse of Refrigerator, but could be the West Fork of Refrigerator.

    It SHOULD have been in the book - an oversight on might part.

    How did YOU GUYS get back down? Surely you did not downclimb and rap the ridge?

    Tom

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "Luke" <Bluu@...> wrote:
    Good info for spearhead. Thanks Brian.

    Tom mentioned the actual head of the canyon looked as though it had some > ledges. When I mentioned I would like to descend down the actual head of > the canyon, he mentioned that would be the route he would take if he were to > do it again. In your recollection how did the head of the canyon look for a > descent route (looking back to it while on your route down in)?

    I set up a rope to get myself safely over to the edge of the canyon (on > canyon left) about 100 feet or so down canyon of the actual head. About 60 > feet below me was a pine about 6" to 8" in diameter on a descent size ledge. > I could see another ledge about 50 feet or so below that which tucked itself > around a corner up toward the head of the canyon. That second ledge looked > large enough for a few people as well but I could not see all that was there > and did not readily see an anchor. I did not spend a lot of time really > looking it over since I was just taking a look over and trying to verbally > tell Ron what I was seeing.

    I do intend to go back sometime for an actual descent. As Ron says, cooler > months would be a good idea, although I was still chilly sleeping the night > we were up there, but I do tend to sleep cold.

    Also you mention the canyon running south up between Cathedral and Mount > Majestic as being "Hook" Canyon. Are you calling it that because it is hook > shaped or is that the name of that canyon? I was referring to it as the > upper Refrigerator Canyon since it is the same water course. If Hook is the > name I will update my Spearhead TR. I was thinking it might be fun to > descend it some day after getting to the top of Majestic (just an amusing > thought).

    Since fires have knocked down most of the dense vegetation it is pretty easy > travel along the top of the plateau. There's a lot of new growth coming in > so it will not be so easy later!

    Luke

    From: Yahoo Canyons Group [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group] On Behalf Of > beadysee > Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 08:14 > To: Yahoo Canyons Group
    Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: Most Technically Challening Canyon in > Zions


    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ron > Graham" <dsrtfox@> wrote:

    From what Luke Galyan and I saw on a recent trip to the top of Mount > Majestic, Spearhead Canyon might be near the top of the heap of technically > difficult Zion Canyons simply because of the difficulty associated with > entering it. There is very little beta on it, other than comments > contributed by Tom Jones, the only person we know has descended it.
    Yeah that Tom guy gets around....(notes on Spearhead below).
    Also, I guess I'd rank "Mountain of Mystery Canyon" right up there for being > kind of a pain in the arse to pull off. Birch Creek is a high angle whopper > in the finish too.
    Cheers,
    -Brian in SLC
    Spearhead Canyon Descent @ Zion National Park
    Overview: Technical canyoneering descent of the canyon located directly > behind (west and north) of the Spearhead and to the west of Cathedral > Mountain. 18 rappels, the longest being 200 feet. Compiled by Brian Cabe > following his and Tom Jones' descent on 15 October 2000.
    Disclaimer: the information provided herein is for historical reading > entertainment and is not intended to be a guide.
    Map: Temple of Sinawava, Utah (7.5 minute, 1980)
    Reference: None
    Equipment: Two 60 meter (200 foot) ropes, 200 feet of 6mm retrieval cord, > rappelling gear, bolt kit, extra sling and rapid links. Full rock climbing > rack including set of pitons and hooks. 4 liters of water. Overnight gear > (lightweight sleeping bags, headlamp, etc.). All fit into daypacks.
    Getting started: Note: all directions will assume hiker is facing the > direction of travel. Distances and descriptions are estimates.
    We started hiking from the Grotto Falls parking lot, up the Angel's Landing > trail, and past the spring at the top of Refrigerator Canyon to the base of > Cathedral Mountain. Searching for a reasonable ascent route led us to the > "hook" canyon, which ascends between the elevation points 6955 on Mount > Majestic and 6930 on Cathedral Mountain. In the upper stretch of this > canyon, we ascended the right (west) fork. This approach required technical > climbing of approximately 5.8 A2 in difficulty (we belayed four pitches) > took the entire day and was somewhat of a grunt: loose rock, brush, and post > holing up deep sand and scree. This approach is not recommended.
    Descent into the canyon: After a night on the Cathedral Mountain mesa, at > the canyon rim, we scouted the steep canyon walls dropping into the gorge > for the safest, most logical descent path. Opposite and slightly down canyon > from our camp, we noticed a tree line on the northeast wall of the canyon, > 2-300 feet downstream from the head of the canyon (which appeared to contain > an unsafe amount of loose rock). At 9:30am, from a large tree on the rim of > the canyon, we rappelled 40 feet to a small single tree setting in a shallow > bowl located 60 feet to the skier's left of a large clump of trees. From > this 10" diameter pine, we added a green sling with a rapid link and > rappelled 200 feet to a single 14" diameter pine. Again, we left a green > sling and rapid link and rappelled for 130 feet to a loose gully which ran > parallel to the main canyon for 200 feet before turning and running straight > out over a pour over. At 11:15am, we rigged another rappel in the brush at > this pour over but could not ascertain whether the ropes reached any > fruitful anchors. Tom jugged back up the rope and we hiked back up to the > top of the gully. Cutting across slope, back toward the head of the canyon, > and then down to a large pine tree, which we rigged with webbing and > rappelled past a steep wall, to a bench then low angle for 140 feet. At a > gnarled, bent over pine, we rappelled the steep wall for 160 feet to a > sturdy spruce tree, which we rappelled thankfully for 100 feet to the canyon > floor.
    Main Canyon: Immediately down canyon, we rappelled a 10 foot pour over, > hiked a short distance, and rappelled for 100 feet past multiple, short > pour-overs. After a nice bit of hiking, we rappelled 40 feet over an > avoidable water hole where we took lunch and refilled our water bottles at > 1:15pm. At this point, the canyon ran almost straight away with not much > elevation loss, which we hiked for a fair distance intermixed with some down > climbing. A 2" tree on the right side of the drainage provided a handy > anchor for rigging a sling for the 40-foot rappel. Just downstream, a > 60-foot rappel past a pour over was from a 3" tree out on a ledge on the > left side of the drainage at 2:20pm. We climbed up a short dirt filled > chimney to a large pine tree for a 40-foot rappel, which immediately led to > a 30-foot long pool. Thinking we were in for a swim, Tom successfully > negotiated the deep pool with tenuous chimney technique. We weren't to > remain dry for long, however, as the next pool required 40 feet of swimming. > Just downstream at the final pool in the canyon, I rappelled 30 feet into > the water, swam downstream and rigged a Tyrolean traverse for the packs and > a lucky, though nervous, Tom. After a short hike through some lush green > foliage, we arrived at the big air and open exit of the canyon, surprised to > find a single bolt anchor on a large rock guarding the final steep descent. > At 4:00pm, we sorted our gear and grabbed a snack in the flat stream course.
    > Finale: At the airy shelf, we rigged our rope off the single bolt anchor > (SMC hanger, 1" webbing) and dropped down 30 feet to a small shelf, > continuing the rappel to another single bolt rappel station located another > 40 feet down and inside the main exit chimney system. Another single rope > rappel for 80 feet again led to a single bolt anchor at a small stance > inside of the chimney. Here, we opted to toss our double ropes down the > confines of the backside of the chimney (instead of outside) as there > appeared much less chance for sticking the ropes. Tom extended the rappel > full length but didn't end at any useful anchors at a large ledge. I > rappelled down and rigged the rope through a ratty sling around a chock > stone at an uncomfortable (slanting, narrow) stance. Pulling the rope > through and tossing the ends down to Tom, we made sure the rope would not > get hung up in the pinching slot before rappelling to the last big ledge. > Tom scouted for anchors and soon located a pair of lost arrow pitons out to > the far, left side of the ledge, which provided thankful access to the > ground. Removing the old sling and adding a new one with a rappel ring, we > descended the final 150 feet to the ground and hiked the short distance to > the Emerald Pools trail.
    Notes: The initial descent into the canyon was a high angle whopper. Our > route made the best use of available tree anchors, which seemed to be spaced > perfectly for our doubled 200-foot ropes. No evidence of prior passage was > observed in the upper canyon. We were surprised to find the single bolt > anchors in the finale exit chimney at the end of the canyon and mused about > from whence they came. It is possible that the final chimney exiting the > canyon was descended after a climb of the Spearhead from Zion Canyon. The > single bolt anchors (3/8" Rawl type studs) appeared to be in good shape with > SMC hangers and green 1" webbing. The loose ends of the webbing were > finished in a distinctive style with the ends cut in a point and notch that > fit into each other when mated together. Unwisely, we chose to not back up > these single bolt anchors but added new webbing and rings at a couple of the > lower rappel stations.
    Time: After obtaining an overnight and canyon permit at the Visitor Center, > we left the shuttle at Grotto Springs at 9:45 am on 14 October. We completed > our approach in the dark at 10:15pm and settled in for sleep by 11:00pm. At > 8:00am the next morning, we scouted our descent and started the first rappel > at 9:30am. At 4:00pm we began the initial rappel of the steep exit chimney > and finished the final rappel at 5:50pm. We were reunited with the shuttle > bus at 6:30pm for a seemingly long, 2-day trip.


