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Ouray Canyoneering Book.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Moab Mark, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    Anywhere in Salt Lake I can buy this book?
    Mark

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  2. Luca

    Luca

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    I have the second edition and would NOT recommend the book...
    It's largely out of date, with many great new canyons missing from the book.
    Many drops have changed and 'impossible' waterfalls like top of Weehaken are now fully equipped.
    Times are also very inaccurate, Portland reported as 3h canyon can be done in 30', Full Oak reported as 2 days can be done in 7h.

    I recommend
    a) http://ropewiki.com/Colorado for canyon info
    b) Colorado Canyoneering Facebook group for finding partners
    Tom Collins likes this.
  3. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    I would disagree with the above, though I haven't gone to the Ouray canyons since last year. I have found the book to be quite accurate.

    I don't know about rope wiki when it comes to Ouray, but in other areas, the website is notoriously inaccurate and incomplete.

    Some of the information on that website is OK, but take the information with a huge chunk of salt.
  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Luca -

    is your new PRINTED edition with totally accurate beta, and more important, totally accurate times to the nearest second available for purchase in the City of Salt tomorrow?

    Tom :moses:
  5. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    Looking for a 2 hour or so family friendly jaunt.

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  6. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Ivans Trail/Portland might fit the bill.
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  7. MikeDallin

    MikeDallin

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    I’d like to clear up some misconceptions about the Ouray guidebook, and give a bit of Ouray canyon history in the process.

    The book was geared to be an experimental approach to canyon guidebook writing. It wasn’t written to make money (it hasn’t, though a portion of the sales goes to LNT.org) or to boost Ouray or to brag or anything like that. We (those of us who first explored the region) knew after 8+ years of exploring there that someday someone would find these canyons and make the beta publicly available. We decided to do it first, and do it “right”, especially after witnessing some damage done to other areas after they were published.

    “Right” means three pillars, in order of importance: Safety, environmental (leave-no-trace) ethics/respect for the canyon ecology, and respecting property rights. We felt (and I still feel) that following these three pillars will preserve the canyons for future generations and ensure access, perhaps even opening up access on private land if we are responsible. That is why there is so much information in the book about history, ecology etc. This helps people to connect with Ouray, not just treat it as a tick-list or an amusement park. With connection comes desire to protect a place. We want to encourage that.

    Most canyoneering visitors cut their teeth in the desert, or perhaps the San Gabriels, and many don’t have formal training. Colorado canyoneering is a different beast but with many similarities. You’ll make it through most canyons fine if your experience is all Utah-based, but there is a lot you are missing, especially in safety - floating disconnects are really dangerous in class C yet they are recommended in some of RopeWiki’s Colorado canyon descriptions, for example.

    We explored Ouray for at least 8 years (or longer? I can’t remember now) before the first edition came out, and other similar Colorado areas even longer. We learned a lot. I have fond memories resting in camp or drinking a beer or standing at an anchor with some of the legends of our sport, discussing how to present these canyons and their lessons so that we could best meet the three pillars. In some cases, bolts were put in where they made the most sense, to protect trees or to keep people in the watercourse and off of damaging social trails. Approach and exit trails were explored and re-explored to find the most environmentally sound, safe ways in, that avoided private property. Each canyon was descended multiple times, over years, to see how they change. We learned a lot in those years.

    Those lessons are imparted in the book, and that is why the book is so valuable. They did not appear on RopeWiki. In fact, last week I spent 3-4 hours updating the Colorado canyons there to add this information, and there is more work to be done.

    Some examples: since Luca mentions it, the upper “impossible” Weehawken drops were descended first in 2002 I think? And they were the standard way down for a few years. We even hiked in to put bolts on the big drop to reduce the impact of the natural anchors we used. Then we heard reports of rappel ropes dislodging rocks. Then on a trip I saw it happen, two football-sized rocks dislodged by the rope that almost killed a friend of mine. So we found a better entrance (first pillar: safety) that would still allow canyoneers to hike up canyon to experience the tunnel and the falls. It certainly wasn’t removed because it was “impossible”, because we couldn’t anchor it or that we were “too chicken to do it” (I’ve heard all those and chuckle). I hiked up on a rest day to remove all traces of anchors on those first drops.

