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Punchbowl

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Moe Witschard, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Moe Witschard

    Moe Witschard

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    Had a chance to descend Punchbowl in the Superstitions a few weeks ago with Rich Rudow and Marlena Renwyck. Nothing but good times in this surreally beautiful canyon. I really enjoyed the "bat boat" approach. Never thought I'd break 60 miles/hr on a canyoneering approach, but we did ! No video from that part cause I was holding on for dear life. Hope you enjoy the vid !

    Ram, Kuenn, Chad and 4 others like this.
  2. Taylor

    Taylor

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    Fantastic! I gotta get back to the Superstitions.
  3. townsend

    townsend

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    Is this canyon illegal to approach by land, but legal to approach by boat or jetski?
  4. Moe Witschard

    Moe Witschard

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  5. Moe Witschard

    Moe Witschard

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    Whoa ! Website was doing some weird stuff. Townsend, You can approach by land down the dam builder's road. Maybe 4 miles each way ? They don't allow vehicles. That's probably what I'll do next time cause I don't expect to have a friend with a jet ski !
  6. townsend

    townsend

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    Location:
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    Thanks for info.
    Thanks for info.
    Thanks for info.
    Thanks for info.
    Thanks for info.
    Thanks for info.
    Cameron and Jolly Green like this.
  7. Mike Zampino

    Mike Zampino Canyon season never ends.

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    From what I understand is that you are trespassing once you pass the second sign past the fish creek bridge. There is a sign and gate 4 miles up the road. Hikers and fisherman also access the lake from this road. I have been walking on the rosd when SRP workers have driven past and have not been bothered. Then again, they are not sheriff deputies so I'm not sure he could do anything even if we were trespassing.

    If the gate is open, don't park past it or your vehicle could get locked in. Park at the small pullout in front of the gate. Don't block the gate.

    I have not heard of anyone being hassled so be respectful and don't linger between the lower sign and the start of the approach.
    once you drop into the punchbowl, again don't linger and walk past the bridge before you change your gear. We don't want them cracking down on trespassing.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
    Ram and Rich Rudow like this.
  8. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Maybe this is an access issue that the CAC could take up with the land managers....

    @Ram
    Ram and Rich Rudow like this.
  9. Rich Rudow

    Rich Rudow

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    "We don't want them cracking down on trespassing"

    Mike, thanks for the post. Very wise guidance indeed.

    Background: Punchbowl is a mighty fine canyon. It happens to be near a dam that has heightened security as a result of the 911 attacks. The dam is in the Tonto National Forest and is operated by Salt River Project (SRP), one of the big electric utilities in the Phoenix area. Access to the dam is down a 4 mile long narrow dirt road descending 1,000' down the cliffs into remote Fish Creek where it meets Canyon Lake. I'm not aware of SRP taking action against anyone doing Punchbowl (or Ladder or Micro - two other slots in the general area), but the possibility exists. It's only recently that Punchbowl beta was posted on the web. It's now getting done frequently and I could see SRP forcibly shutting it down quickly if an incident happens. Please don't be the canyoneer that ruins access to this gem for everyone else. Take Mike's advice.

    Informally, I understand that SRP cannot have vehicles on the narrow dirt access road in order to freely move heavy equipment to/from the dam during an emergency. It's hard to argue with their position. Many people in Phoenix would be swimming home if the dam blew. However, there are a number of ways to access the canyon. I prefer the jet ski approach because it removes the road access issue from the equation entirely and the public is allowed to be on the shore of Canyon Lake right next to the entry and exit points for the slot. Not everyone has access to a boat or jet ski though and the packraft paddle is about 8 miles one-way. There are also a few routes to the top of the cliffs to access the slot. One route is up a ravine that starts directly in front of the old dynamite shack (and in front of the no trespassing sign where you're allowed to be). The other route goes up a ridge of rock well behind the no trespassing sign. It's obviously best if people use the ravine route to avoid the trespassing issue. Finally, the last rappel into the "Punchbowl" is about 200 yards behind the no trespassing sign. I noticed that SRP has now erected another no trespassing sign at the Punchbowl to keep people from exiting the slot and then walking the wrong way toward the dam. That's a good "sign" that they might not mind responsible canyoneering descents.

    Now that this canyon is getting traffic, we really need to perfect our access before there is an incident and complete closure. The CAC board talked about it tonight and we'll see if we can get a dialog going with SRP about a mutually agreeable way to access Punchbowl while adhering to their safety and security requirements. If any of the local AZ canyoneers want to help on this project, please send me a message.

    Thanks,

    Rich
  10. townsend

    townsend

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    Location:
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    Rich, fantastic post.

    I am so glad the CAC board is working on this, because I fear that if nothing is done, the end result will ultimately be closure. Many thanks to CAC.
    Bootboy likes this.
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