    >
  8. Luke

    Luke Guest

    You got it Tom, we went back down the same way we went up. It was just as un nerving on the way down as it was on the way up. J A big attention grabber.



    On the topo I have it shows no forks in the water course for Refrigerator Canyon. If you follow the water course (at least on my topo) it goes up refrigerator then hooks around Cathedral mountain and runs between Cathedral and Majestic. As I look closer at the topo lines and look at it in Google Earth I see that this is more of a hanging valley that drops to the Refrigerator Canyon near the head of Refrigerator. The fork is so close to the top that it is "Almost" like just one water course. Thanks for pointing that out. West Fork of Refrigerator it is then.



    Luke

    From: Yahoo Canyons Group [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group] On Behalf Of Tom Jones Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 18:17 To: Yahoo Canyons Group Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: Most Technically Challening Canyon in Zions





    WE (Brian and I) call it Hook Canyon because it hooks around. It is not the main watercourse of Refrigerator, but could be the West Fork of Refrigerator.

    It SHOULD have been in the book - an oversight on might part.

    How did YOU GUYS get back down? Surely you did not downclimb and rap the ridge?

    Tom

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> , "Luke" <Bluu@...> wrote:
    Good info for spearhead. Thanks Brian.

    Tom mentioned the actual head of the canyon looked as though it had some > ledges. When I mentioned I would like to descend down the actual head of > the canyon, he mentioned that would be the route he would take if he were to > do it again. In your recollection how did the head of the canyon look for a > descent route (looking back to it while on your route down in)?

    I set up a rope to get myself safely over to the edge of the canyon (on > canyon left) about 100 feet or so down canyon of the actual head. About 60 > feet below me was a pine about 6" to 8" in diameter on a descent size ledge. > I could see another ledge about 50 feet or so below that which tucked itself > around a corner up toward the head of the canyon. That second ledge looked > large enough for a few people as well but I could not see all that was there > and did not readily see an anchor. I did not spend a lot of time really > looking it over since I was just taking a look over and trying to verbally > tell Ron what I was seeing.

    I do intend to go back sometime for an actual descent. As Ron says, cooler > months would be a good idea, although I was still chilly sleeping the night > we were up there, but I do tend to sleep cold.

    Also you mention the canyon running south up between Cathedral and Mount > Majestic as being "Hook" Canyon. Are you calling it that because it is hook > shaped or is that the name of that canyon? I was referring to it as the > upper Refrigerator Canyon since it is the same water course. If Hook is the > name I will update my Spearhead TR. I was thinking it might be fun to > descend it some day after getting to the top of Majestic (just an amusing > thought).