    Other RopeWiki cases: The Grizzly Mine entry into Bear Creek is in the book because the early, sneak entry mentioned on RopeWiki is prone to erosion. The Grizzly Mine entrance is much more leave-no-trace. Yes, it’s longer, but the sacrifice of an extra hour in the wilderness is a small price to ask to reduce damage (some of the pool are kind of cool in that stretch anyway, and I found a beautiful pyrite-infused rock last I was there). Rope lengths are long in the book for a good reason too. We’ve seen anchors change a lot in Ouray over the years (in Portland, an entire rappel comes and goes every few years). If your rope length beta is based on a tree near the lip, and that tree is gone, you’ll need extra rope when you end up having to anchor a rock 20 feet back from the lip. An avalanche in Weehawken took out one drop’s anchor about 10 years ago and this happened. I can’t assume that everyone, especially class C neophytes, carry enough webbing to rerig these drops, so needed rope lengths were stretched in many cases (I do have notes on the “true” length of each drop in a worn and water-damaged notebook). The Oben Creek RopeWiki description mentioned nothing of the Black Swift nests on the big drop. The presence of the Black Swift got the Box Canyon via ferrata cancelled when the Audubon Society objected. We need to tread carefully here lest our canyons be closed too.

    I’ve seen RopeWiki placeholders for canyons that are on private land. One canyon suffered a somewhat acrimonious episode with ice climbers years back, so it’s not a place we should go, unless someone has negotiated public access. These are canyons I listed as “on private land and closed” in the book. Should we encourage people to go on private land to get their fix? (a note to aspiring first descenders – most, if not all have been descended by locals, with landowner permission.)

    The worst? Not a single mention of the fragile nature of Canyon of the Clouds on RopeWiki. The original RopeWiki description even mentioned going around the last drop. Yes, you can, but that area is so fragile with loose and rotten rock that any going around will cause severe erosion. Just one or two people going around is enough to make a social trail that encourages others. This is 12,000 feet, on alpine tundra – if we stopped going around today, it would still take decades to heal. It is also visible to climbers passing by on their way up Rolling Mountain. In my opinion, it’s irresponsible to publish beta in fragile areas without even a mention of the issue, or to not discourage lesser skilled people to stay away.

    RopeWiki is an interesting idea with potential, but you have to corroborate it with other beta sources. You have no idea who is writing beta and what they encountered, or if they know the history of the area. I know that nobody from RopeWiki ever asked me why drop lengths are long, why upper Weehawken is listed as dangerous or why I wrote up the Grizzly Mine entrance rather than the “sneak route” in the book. They just assumed that my beta was bad and wrote up their own. Are you ok rappelling the upper Weehawken drops without being told of their dangerous history? Some people are probably ok with it, especially if they are trained in proper anchoring and rope placement. Are you? As a beta-writer, I can’t assume everyone is. I know most people who visit Ouray are new to class C and are dipping their toes in, so to speak, and aren’t experienced enough to deal with these dangers. I think they should know these sorts of lessons so they can make the best choice of which canyons to descend and what route to take to do so.

    I’ve heard about, and even explored, canyons that aren’t in the book. Some are interesting but most aren’t worth it unless you want to descend everything. Most people who come to Ouray want to knock out a few canyons, soak in the springs, then head home, and those in the book are the best bang for your buck – probably more than you need, actually. A few intrepid explorers or locals may find the book incomplete, but really those are the types that will go with or without a guidebook anyway.

    In the end, I’m fine with people posting beta for canyons in my book (so long as it’s not a direct copy). I only ask that they do so keeping the three pillars in mind, even if it means revisiting a canyon to get more information. And if someone doesn’t understand why I direct people one way or discourage a drop or suggest a long rope length, that person can simply ask me about it. I’m happy to provide history on these canyons, because I think that is essential in saving them.
  8. Ram

    Ram

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    I love ya, Mike. Beautify presented, all those truths. I salute your efforts and goals. The community owes you a debt of gratitude. Thanks
    Ram
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  9. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Very well said. Thank you Mike.

