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Reality Check for first timer

Discussion in 'Arizona' started by Charlie Rogucki, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. Charlie Rogucki

    Charlie Rogucki crogo

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    Hey all, new member...looking for a reality check on this itinerary. I've got 23 years hiking the Grand Canyon with lots of off trail miles, scrambling, experience etc. but pretty much a newbie to the technical side of canyoneering. I'm wanting to expand my range in the canyon, get into something new. My technical experience is the rappel on Royal Arch loop x2, have a had a few classes, Small Southern Illinois Bluffs, and mess around bouldering, and thats about it.

    Here is what i'm thinking.

    Party of 3/Mid October: Kanab Point -> SOB Canyon -> Matkat -> Olo -> Kanab Creek -> out Scotty's Hollow -> to Kanab Point. 6 days
    (i have been through Kanab Creek twice from fishtail mesa-> jumpup)

    Thanks all for any info that could help or any alternate loops that might be better suited.
  2. Rich Rudow

    Rich Rudow

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    Charlie, you got me with the headline :)

    I doubt anyone could pull that route off in 6 days, especially not having done it before. Maybe 8 days. There is some really hard arduous hiking along that route. And that's A LOT of food to carry when you also need ropes, tech gear and packraft/paddle/PFD too. Not to mention water carries on the Esplanade if it's dry. If your goal is the 150 Mile Canyon and Olo Canyon technical routes you can simply come off the rim of 150 Mile Canyon and then use paracord at the 4 short drops in 150 Mile Canyon to allow you to pull a rope and ascend out on the exit. That's the standard route described in Grand Canyoneering. You'll need 4 or 5 days.

    There are terrific slot canyon options in the Kanab Creek area if you really want to use Kanab Point access. Kanab Zero is amazing. Whispering Falls has a sneak route and the big pool has mostly recovered from being filled in with gravel the last few years. Crackbaby and Rattlesnake are both great slot options in that area too.
    Ram and ratagonia like this.
  3. Charlie Rogucki

    Charlie Rogucki crogo

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    Thanks Rich, this is super helpful and exactly what i was looking for. My gut was it was ambitious, but figure id shoot big and then be talked down.
    So you feel 4-6 days for 150 Mile, Matkat, Olo ascending back out 150 doable? And that would be pack-rafting back to 150 from Olo? And did i see a 100' rappel to get into Olo? Thanks again for the info, I also got some beta from you a few years back on the redwall section of Phantom Creek/Crystal Creek loop, that too was super helpful.
    Ram likes this.
  4. Rich Rudow

    Rich Rudow

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    Charlie, 5 days would be fine. It's done in 4 days occasionally. You do packraft from Olo back to 150 Mile and you can portage Matkat rapid on the right. Matkat rapid is also runnable on the left, but it's super easy to flip in a tiny packraft so be prepared. One group had a bad day running that rapid and lost a pack which was eventually found by a river party 20 miles downstream 3 days later. Be aware that if you packraft to the mouth of 150 Mile hug the right wall as you approach. You can't miss the jet engine roar of Upset Rapid as you approach the mouth of 150 Mile, but getting swept into that rapid would be a bad day. There is as 5.7 climb to get out of the mouth of 150 Mile. If you want to avoid the climb (and rapid) you can take out 1 mile upstream of 150 Mile Canyon at the break you came down on the approach hike, then walk into the mouth of 150. It's a stunningly scenic loop.

    The rap into Olo is the longest on that route right at 100'. The anchor is usually a good pinch point but I haven't seen the condition in a few years.
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  5. Charlie Rogucki

    Charlie Rogucki crogo

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    This sounds good. Thanks for the time, you've answered some of my major questions on this route for now. Going to get into the details/gear/etc.
    get to learning, excited about getting into some different stuff. I might reach out as we get closer to the trip for some final thoughts. Going to put in for this as our primary trip/with alt being something through Kanab Creek. Appreciate all the work you do for the GC.
  6. Charlie Rogucki

    Charlie Rogucki crogo

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    Hey Rich,

    We ended up pulling permits for Oct 17-22. Taking two days down 150,
    1 day across the river at Matkat, 2 days back out 150. Out on the 22.