    Since fires have knocked down most of the dense vegetation it is pretty easy > travel along the top of the plateau. There's a lot of new growth coming in > so it will not be so easy later!

    Luke

    From: Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of > beadysee > Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 08:14 > To: Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com
    Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: Most Technically Challening Canyon in > Zions


    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ron > Graham" <dsrtfox@> wrote:

    From what Luke Galyan and I saw on a recent trip to the top of Mount > Majestic, Spearhead Canyon might be near the top of the heap of technically > difficult Zion Canyons simply because of the difficulty associated with > entering it. There is very little beta on it, other than comments > contributed by Tom Jones, the only person we know has descended it.
    Yeah that Tom guy gets around....(notes on Spearhead below).
    Also, I guess I'd rank "Mountain of Mystery Canyon" right up there for being > kind of a pain in the arse to pull off. Birch Creek is a high angle whopper > in the finish too.
    Cheers,
    -Brian in SLC
    Spearhead Canyon Descent @ Zion National Park
    Overview: Technical canyoneering descent of the canyon located directly > behind (west and north) of the Spearhead and to the west of Cathedral > Mountain. 18 rappels, the longest being 200 feet. Compiled by Brian Cabe > following his and Tom Jones' descent on 15 October 2000.
    Disclaimer: the information provided herein is for historical reading > entertainment and is not intended to be a guide.
    Map: Temple of Sinawava, Utah (7.5 minute, 1980)
    Reference: None
    Equipment: Two 60 meter (200 foot) ropes, 200 feet of 6mm retrieval cord, > rappelling gear, bolt kit, extra sling and rapid links. Full rock climbing > rack including set of pitons and hooks. 4 liters of water. Overnight gear > (lightweight sleeping bags, headlamp, etc.). All fit into daypacks.
    Getting started: Note: all directions will assume hiker is facing the > direction of travel. Distances and descriptions are estimates.
    We started hiking from the Grotto Falls parking lot, up the Angel's Landing > trail, and past the spring at the top of Refrigerator Canyon to the base of > Cathedral Mountain. Searching for a reasonable ascent route led us to the > "hook" canyon, which ascends between the elevation points 6955 on Mount > Majestic and 6930 on Cathedral Mountain. In the upper stretch of this > canyon, we ascended the right (west) fork. This approach required technical > climbing of approximately 5.8 A2 in difficulty (we belayed four pitches) > took the entire day and was somewhat of a grunt: loose rock, brush, and post > holing up deep sand and scree. This approach is not recommended.
    Descent into the canyon: After a night on the Cathedral Mountain mesa, at > the canyon rim, we scouted the steep canyon walls dropping into the gorge > for the safest, most logical descent path. Opposite and slightly down canyon > from our camp, we noticed a tree line on the northeast wall of the canyon, > 2-300 feet downstream from the head of the canyon (which appeared to contain > an unsafe amount of loose rock). At 9:30am, from a large tree on the rim of > the canyon, we rappelled 40 feet to a small single tree setting in a shallow > bowl located 60 feet to the skier's left of a large clump of trees. From > this 10" diameter pine, we added a green sling with a rapid link and > rappelled 200 feet to a single 14" diameter pine. Again, we left a green > sling and rapid link and rappelled for 130 feet to a loose gully which ran > parallel to the main canyon for 200 feet before turning and running straight > out over a pour over. At 11:15am, we rigged another rappel in the brush at > this pour over but could not ascertain whether the ropes reached any > fruitful anchors. Tom jugged back up the rope and we hiked back up to the > top of the gully. Cutting across slope, back toward the head of the canyon, > and then down to a large pine tree, which we rigged with webbing and > rappelled past a steep wall, to a bench then low angle for 140 feet. At a > gnarled, bent over pine, we rappelled the steep wall for 160 feet to a > sturdy spruce tree, which we rappelled thankfully for 100 feet to the canyon > floor.
    Main Canyon: Immediately down canyon, we rappelled a 10 foot pour over, > hiked a short distance, and rappelled for 100 feet past multiple, short > pour-overs. After a nice bit of hiking, we rappelled 40 feet over an > avoidable water hole where we took lunch and refilled our water bottles at > 1:15pm. At this point, the canyon ran almost straight away with not much > elevation loss, which we hiked for a fair distance intermixed with some down > climbing. A 2" tree on the right side of the drainage provided a handy > anchor for rigging a sling for the 40-foot rappel. Just downstream, a > 60-foot rappel past a pour over was from a 3" tree out on a ledge on the > left side of the drainage at 2:20pm. We climbed up a short dirt filled > chimney to a large pine tree for a 40-foot rappel, which immediately led to > a 30-foot long pool. Thinking we were in for a swim, Tom successfully > negotiated the deep pool with tenuous chimney technique. We weren't to > remain dry for long, however, as the next pool required 40 feet of swimming. > Just downstream at the final pool in the canyon, I rappelled 30 feet into > the water, swam downstream and rigged a Tyrolean traverse for the packs and > a lucky, though nervous, Tom. After a short hike through some lush green > foliage, we arrived at the big air and open exit of the canyon, surprised to > find a single bolt anchor on a large rock guarding the final steep descent. > At 4:00pm, we sorted our gear and grabbed a snack in the flat stream course.
    > Finale: At the airy shelf, we rigged our rope off the single bolt anchor > (SMC hanger, 1" webbing) and dropped down 30 feet to a small shelf, > continuing the rappel to another single bolt rappel station located another > 40 feet down and inside the main exit chimney system. Another single rope > rappel for 80 feet again led to a single bolt anchor at a small stance > inside of the chimney. Here, we opted to toss our double ropes down the > confines of the backside of the chimney (instead of outside) as there > appeared much less chance for sticking the ropes. Tom extended the rappel > full length but didn't end at any useful anchors at a large ledge. I > rappelled down and rigged the rope through a ratty sling around a chock > stone at an uncomfortable (slanting, narrow) stance. Pulling the rope > through and tossing the ends down to Tom, we made sure the rope would not > get hung up in the pinching slot before rappelling to the last big ledge. > Tom scouted for anchors and soon located a pair of lost arrow pitons out to > the far, left side of the ledge, which provided thankful access to the > ground. Removing the old sling and adding a new one with a rappel ring, we > descended the final 150 feet to the ground and hiked the short distance to > the Emerald Pools trail.
    Notes: The initial descent into the canyon was a high angle whopper. Our > route made the best use of available tree anchors, which seemed to be spaced > perfectly for our doubled 200-foot ropes. No evidence of prior passage was > observed in the upper canyon. We were surprised to find the single bolt > anchors in the finale exit chimney at the end of the canyon and mused about > from whence they came. It is possible that the final chimney exiting the > canyon was descended after a climb of the Spearhead from Zion Canyon. The > single bolt anchors (3/8" Rawl type studs) appeared to be in good shape with > SMC hangers and green 1" webbing. The loose ends of the webbing were > finished in a distinctive style with the ends cut in a point and notch that > fit into each other when mated together. Unwisely, we chose to not back up > these single bolt anchors but added new webbing and rings at a couple of the > lower rappel stations.
    Time: After obtaining an overnight and canyon permit at the Visitor Center, > we left the shuttle at Grotto Springs at 9:45 am on 14 October. We completed > our approach in the dark at 10:15pm and settled in for sleep by 11:00pm. At > 8:00am the next morning, we scouted our descent and started the first rappel > at 9:30am. At 4:00pm we began the initial rappel of the steep exit chimney > and finished the final rappel at 5:50pm. We were reunited with the shuttle > bus at 6:30pm for a seemingly long, 2-day trip.


