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Recommended Zion canyons

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by knott3d, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. knott3d

    knott3d

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    So I am heading back to Zion again in early October and I am looking for some suggestions on canyons we haven't done before.

    I have done:

    Birch
    Spry (twice - favorite canyon)
    Deadeye Dick (& mighty mouse)
    Behunin
    Telephone
    Pipe Spring

    I am not interested in the subway, pine creek, or keyhole. We enjoy full days with lots of rappels where you don't absolutely NEED a wetsuit.

    I will try last minute lottery for mystery again but last time I didn't get permits all 3 days I tried sooo not going to count on it.

    I was thinking this time one of the canyons we do I will try to exit down orderville and the narrows because in the past (birch hollow & deadeye) we always went UP orderville to make it a loop route.

    Would checkerboard be a good canyon to exit down orderville to the narrows? Or would you recommend something like Englestad for that?

    Also any opinions on boundary, icebox, and hidden canyons?

    Just looking for suggestions, opinions, possible canyons I haven't looked into etc.

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    The "problem" with Checkerboard is that it is already a full day to the last rappel, so it is very difficult to appreciate the Narrows on the slog out. In the dark. Engelstead is a great way to get the best part of Orderville and a bit of the Narrows, and you get out in daylight, assuming you start early and move right along.

    Fat Man's Misery can be really good that time of year, though since you poopoo'd Pne Creek, Keyhole and Subway you might not especially like it as it is not very technical. A big handful of short rappels; a LOT of hiking.

    I like Not-Imlay, assuming you and your partners have the long-rappel thing dialed in.

    Lodge Canyon is surprisingly good, especially if you toss in the summit of Mountain of the Sun.

    Boundary is excellent. Longish day that time of year. Up high so it will be chilly. I see you have done the upper half of the MIA, so I do not need to warn you about that.

    Icebox is good, but closed. And rather long for October.

    Hidden from the Top is just okay.

    Tom
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  3. knott3d

    knott3d

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    Thanks for the quick reply Tom!

    Thanks for the advice! I struggle with the idea of getting so close to Imlay - from the sneak route, and not actually doing Imlay. However if I want to stay somewhat dry and follow my "not needing wetsuits" criteria I suppose lower Imlay from the sneak route is out of the question and it would have to be Not Imlay.

    I will definitely look into Lodge Canyon.

    Quick question on boundary - when we did Pipe Spring we actually LOVED it. I am very surprised that it is not more popular. I am assuming the MIA exit is what keeps it from being more popular? Anyway, my question is how would you rate boundary compared to Pipe Spring. If we were to head out that way to lava point I was actually just considering doing pipe Spring again, would you recommend Boundary over pipe spring a second time?

    Thanks again!
  4. Ali Miller

    Ali Miller

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    I second Englestead down Orderville as a great full-day adventure. Easy approach, delightful throughout, lots of diversity, stunning opening rappel, relatively easy to get permits.

    There are only a couple of swims throughout, and last time I was able to just skinny dip (ish) through them with clothes in a dry bag (I run very cold).
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  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    The big difference between Bdry and PS is that Boundary is definitely a bigger day. A much bigger day.

    And I would say more scenic. Boundary is often running with a bit of water, and therefore quite cold... but not this year. It is a bigger / wider canyon, but the longest rappel is 100 feet, especially if you wisely go down the watercourse at the start, rather than rim-aneering off a tree on the side (a longer rappel, and hard on the rope).

    Please note that the Pipe Spring is no longer running. Their tank became contaminated with bacteria and they shut it down.

    Did you do Pipe Spring all the way to the river? Certainly the top 'half' is the best part, but the rest is charming, though not necessarily worth the effort of the return hike.

    Tom
  6. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    @knott3d @ratagonia re: Not Imlay and Imlay Sneak

    The normal approach (West Rim Trail from the Grotto) is currently closed. I have heard that the closure may remain in effect for up to a year.
  7. knott3d

    knott3d

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    Again, thanks for the info!

    We only did the "top half" of Pipe Spring because if my memory serves me correctly there were only 2 extra rappels on the "lower half" and I read that the exit hike wasn't worth the extra couple rappels.