    Tom
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  10. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    So back to our regularly scheduled programming can I buy the book here or Telluride or Ouray? Headed there jeeping for a week want to do a small route. Sounds like Portland Creek would work? This time of year will just rain gear do the trick?


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  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Portland is the Keyhole of Ouray.

    They are likely to have the book at Ouray Mt Sports. Rendezvous there this coming weekend, so lots of canyoneers in town. I'll be there, could bring you a book if you wish. Not much short stuff in the area.

    Just rain gear? Yes, probably.

    Tom
  12. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    Rendezvous this weekend?

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  13. Ram

    Ram

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    Some Portland Pictures for ya


    Mr. Cabe for those following at home
    [​IMG]

    Mike Dallin, with Amy behind
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  14. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Yes, the big rendezvous. I wish I could make it but I have to work.

    Anyway, if you do do Portland Creek, it might help to leave a fixed line at the exit, especially if it has rained recently. We went through under clear skies, but not long after it rained and the exit was a little dicey.

    The canyon itself is very easy as technical canyons go.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  15. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Mike! Gracious response.

    Luca's much too busy havin' fun with the kids at the AIC Raduno to give up his Ouray guidebook...

    Fun times, Ram!
    Ram likes this.
  16. Luca

    Luca

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    Mike,
    Your book was written over 4 years ago. When it was handed out at least year Ouray rendezvous it came with 12 additional pages for changes and additions. That is what being "outdated" means. But it's not your fault, it's just how books are. Some exits have changed, some drops are now bolted, more sections of the same canyons are now open or new canyons you never even heard of are now documented.

    Maybe you are right, the inexperienced Utah canyoneers need a lot of 'hand holding' and 'babying' when veturing in class C canyons. But canyoneers from France, Spain, Italy and Germany that got the book as part of the registration last year Ouray Canyon Fest found the exagerated times and the over protective descriptions quite laughable. Way different from the other 'Canyoning' books they have in Europe...

    Things have changed in Ouray. Uber and IcoPro have set up shop there and there is a rising new generation of local canyoneers that are very capable in class C. These are the guys that open new routes and document them on ropewiki. If you do not like what they write, you are very welcome to improve it. However, I would advise against patronizing... some of these guys have been trained in advanced european canyoning techniques... they might be the ones 'hand holding' you down some of their new canyons!
  17. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    As said above, it is true that guidebooks can be outdated quickly. That doesn't make ropewiki somehow reliable though. To be honest, ropewiki is an unreliable site due to a complete lack of quality control. Most route descriptions are blank and many that aren't are either erroneous or so vague that even no information at all is better. The site is biased as to its sources as well. What good information there is is buried in a bunch of garbage.

    Personally, I'd recommend that any information on ropewiki be used as a final resort only and even then it should be considered to be questionable information. I usually don't recommend using that site for anyone.

    Whoever owns ropewiki should seriously consider either deleting the site or at least implementing some reasonable quality control. As it stands now, the site does more harm than good.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  18. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    and further, you know how hard it is to get a good Pain au Chocolat in Ouray. Why each canyon does not have a cafe at the top and bottom I do not understand. A few telepheriques to the start of routes sure would be a good idea, too. Why are not things EXACTLY as they are in Europe?????

    [/sarcasm, as if you had to ask]

    :moses:
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  19. Luca

    Luca

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    Try sending death letters to "David Angel" (the administrator)
    :p
  20. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    "Death letters"?

    I assume you are joking, but I just want the site improved, rather than want to threaten anyone.

    If you do look through that site, you will see that it contains a lot of missing information, inaccurate, and incomplete information. Everything I have said about that site is true. If you want me to provide specific examples, I can.
    Mike likes this.
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