    >
  9. Tom Jones

    Tom Jones Guest

    Which is why Hook Canyon should have been in the book. First time down it, with Brian, on an April Fools Day, we found slings, so no first D there, of course. Wait, that would be on April Fools Night! Still made it to the Bit before the kitchen closed!

    T

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "Luke" <Bluu@...> wrote:
    You got it Tom, we went back down the same way we went up. It was just as > un nerving on the way down as it was on the way up. J A big attention > grabber.

    On the topo I have it shows no forks in the water course for Refrigerator > Canyon. If you follow the water course (at least on my topo) it goes up > refrigerator then hooks around Cathedral mountain and runs between Cathedral > and Majestic. As I look closer at the topo lines and look at it in Google > Earth I see that this is more of a hanging valley that drops to the > Refrigerator Canyon near the head of Refrigerator. The fork is so close to > the top that it is "Almost" like just one water course. Thanks for pointing > that out. West Fork of Refrigerator it is then.

    Luke
    From: Yahoo Canyons Group [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group] On Behalf Of > Tom Jones > Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 18:17 > To: Yahoo Canyons Group
    Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: Most Technically Challening Canyon in > Zions


    WE (Brian and I) call it Hook Canyon because it hooks around. It is not the > main watercourse of Refrigerator, but could be the West Fork of > Refrigerator.
    It SHOULD have been in the book - an oversight on might part.
    How did YOU GUYS get back down? Surely you did not downclimb and rap the > ridge?
    Tom
    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> , "Luke" > <Bluu@> wrote:

    Good info for spearhead. Thanks Brian.



    Tom mentioned the actual head of the canyon looked as though it had some
    ledges. When I mentioned I would like to descend down the actual head of
    the canyon, he mentioned that would be the route he would take if he were > to
    do it again. In your recollection how did the head of the canyon look for > a
    descent route (looking back to it while on your route down in)?



    I set up a rope to get myself safely over to the edge of the canyon (on
    canyon left) about 100 feet or so down canyon of the actual head. About 60
    feet below me was a pine about 6" to 8" in diameter on a descent size > ledge.
    I could see another ledge about 50 feet or so below that which tucked > itself
    around a corner up toward the head of the canyon. That second ledge looked
    large enough for a few people as well but I could not see all that was > there
    and did not readily see an anchor. I did not spend a lot of time really
    looking it over since I was just taking a look over and trying to verbally
    tell Ron what I was seeing.



    I do intend to go back sometime for an actual descent. As Ron says, cooler
    months would be a good idea, although I was still chilly sleeping the > night
    we were up there, but I do tend to sleep cold.



    Also you mention the canyon running south up between Cathedral and Mount
    Majestic as being "Hook" Canyon. Are you calling it that because it is > hook
    shaped or is that the name of that canyon? I was referring to it as the
    upper Refrigerator Canyon since it is the same water course. If Hook is > the
    name I will update my Spearhead TR. I was thinking it might be fun to
    descend it some day after getting to the top of Majestic (just an amusing
    thought).



    Since fires have knocked down most of the dense vegetation it is pretty > easy
    travel along the top of the plateau. There's a lot of new growth coming in
    so it will not be so easy later!



    Luke



    From: Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com
    [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> ] On > Behalf Of
    beadysee
    Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 08:14
    To: Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com
    > Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: Most Technically Challening Canyon in
    Zions





    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com
    <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ron
    Graham" <dsrtfox@> wrote:


    From what Luke Galyan and I saw on a recent trip to the top of Mount
    Majestic, Spearhead Canyon might be near the top of the heap of > technically
    difficult Zion Canyons simply because of the difficulty associated with
    entering it. There is very little beta on it, other than comments
    contributed by Tom Jones, the only person we know has descended it.

    Yeah that Tom guy gets around....(notes on Spearhead below).

    Also, I guess I'd rank "Mountain of Mystery Canyon" right up there for > being
    kind of a pain in the arse to pull off. Birch Creek is a high angle > whopper
    in the finish too.

    Cheers,

    -Brian in SLC

    Spearhead Canyon Descent @ Zion National Park

    Overview: Technical canyoneering descent of the canyon located directly
    behind (west and north) of the Spearhead and to the west of Cathedral
    Mountain. 18 rappels, the longest being 200 feet. Compiled by Brian Cabe
    following his and Tom Jones' descent on 15 October 2000.