    So, if I understand right, we only did the "upper part" of the MIA exit? And Boundary would require doing the full exit? Is the "upper half" of the MIA the worst part of the full exit?

    One other question in regards to Lodge Canyon - it looks like there are 2 approaches. One that follows the main Spry approach through pine creek, and an alternate entry from the observation trail. Any insight into what one is best?
  8. knott3d

    knott3d

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    I was curious how long the AL trail will be closed. Does starting from Lava Point make Not Imlay impractical to do?
  9. knott3d

    knott3d

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    Thank you for the reply! I think I will add Englestad down orderville to the list!
  10. gajslk

    gajslk

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    Right Fork is nice ...
  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    MIA: I think the upper part is a little longer and a little steeper than the lower part.

    The issue with Boundary is, you have to get from the last rap down to Kolob Creek, then along Kolob Creek to the MIA. Both of which are tedious and take considerable time and energy, but no wetsuits. Drybags yes, wetsuits no.

    I can imagine that some people approach Lodge from the Cable Mountain / Deertrap Mountain trail. It does not seem like a good idea to me.

    Tom
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    It would be an hour approach drive, a 4 hour approach hike, plus a 2 hour car fetch for a 3 hour canyon. Many would consider that impractical.

    Same issues apply to Behunin and Telephone, but those are not on your future list.

    They are working on the AL Trail as best they can. Whispers are that they hope to get it open by Labor Day, which is soon, so I think it will be open by October 1.

    Tom
  13. bnwilso

    bnwilso

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    Observation Point Canyon is good that time of year if you are into long rappels. If you don't mind a long car shuttle you can avoid hauling the big rope up the Observation Point trail and come in from the top on a mostly flat or downhill approach.

    Eastern Sun is a good one if you want a backcountry experience. Both the canyon and the approach/exit are a lot more challenging than Deadeye Dick, but in the same area. It's not widely published and done infrequently so if you do it take some webbing and quick links.


    Bruce
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  14. knott3d

    knott3d

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    Thanks for the advice I will look into both!
  15. Flatiron

    Flatiron

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    Hmm- Tom says AL Trail prob open by Oct 1 if not sooner. Hank says a year. ?? Since we will be there Oct 1 I now have some hope. Andy Dufrain said it best: hope is a good thing.
  16. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    Update:

    ANGELS LANDING UPDATE!

    The Angels Landing trail is anticipated to reopen mid to late September. Our trails crew is hard at work. The storm which washed out the retaining wall and trail section also destroyed the check dams built over 100 years ago to protect the trail. So far the crew has hauled up about 90 cubic yards of rock to build 4 new check dams to protect the trail from the next storms. The crew has stabilized the ends of the trail and are beginning to build a new custom bridge to span the gap where the trail and retaining wall washed completely away.

    This may be one of the most scenic work sites in the country, but it means that all building material must be hauled on the trail about 1 mile, and up over 660 feet, or about 55 flights of stairs, or twice the Statue of Liberty National Monument, pedestal included. We use small tracked vehicles and some very fit and skilled staff to do the work safely, in a way that protects the historic aspects of trail, and the magnificence of the canyon. We look forward to reopening the trail.

    @Flatiron
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  17. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    It's been bandied about in my crew that the best way to do Checkerboard is to carcamp at the top the night before; gives the extra 60-90 minutes of sleep. But to @ratagonia 's point, it does make for a long day; our very competent crew was 12 hours car-to-car this last weekend. Come October, you're going to start running into daylight issues.
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  18. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Is Checkerboard a hard canyon to negotiate with overnight gear? You could also camp in the Narrows, though summer is usually more pleasant for this since you can pack lighter.
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  19. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Did this last year. It worked. Made the day more relaxed. The packs are not too heavy, the canyon not too physical. Was nice to do the last rappel and be AT camp, rather than then needing to rush out the Narrows for three hours.

    Tom
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  20. Kip Marshall

    Kip Marshall Bshwakr

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    Scott, I recommend a day for anyone your age and fitness level. Up to now, poor beta has been provided for the approach; I will be correcting that very soon. If you DM me I can send you good tracks that will have to the head in less than 2.5 hours.
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