    Wanted to pick your brain real quick on a couple more things here before we head in here in the next couple of weeks.
    I am curious at some of these decision points along the way what your opinion is of best option to take. I know there is probably a variety of answers based on skill set, experience etc, but maybe just a pro and con or just what you would do?

    I've read most on Canyon Collective, Todds route description, Stecks and have also been in touch with Dave Mortensen out of Kanab for some info,
    plan on meeting with him day before heading in to say hello, talk about the weather. Literally talk about the weather. ;-)

    Couple details…we will have the 200’ feet of of rope, and there is three of us .
    Night 1 - we were going to camp on the ledge of redwall before droppin in.

    I assume we can expect water in 150? Dave had mentioned it has been dryer than usual this summer.
    I asking more from the standpoint of water to filter

    70 foot rap or down-climb bypass?
    On our ascent i assume we take the bypass?

    Curious about ignoring the second bypass, to push on to down-climbing a chute to a single
    old bolt to a 50’ rapp, then doing the 40’ with the pinch point VS. just taking the bypass.

    And also wanting to take the technical descent through the Mauv, with the 1-3 rapps vs the bypass.
    Should we expect to have to potentially set some natural anchors? and anything we should note.
    on both these options as above i assume it is better to take the bypass up vs ascending a rope?

    Night -2 at river
    Night - 3 Matkat, planning on Hikng up canyon a bit for camp, then explore as much
    as we can without packs, rest of the day. Should we expect a river group camping at Matkat?
    Night 4 - back on north side @ river
    Night 5 - back to ledge of redwall, or potentially higher.
    Day 6 - out

    thanks again for your time and info, and anything else you might find
    helpful for some newbies to canyoneering.

    Charlie
    Ram likes this.
  7. Ram

    Ram

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    Charlie,

    You will need to take both bypasses, going back up 150 Mile, so carefully note their locations, top and bottom, on descent. Going through the direct narrows sounds like great fun. I assume you plan to have wetsuits. I suspect, no matter how low the water is in general, in the area, you will be doing some "wet work" regardless. I think you would have to do the 5.7 route to reconnect back to the up river canyon bypass, from the mouth of 150 Mile, if you do the Muav narrows (Rich?)

    Small groups can find plenty of small camps, if Matkat Hotel is taken. One could even stop before the river crossing, about half way between the bypass out of 150 Mile and the river crossing break. A lovely ledges camp, in a small drainage, that the path cross along the way. Water could be an issue there. One could even camp at the far side of the crossing, if the other sites are taken. I think you will find something near the normal camps too. Note, that camping up in Makatambia Canyon proper is prohibited. Don't miss the descent down lower Matkat, to the river. Reversible or take your pack raft, free of your overnight gear and run the rapid. Don't miss your camp though:woot:. Have run and report back on how it went, please.
    Ram
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  8. Charlie Rogucki

    Charlie Rogucki crogo

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    Hey Ram,

    Noting bypasses top and bottom is for sure good to know, thanks for that. We will also be ready for the 5.7.
    I'm curious, what is the difference in time of taking both bypass vs the technical routes?
    That camp between the river crossing and bypass sounds like a good option for night 2, we'll prep for a dry camp.
    I was not aware that Makatambia Canyon proper is prohibited, so thanks for that one too.
    Any landmark, something to look for for the descent into lower Matkat?

    As far as wetsuits go, we have not decided yet, would you recommend?
    if so any particular brand/type?

    Thanks for all this, its been super helpful.
    For sure will have a report when back!

    Charlie
  9. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Don’t bypass anything on the way down. The final Muav narrows are worth rapping through. A 200’ rope is way overkill. Most of 150 can be done with a 30’ rope tied to a pull cord of equal length. This makes re-threading the rappels much faster and less cluttered on your way out.