    Disclaimer: the information provided herein is for historical reading
    entertainment and is not intended to be a guide.

    Map: Temple of Sinawava, Utah (7.5 minute, 1980)

    Reference: None

    Equipment: Two 60 meter (200 foot) ropes, 200 feet of 6mm retrieval cord,
    rappelling gear, bolt kit, extra sling and rapid links. Full rock climbing
    rack including set of pitons and hooks. 4 liters of water. Overnight gear
    (lightweight sleeping bags, headlamp, etc.). All fit into daypacks.

    Getting started: Note: all directions will assume hiker is facing the
    direction of travel. Distances and descriptions are estimates.

    We started hiking from the Grotto Falls parking lot, up the Angel's > Landing
    trail, and past the spring at the top of Refrigerator Canyon to the base > of
    Cathedral Mountain. Searching for a reasonable ascent route led us to the
    "hook" canyon, which ascends between the elevation points 6955 on Mount
    Majestic and 6930 on Cathedral Mountain. In the upper stretch of this
    canyon, we ascended the right (west) fork. This approach required > technical
    climbing of approximately 5.8 A2 in difficulty (we belayed four pitches)
    took the entire day and was somewhat of a grunt: loose rock, brush, and > post
    holing up deep sand and scree. This approach is not recommended.

    Descent into the canyon: After a night on the Cathedral Mountain mesa, at
    the canyon rim, we scouted the steep canyon walls dropping into the gorge
    for the safest, most logical descent path. Opposite and slightly down > canyon
    from our camp, we noticed a tree line on the northeast wall of the canyon,
    2-300 feet downstream from the head of the canyon (which appeared to > contain
    an unsafe amount of loose rock). At 9:30am, from a large tree on the rim > of
    the canyon, we rappelled 40 feet to a small single tree setting in a > shallow
    bowl located 60 feet to the skier's left of a large clump of trees. From
    this 10" diameter pine, we added a green sling with a rapid link and
    rappelled 200 feet to a single 14" diameter pine. Again, we left a green
    sling and rapid link and rappelled for 130 feet to a loose gully which ran
    parallel to the main canyon for 200 feet before turning and running > straight
    out over a pour over. At 11:15am, we rigged another rappel in the brush at
    this pour over but could not ascertain whether the ropes reached any
    fruitful anchors. Tom jugged back up the rope and we hiked back up to the
    top of the gully. Cutting across slope, back toward the head of the > canyon,
    and then down to a large pine tree, which we rigged with webbing and
    rappelled past a steep wall, to a bench then low angle for 140 feet. At a
    gnarled, bent over pine, we rappelled the steep wall for 160 feet to a
    sturdy spruce tree, which we rappelled thankfully for 100 feet to the > canyon
    floor.

    Main Canyon: Immediately down canyon, we rappelled a 10 foot pour over,
    hiked a short distance, and rappelled for 100 feet past multiple, short
    pour-overs. After a nice bit of hiking, we rappelled 40 feet over an
    avoidable water hole where we took lunch and refilled our water bottles at
    1:15pm. At this point, the canyon ran almost straight away with not much
    elevation loss, which we hiked for a fair distance intermixed with some > down
    climbing. A 2" tree on the right side of the drainage provided a handy
    anchor for rigging a sling for the 40-foot rappel. Just downstream, a
    60-foot rappel past a pour over was from a 3" tree out on a ledge on the
    left side of the drainage at 2:20pm. We climbed up a short dirt filled
    chimney to a large pine tree for a 40-foot rappel, which immediately led > to
    a 30-foot long pool. Thinking we were in for a swim, Tom successfully
    negotiated the deep pool with tenuous chimney technique. We weren't to
    remain dry for long, however, as the next pool required 40 feet of > swimming.
    Just downstream at the final pool in the canyon, I rappelled 30 feet into
    the water, swam downstream and rigged a Tyrolean traverse for the packs > and
    a lucky, though nervous, Tom. After a short hike through some lush green
    foliage, we arrived at the big air and open exit of the canyon, surprised > to
    find a single bolt anchor on a large rock guarding the final steep > descent.
    At 4:00pm, we sorted our gear and grabbed a snack in the flat stream > course.


    Finale: At the airy shelf, we rigged our rope off the single bolt anchor
    (SMC hanger, 1" webbing) and dropped down 30 feet to a small shelf,
    continuing the rappel to another single bolt rappel station located > another
    40 feet down and inside the main exit chimney system. Another single rope
    rappel for 80 feet again led to a single bolt anchor at a small stance
    inside of the chimney. Here, we opted to toss our double ropes down the
    confines of the backside of the chimney (instead of outside) as there
    appeared much less chance for sticking the ropes. Tom extended the rappel
    full length but didn't end at any useful anchors at a large ledge. I
    rappelled down and rigged the rope through a ratty sling around a chock
    stone at an uncomfortable (slanting, narrow) stance. Pulling the rope
    through and tossing the ends down to Tom, we made sure the rope would not
    get hung up in the pinching slot before rappelling to the last big ledge.
    Tom scouted for anchors and soon located a pair of lost arrow pitons out > to
    the far, left side of the ledge, which provided thankful access to the
    ground. Removing the old sling and adding a new one with a rappel ring, we
    descended the final 150 feet to the ground and hiked the short distance to
    the Emerald Pools trail.

    Notes: The initial descent into the canyon was a high angle whopper. Our
    route made the best use of available tree anchors, which seemed to be > spaced
    perfectly for our doubled 200-foot ropes. No evidence of prior passage was
    observed in the upper canyon. We were surprised to find the single bolt
    anchors in the finale exit chimney at the end of the canyon and mused > about
    from whence they came. It is possible that the final chimney exiting the
    canyon was descended after a climb of the Spearhead from Zion Canyon. The
    single bolt anchors (3/8" Rawl type studs) appeared to be in good shape > with
    SMC hangers and green 1" webbing. The loose ends of the webbing were
    finished in a distinctive style with the ends cut in a point and notch > that
    fit into each other when mated together. Unwisely, we chose to not back up
    these single bolt anchors but added new webbing and rings at a couple of > the
    lower rappel stations.

