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No canyon too small

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by GravityWins, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. GravityWins

    GravityWins

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    September 18 - I've got a relative from South East Asia here for the first time. She has never been outside her home country, never been exposed to temperatures below 50 F, never seen a desert, and had absolutely no clue what a slot canyon is. This is gonna be fun! With limited time and knowing that her husband doesn't like heights I need something with short raps, and bang for the buck. Keyhole in Zion is the perfect match.
    We gear up at the car and with wetsuits rolled down to our waists we wander up the slickrock to the pass. Catch our breath, and descend back down to the mouth of middle keyhole. It's a warm day, and the sun is bright, the shade at the mouth of the canyon feels good to neoprene clad bodies hiking in the sun. Everyone is big smiles. P1000739-s.

    We proceed on, with the noob leading until we hit a minor obstacle with water. I Go first just to show that the water isn't deep and there is nothing to worry about. Still smiling but some there is a bit of uncertainty.
    P1000738-s.

    Onward and through the middle section, it's about to get real. The crotch deep water is colder than she has ever experienced her whole life. First Rap, I send the hubby the slightly experienced down first. From the top, I explain where to step over the lip and where there is a ledge so he doesn't have to rap into the pool. Hook up the gumby second. Although her English is better than my Thai, the best way to talk her through the rap is by shouting instructions and encouragement to hubby who translates and shouts back.
    Smile in fear
    P1000741-s.

    As she is descending two dudes catch up to us and wait for us to complete the rap. We chat and they are making a second loop through the canyon to pickup a lost rope. They are pretty sure that they know where it was lost. They tell me it's between the 4th and 5th rap. Blink Blink Bink, I must have heard them wrong. "Between the 4th and 5th Rap?" "Yes." "Uhm, there are only two raps required, there is a third location that I will rig just because I have a first timer with me." I know I've seen the sand and water levels change, but extra raps, where have they appeared?

    I offer to let them play through but since they plan on searching for the rope they decline. My first timer disliked the superman across the pool at the bottom of the rap but we are committed. The next downclimb is daunting, so I retake the lead and show them how to duck under the log and explain how to get over the chockstone and down into the next pothole. I rig the second rap and send the other two down. I then watch the two come down after us into the pothole. Sure enough, they throw their rope over the jammed stump and do a barely there rap double strand rather than downclimb. They search the pot for their rope, not there. They mention that they have never seen the rope rigged like I had at the first rap. Was that a biner block?

    I show my two the downclimb and they opt for the rope. I send them down and then handline down myself. The two following us then stop and say this is where we think we lost the rope. They think they had tosed down the bag into the short slide then proceeded down into the pool and left the bag behind. This is the last we see of them as they plan on doing a search of all of the pools between here and the exit.

    We proceed onward I refuse to lead and just explain some basic downclimbing as we hit obstacles. Sure enough there are no more new raps in the canyon. I climb out at the first opportunity so I can snag some pictures from the top.

    Guess what there was a drop-off and she went from wading to over her head. I recognized the Thai words I had to learn to drive with idiots. Perhaps I shouldn't have laughed.
    P1000753-s.


    And done
    P1000757-s.


    I love Keyhole for what it is, a short hike, a bit of downclimbing, tiny raps, enough water to get chilled, really it's a perfect place to show someone a canyon without a huge commitment. The newbie doesn't like canyoneering, well it will be over soon.

    Two months after the trip her favorite part of the month spent in America was the two hours of excitement, fear, cold water, and sculpted stone of Keyhole Canyon. :twothumbs:

    So does anyone out there know where I can find the missing 4 & 5 raps? They only said that between 4 & 5 is where they lost the rope, what if they also located some secret 6 and 7 raps? I fear I'm missing some on rope thrills.

    Don't believe everything you hear in a canyon. :tongue:
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Awesome. GravityWins for the WIN!!!

    The Park thought it was too easy, so they installed a couple more drops and rappels, though they are optional. There is a ranger stationed inside that so-called hoodoo (sic) at the top of the hike in, behind a one-way mirror, that evaluates your party and pushes the lever to switch the canyon to the 6 rap version, if he or she deems your group worthy. This coming year, it will be part of the permitting process: if you ask for "Keyhole" you get the regular version; if you ask for "Keyhole Six" you get the burlier version, as long as you swipe the card-reader at the hoodoo on the way by. This will all be amply explained in my new book, coming out on March 32nd this year.

    Tom
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
  3. Sandstoned

    Sandstoned

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    Regardless of what other canyons one may have done, easy or hard or somewhere between...Keyhole is always a treat, and when a newbie gets the thrill in there for the first time its awesome for all involved. Great trip. Pine Creek next time you host your guest? Or going straight to Heaps? Kidding. Just wanted to add to your praise of small canyons.
    ratagonia likes this.
  4. Sandstoned

    Sandstoned

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    Tom your website and book introduced me and countless others to the sport of canyoning and in doing so changed many lives for the BETTER. Easy small canyons, hard committing canyons, non technical jaunts through canyons, micro canyons and Grand canyons...spending time in these impressive cathedrals of nature has surely improved the quality of my live, and allowed me if only briefly from time to time, to commune with magnificence. Looking forward to the new book...in part to see whats new (photos, routes, whathaveyou) and in part just to buy it to support Tom's work as he continues to support all of us who enjoy descending into narrow places. Thanks Tom, and thank you Mother Nature...may there always be that next canyon trip on the horizon!
    Tom Collins and Jman like this.
  5. GravityWins

    GravityWins

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    I actually had Pine Creek permits, the plan was that if Keyhole was a huge hit then move on to Pine Creek. After describing the whole of Pine Creek and a video run through half of the couple decided that it was out of their comfort zone. I was disappointed because I love showing off the cathedral. If my son liked heights I would have gladly spent days doing the easy/moderate canyons. Rap and swim for the win.

    Hey at least all her Facebook friends in Thailand think she has an awesome non-boring father-in-law.
    ratagonia likes this.
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