    Here is a picture of the climb at the mouth of 150 that bypasses the final Muav narrows.[​IMG]

    I don’t have a picture of the upper bypass. But bypasses this rappel [​IMG]
  10. Charlie Rogucki

    Charlie Rogucki crogo

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    Getting rid of some rope would be nice, 200' is a load.
    So i'm guessing than your on a single line rappel, and bypassing the 70' rappel at the top with 30'?

    thanks for the pics. appreciate the info.
  11. Charlie Rogucki

    Charlie Rogucki crogo

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    Getting rid of some rope would be nice, 200' is a load.
    So i'm guessing than your on a single line rappel, and bypassing the 70' rappel at the top with 30'?

    thanks for the pics. appreciate the info.
  12. Ram

    Ram

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    Taking the direct route, adds a few hours, depending on your efficiency. I would say it does not matter, as your revised plans allows for the time.
    The major bypass is on the left, looking down canyon and slides around on some ledges and is big. The Muav bypass is on a narrow ledge, left, looking down canyon, close to the drainage, dwn low in the canyon. There are other minor bypasses. Use your judgement and retreat and find the route, when going up is blocked, if necessary. Maybe cairns will mark the way. Maybe not.

    The camp on the river, on the ledge, has the merit, of never having to take your full pack further than there. Just the day gear and pack rafts, for the Matkat poke up. Having water seems important. Also after doing the 5.7, after the river pack raft, you will need to go half a mile to the ledge camp, to get the overnight gear, and back, if you camp there. If you camp at Matkat Hotel area, you just have to make sure you don't pass your camp after the rapid, in your rafts.

    The route up to Matkat starts a bit down river from the Matkat Hotel camp. It is several steep corners up to start with and then a trail that works it way, near a half mile, up river, over to the canyon proper. Where the trail meets the canyon, the lower Matkat starts right there. Just descend to the river, after poking up canyon first.

    Any 4/3 mm wetsuit will do. A shorty wet suit , with extras like a warm hat works too, for those that run hot. Can't speak to what you will find, for sure, but you want the suit if for no other reason than the river crossing and raft down the rapid.

    The ledge camp, looking down river to 150 Mile and where you came from[​IMG]

    The ledge camp. Hopefully you will have water. It is a few minutes up from the trail
    [​IMG]

    This is one of the 4-5 drops you will set, for jugging, for your return trip up 150. They are all about this size
    [​IMG]

    This is heading down the lower Matkat section
    [​IMG]

    Matkat. Up to poke around up canyon, behind the picture taker for the lower canyon
    [​IMG]

    The notes we left on the jug lines. This is a good idea
    [​IMG]

    A short video with key locations, marked with time. It jumps around quite a bit
    1:13-1:22 the up after the 5.7 to the Mauv bypass ledge
    2:45-3:05 Matkat rapid
    3:21-3:28 Up the 150 drops...First man jugs. Hauling everyone else is faster and easier, after someone is up
    3:29-3:32 The major bypass, mid 150. Yes, you end up that high
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  13. Charlie Rogucki

    Charlie Rogucki crogo

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    Really liking this ledge camp option even more, thanks for all this, these pics and video have really brought alot of these details together. More excited now. We've got cards made for jug lines and looking into wet suits.

    2 more questions for you...Do you need to run Matkat Rapid if you dont want to? we will have the Klymit Litewater packraft and from what i can feel it has like, zero maneuverability. I was under the impression we could do a straight across the river crossing then hike up to Matkat, and on the way back put in below Matkat rapid, stay right and exit before upset rapids? On top of that, my experience on running rapids is about a zero, except for the time we hitchhiked about 20 miles from a rafting party.

    And shoes? any recos there, i got a pair of old oboz i've always worn, but more for pounding out long miles, not sure the grip on the wet slick rock, i assume they make a shoe specifically for this kinda of stuff .

    Thanks again, learning a ton here.

    Charlie
  14. Ram

    Ram

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    Yes, you can avoid the rapid at Matkat. Go down the lower Matkat, to the river and reverse back up. Perhaps a little simple partner assist may be necessary. Then it is just the normal crossing. You can exit up to the ledge camp or go down to the mouth of 150 and do the 5.7 up, back to your gear, then back up 150. With proper PFD's, which you should have anyway, both for safety and legality, it is pretty safe to get your river experience, at whatever level you wish. Frankly, the rafting is some of the best parts of the whole experience, whether you do Matkat Rapid or not. Avoiding Upset, is easy.
    Shoes? Something that drains and something with some kind of sticky rubber, is best, but....I would not let that stop me. Safe Passage
    Ram
  15. Charlie Rogucki

    Charlie Rogucki crogo

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    Thanks for all the info ram, feeling good and excited. look for trip report/pics in a few weeks. Thanks again.
    Ram likes this.
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