    Time: After obtaining an overnight and canyon permit at the Visitor > Center,
    we left the shuttle at Grotto Springs at 9:45 am on 14 October. We > completed
    our approach in the dark at 10:15pm and settled in for sleep by 11:00pm. > At
    8:00am the next morning, we scouted our descent and started the first > rappel
    at 9:30am. At 4:00pm we began the initial rappel of the steep exit chimney
    and finished the final rappel at 5:50pm. We were reunited with the shuttle
    bus at 6:30pm for a seemingly long, 2-day trip.









    >
  10. Luke

    Luke Guest

    Ho long was the longest rap on that one? And did you guys drop down into Refrigerator (doubt it but had to ask)?

    Luke



    From: Yahoo Canyons Group [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group] On Behalf Of Tom Jones Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 19:38 To: Yahoo Canyons Group Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: Most Technically Challening Canyon in Zions





    Which is why Hook Canyon should have been in the book. First time down it, with Brian, on an April Fools Day, we found slings, so no first D there, of course. Wait, that would be on April Fools Night! Still made it to the Bit before the kitchen closed!

    T

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> , "Luke" <Bluu@...> wrote:
    You got it Tom, we went back down the same way we went up. It was just as > un nerving on the way down as it was on the way up. J A big attention > grabber.

    On the topo I have it shows no forks in the water course for Refrigerator > Canyon. If you follow the water course (at least on my topo) it goes up > refrigerator then hooks around Cathedral mountain and runs between Cathedral > and Majestic. As I look closer at the topo lines and look at it in Google > Earth I see that this is more of a hanging valley that drops to the > Refrigerator Canyon near the head of Refrigerator. The fork is so close to > the top that it is "Almost" like just one water course. Thanks for pointing > that out. West Fork of Refrigerator it is then.

    Luke
    From: Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of > Tom Jones > Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 18:17 > To: Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com
    Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: Most Technically Challening Canyon in > Zions


    WE (Brian and I) call it Hook Canyon because it hooks around. It is not the > main watercourse of Refrigerator, but could be the West Fork of > Refrigerator.
    It SHOULD have been in the book - an oversight on might part.
    How did YOU GUYS get back down? Surely you did not downclimb and rap the > ridge?
    Tom
    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> , "Luke" > <Bluu@> wrote:

    Good info for spearhead. Thanks Brian.



    Tom mentioned the actual head of the canyon looked as though it had some
    ledges. When I mentioned I would like to descend down the actual head of
    the canyon, he mentioned that would be the route he would take if he were > to
    do it again. In your recollection how did the head of the canyon look for > a
    descent route (looking back to it while on your route down in)?



    I set up a rope to get myself safely over to the edge of the canyon (on
    canyon left) about 100 feet or so down canyon of the actual head. About 60
    feet below me was a pine about 6" to 8" in diameter on a descent size > ledge.
    I could see another ledge about 50 feet or so below that which tucked > itself
    around a corner up toward the head of the canyon. That second ledge looked
    large enough for a few people as well but I could not see all that was > there
    and did not readily see an anchor. I did not spend a lot of time really
    looking it over since I was just taking a look over and trying to verbally
    tell Ron what I was seeing.



    I do intend to go back sometime for an actual descent. As Ron says, cooler
    months would be a good idea, although I was still chilly sleeping the > night
    we were up there, but I do tend to sleep cold.



    Also you mention the canyon running south up between Cathedral and Mount
    Majestic as being "Hook" Canyon. Are you calling it that because it is > hook
    shaped or is that the name of that canyon? I was referring to it as the
    upper Refrigerator Canyon since it is the same water course. If Hook is > the
    name I will update my Spearhead TR. I was thinking it might be fun to
    descend it some day after getting to the top of Majestic (just an amusing
    thought).



    Since fires have knocked down most of the dense vegetation it is pretty > easy
    travel along the top of the plateau. There's a lot of new growth coming in
    so it will not be so easy later!



    Luke



    From: Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com
    [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> ] On > Behalf Of
    beadysee
    Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 08:14
    To: Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com
    > Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: Most Technically Challening Canyon in
    Zions





    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com
    <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ron
    Graham" <dsrtfox@> wrote:


    From what Luke Galyan and I saw on a recent trip to the top of Mount
    Majestic, Spearhead Canyon might be near the top of the heap of > technically
    difficult Zion Canyons simply because of the difficulty associated with
    entering it. There is very little beta on it, other than comments
    contributed by Tom Jones, the only person we know has descended it.

    Yeah that Tom guy gets around....(notes on Spearhead below).

    Also, I guess I'd rank "Mountain of Mystery Canyon" right up there for > being
    kind of a pain in the arse to pull off. Birch Creek is a high angle > whopper
    in the finish too.

    Cheers,

    -Brian in SLC

    Spearhead Canyon Descent @ Zion National Park

    Overview: Technical canyoneering descent of the canyon located directly
    behind (west and north) of the Spearhead and to the west of Cathedral
    Mountain. 18 rappels, the longest being 200 feet. Compiled by Brian Cabe
    following his and Tom Jones' descent on 15 October 2000.

    Disclaimer: the information provided herein is for historical reading
    entertainment and is not intended to be a guide.

    Map: Temple of Sinawava, Utah (7.5 minute, 1980)

    Reference: None

    Equipment: Two 60 meter (200 foot) ropes, 200 feet of 6mm retrieval cord,
    rappelling gear, bolt kit, extra sling and rapid links. Full rock climbing
    rack including set of pitons and hooks. 4 liters of water. Overnight gear
    (lightweight sleeping bags, headlamp, etc.). All fit into daypacks.

    Getting started: Note: all directions will assume hiker is facing the
    direction of travel. Distances and descriptions are estimates.

    We started hiking from the Grotto Falls parking lot, up the Angel's > Landing
    trail, and past the spring at the top of Refrigerator Canyon to the base > of
    Cathedral Mountain. Searching for a reasonable ascent route led us to the
    "hook" canyon, which ascends between the elevation points 6955 on Mount
    Majestic and 6930 on Cathedral Mountain. In the upper stretch of this
    canyon, we ascended the right (west) fork. This approach required > technical
    climbing of approximately 5.8 A2 in difficulty (we belayed four pitches)
    took the entire day and was somewhat of a grunt: loose rock, brush, and > post
    holing up deep sand and scree. This approach is not recommended.

    Descent into the canyon: After a night on the Cathedral Mountain mesa, at
    the canyon rim, we scouted the steep canyon walls dropping into the gorge
    for the safest, most logical descent path. Opposite and slightly down > canyon
    from our camp, we noticed a tree line on the northeast wall of the canyon,
    2-300 feet downstream from the head of the canyon (which appeared to > contain
    an unsafe amount of loose rock). At 9:30am, from a large tree on the rim > of
    the canyon, we rappelled 40 feet to a small single tree setting in a > shallow
    bowl located 60 feet to the skier's left of a large clump of trees. From
    this 10" diameter pine, we added a green sling with a rapid link and
    rappelled 200 feet to a single 14" diameter pine. Again, we left a green
    sling and rapid link and rappelled for 130 feet to a loose gully which ran
    parallel to the main canyon for 200 feet before turning and running > straight
    out over a pour over. At 11:15am, we rigged another rappel in the brush at
    this pour over but could not ascertain whether the ropes reached any
    fruitful anchors. Tom jugged back up the rope and we hiked back up to the
    top of the gully. Cutting across slope, back toward the head of the > canyon,
    and then down to a large pine tree, which we rigged with webbing and
    rappelled past a steep wall, to a bench then low angle for 140 feet. At a
    gnarled, bent over pine, we rappelled the steep wall for 160 feet to a
    sturdy spruce tree, which we rappelled thankfully for 100 feet to the > canyon
    floor.

    Main Canyon: Immediately down canyon, we rappelled a 10 foot pour over,
    hiked a short distance, and rappelled for 100 feet past multiple, short
    pour-overs. After a nice bit of hiking, we rappelled 40 feet over an
    avoidable water hole where we took lunch and refilled our water bottles at
    1:15pm. At this point, the canyon ran almost straight away with not much
    elevation loss, which we hiked for a fair distance intermixed with some > down
    climbing. A 2" tree on the right side of the drainage provided a handy
    anchor for rigging a sling for the 40-foot rappel. Just downstream, a
    60-foot rappel past a pour over was from a 3" tree out on a ledge on the
    left side of the drainage at 2:20pm. We climbed up a short dirt filled
    chimney to a large pine tree for a 40-foot rappel, which immediately led > to
    a 30-foot long pool. Thinking we were in for a swim, Tom successfully
    negotiated the deep pool with tenuous chimney technique. We weren't to
    remain dry for long, however, as the next pool required 40 feet of > swimming.
    Just downstream at the final pool in the canyon, I rappelled 30 feet into
    the water, swam downstream and rigged a Tyrolean traverse for the packs > and
    a lucky, though nervous, Tom. After a short hike through some lush green
    foliage, we arrived at the big air and open exit of the canyon, surprised > to
    find a single bolt anchor on a large rock guarding the final steep > descent.
    At 4:00pm, we sorted our gear and grabbed a snack in the flat stream > course.


    Finale: At the airy shelf, we rigged our rope off the single bolt anchor
    (SMC hanger, 1" webbing) and dropped down 30 feet to a small shelf,
    continuing the rappel to another single bolt rappel station located > another
    40 feet down and inside the main exit chimney system. Another single rope
    rappel for 80 feet again led to a single bolt anchor at a small stance
    inside of the chimney. Here, we opted to toss our double ropes down the
    confines of the backside of the chimney (instead of outside) as there
    appeared much less chance for sticking the ropes. Tom extended the rappel
    full length but didn't end at any useful anchors at a large ledge. I
    rappelled down and rigged the rope through a ratty sling around a chock
    stone at an uncomfortable (slanting, narrow) stance. Pulling the rope
    through and tossing the ends down to Tom, we made sure the rope would not
    get hung up in the pinching slot before rappelling to the last big ledge.
    Tom scouted for anchors and soon located a pair of lost arrow pitons out > to
    the far, left side of the ledge, which provided thankful access to the
    ground. Removing the old sling and adding a new one with a rappel ring, we
    descended the final 150 feet to the ground and hiked the short distance to
    the Emerald Pools trail.

    Notes: The initial descent into the canyon was a high angle whopper. Our
    route made the best use of available tree anchors, which seemed to be > spaced
    perfectly for our doubled 200-foot ropes. No evidence of prior passage was
    observed in the upper canyon. We were surprised to find the single bolt
    anchors in the finale exit chimney at the end of the canyon and mused > about
    from whence they came. It is possible that the final chimney exiting the
    canyon was descended after a climb of the Spearhead from Zion Canyon. The
    single bolt anchors (3/8" Rawl type studs) appeared to be in good shape > with
    SMC hangers and green 1" webbing. The loose ends of the webbing were
    finished in a distinctive style with the ends cut in a point and notch > that
    fit into each other when mated together. Unwisely, we chose to not back up
    these single bolt anchors but added new webbing and rings at a couple of > the
    lower rappel stations.

    Time: After obtaining an overnight and canyon permit at the Visitor > Center,
    we left the shuttle at Grotto Springs at 9:45 am on 14 October. We > completed
    our approach in the dark at 10:15pm and settled in for sleep by 11:00pm. > At
    8:00am the next morning, we scouted our descent and started the first > rappel
    at 9:30am. At 4:00pm we began the initial rappel of the steep exit chimney
    and finished the final rappel at 5:50pm. We were reunited with the shuttle
    bus at 6:30pm for a seemingly long, 2-day trip.









    >
  11. Tom Jones

    Tom Jones Guest

    Brian's memory is better than mine, and he might have notes. I'm thinking the top rap is around 140', and there should be only one other required rap (I think, as I remember) or maybe 2, shorter than that.

    It lets you down onto the wonderful bench, with an easy walk to the trail where it crosses the head of Refrigerator Canyon.

    Tom

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "Luke" <Bluu@...> wrote:
    How long was the longest rap on that one? And did you guys drop down into > Refrigerator (doubt it but had to ask)?
    Luke >
  12. Luke

    Luke Guest

    Sounds like a good thing to get acquainted with another section of the park. J Thanks for the info.



    From: Yahoo Canyons Group [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group] On Behalf Of Tom Jones Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 19:56 To: Yahoo Canyons Group Subject: [from Canyons Group] Re: Most Technically Challening Canyon in Zions





    Brian's memory is better than mine, and he might have notes. I'm thinking the top rap is around 140', and there should be only one other required rap (I think, as I remember) or maybe 2, shorter than that.

    It lets you down onto the wonderful bench, with an easy walk to the trail where it crosses the head of Refrigerator Canyon.

    Tom

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group <mailto:canyons%40yahoogroups.com> , "Luke" <Bluu@...> wrote:
    How long was the longest rap on that one? And did you guys drop down into > Refrigerator (doubt it but had to ask)?
    Luke >
  13. Ron Graham

    Ron Graham Guest

    Maybe I'm just chicken, but slinging a 6-8 inch pine tree in that crumbly, powdery white sandstone on the West rim near the head of the canyon didn't seem like a safe option to me. The redder and harder sandstone located between Majestic and Cathedral looked safer, but we didn't see many ledges at good intervals on that part of the wall. The safest options appeared to be on the East wall, around your descent line, where larger diameter trees were growing out of the wall at better intervals.

    The ramp up to Mount Majestic is pretty precarious, so while Luke belayed me, I clipped into one Link Cam set in the deepest crack I could find on the first 1/4 way up, clipped again into an anchor we set on a deeply rooted pine tree about 1/2 the way up, skirted around another tree about 3/4 of the way up that would give me some fall protection toward the East, fixed the rope to a big pine set behind the top of the ramp, and then rappeled back down. We then both set up ascension systems, put our packs on, and jugged the rope, clipping through the fall protection that was now serving to keep us from taking a pendulum fall on either side of the ramp. It's amazing how much safer jugging the rope felt than trying to free solo or free climb the ramp with our packs on!

    For the return trip, Luke set up a webbing anchor from the pine tree we had fixed our rope to on the ascent that was long enough to place the rapide near the top of the ramp so we would minimize the resistance in pulling the rope. I then rappeled down to the anchor on the pine about 1/2 way down the ramp and clipped in there as pendulum protection. Getting to that point was a little unnerving, because I was wearing my pack on the descent and the rocks beneath my feet were frequently breaking. Once at the bottom, we used a fireman's belay as additional pendulum protection for part of Luke's descent.

    I would strongly advise anyone ascending the ramp to come equipped with a cam or two and extra carabiners to use the protection points I mentioned. There is a slippery dust on many of the rocks on the ramp, the rocks themselves frequently broke as we stepped on them, and a tumble on either side of the ramp would certainly be your last.
  14. beadysee

    beadysee Guest

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "Luke" <Bluu@...> wrote: > Ho long was the longest rap on that one? And did you guys drop down into > Refrigerator (doubt it but had to ask)? > Luke > From: Yahoo Canyons Group [mailto:Yahoo Canyons Group] On Behalf Of > Tom Jones > Which is why Hook Canyon should have been in the book. First time down it, > with Brian, on an April Fools Day, we found slings, so no first D there, of > course. Wait, that would be on April Fools Night! Still made it to the Bit > before the kitchen closed! > T

    Pretty darn amazing day, actually, especially considering that we started on climbing another route, from which we bailed. Still remember the only thing on the late night menu at the Bit was super spicy hot chile verde. And the waitress was hilarious (one of the "twins" I seem to recall, who are characters). "Better'n nothin'" she said, with an evil laugh.

    We only found one sling, near the bottom on the last rappel. Makes me wonder if the upper end had ever been done, but, who knows?

    From my notes, below.

    Cheers,

    -Brian in SLC

    Descent of "Hook" Canyon:

    We rappelled 200 feet off the pine tree down a steep, narrow gorge passing a small slot on the left and then down a chimney. At the end of the rope, we down climbed the lower angle slot for around 20 feet to a log jammed in the bottom of the canyon as the daylight finally gave out. Slinging the top of the log, we descended 160 feet to the end of the slot and the beginning of a lower angle brushy hike down the watercourse. Tom's headlight was already giving up as we walked and slid down alternating dirt, brush and snow fields. Poor peripheral visibility led us to a traverse on deadfall leading to a rappel off a large pine tree into the canyon gorge. Starting this rappel, I was reminded how important it is to pack away those pesky climbing hooks that I had stashed on the back of my harness. Hanging tipped over backwards, bad language ensued as I can only imagine Tom peering amused through the darkness as I struggled and finally succeeded in freeing the hook stuck in the rotten log and continuing the rappel to the canyon bottom. We hiked down in the soggy canyon bottom and came to a sharp drop off to the left and a tree lined crest in front of us. Having scouted this canyon from the bottom the previous year, we felt that the last of the technical was upon us. Sure enough, an old sling was located on a stout pine on the rim and we rappelled down a short steep face remembering an aborted attempt at ascent of the chimney to the climber's right. We finally removed our climbing harnesses and packed up for the hike back to the car. My headlight gave out just prior to reaching the paved trail. By turning on our headlights and quickly sprinting as the light dimmed, we played hide and seek all the way back to the road. A quick drive to the Bit and Spur for beverages and the late night menu finished a busy, fine day.