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Request: Advice for Zion Area Canyons Sept 14 - 18

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ancient, Aug 18, 2020.

  1. Ancient

    Ancient

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    I'm sorry for posting yet another tell-me-where-to-go post. I've done plenty of research, but my wife and I recently got sandbagged pretty badly taking some ropewiki beta at face value, and we'd like some up to date, contextual recommendations for a trip we have coming up in a few weeks. Thanks in advance to any who contribute.

    We've been doing permitted canyons in Zion for the last four years and are comfortable with the beginner / intermediate stuff in the park (Keyhole, Pine Creek, Mystery, Behunin, etc.). We're planning to revisit the park over the week of Sept 14th with a couple of friends who are experienced climbers, but who have only done a handful of canyons with us before. We will have two cars, one of which has 4WD and decent, albeit factory stock ground clearance (Ford Explorer).

    Since the park service isn't issuing permits for the in-bounds options, we're looking to the fringes - mostly 3*III kind of things or shorter. My short list (and concerns) are as follows.
    • Birch Hollow - Done it before. Easy approach. Easy exit. My only concern is that we can't make a full week of entertaining canyoning on just Birch
    • Boundary - Looks great! MIA exit looks heinous enough to spoil the experience, especially for our guests
    • Pipe Spring - See above. Worried about MIA exit
    • Fat Man's Misery - 3 to 4 hour sun exposed exit hike including ascending steep gullies has us extremely gun shy due to recent misadventures in getting sandbagged RE: painful exits
    • Deadeye Dick - Worried about the approach. We're fine with Mystery's Death Gully type action, just don't want anything to do with steep, rough uphilling and extensive bushwhacking
    • Walker Gulch - Worried about driving to the lower trailhead or the climbing required to exit back out to the upper trailhead
    That's my list so far. Please help me out with evaluating my concerns, advice for selecting which canyons to explore and tips for same, and let me know if you have recommendations beyond the canyons on my short list above.
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Hi Oh Ancient One -

    It would be helpful to know what where why you got sandbagged on, so we can make an evaluation of your canyon skills. Without that:

    A. Why would you go to the only place in Utah that has closed canyons? There are open canyons, outside the Park, but you are already aware that the pickin's are slim.

    B. is for Birch - great canyon. But not for 4 days in a row. Also, it is crowded these days, being as it is not inside the Park.

    C. Boundary - yes the MIA is even more heinous than usual these days. Great canyon though, but not for beginners (because of the exit). You would need a Church permit for that.

    D. Pipe Spring - more manageable, as it only half the MIA. Still... I would not take beginners up the MIA, even just the top half. Dangerous. Impolite.

    E. Fat Man's: awkward, since off-trail travel IN the Park is illegal. Can come in from elsewhere but it is a pain. and the exit is again awful. Not a place for beginners.

    F. Deadeye Dick: use the 2-vehicle approach. Still, a lot of hiking for not much canyon. If you use my directions, the approach is not bad... but still, not a beginner canyons.

    G. Walker: I've heard the road down is in good shape, but...

    From your comments on some of these, I get it you don't like hiking. Or better - that you are aware that long rugged hikes might spoil the day for some of the people in your party. If I was taking beginners, other than Birch, these are not canyons I would choose. Go somewhere else. There are plenty of short canyons in North Wash that are mostly rappelling... even some wet ones nearby if it is still stinkin' hot out. But coming to Zion just seems like a dumb idea.

    Tom
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
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  3. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Maybe a canyon or two on the Silver Reef might work?
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  4. Zach Olson

    Zach Olson

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    E. With two capable 4x4 vehicles, a little skill and a lot of guts (stupidity) you can do a Fatmans Misery vehicle shuttle by driving down into the Barracks. The exit hike in the water up the East Fork would be less hot and you can avoid the park entirely.
  5. CRNPRES

    CRNPRES

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    I would look at The Huntress, silver reef area (Yankee Doodle, boltergeist), birch hollow again

    If you are worried about the strenuous approach of deadeye dick - I would go ahead and cross off boundary, pipe and fatmans they will all be more strenuous and at the end of the day and hot depending on temps. In your case with your current concerns, I would be very cautious taking beginners into canyons you have not done.

    Walker you could drive a Subaru down there as of last week.

    Hike more to fill the week? Maybe go somewhere else (but use caution going somewhere else to canyoneer if you have any only been through Zion classics as anchor skills are need for even easier routes).
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  6. Ancient

    Ancient

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    Thanks. I'm comfortable building anchors - lots of trad climbing experience, but your caution against bringing newbies into canyons that are new to me is well received. That was exactly the mistake I made last weekend.

    Our current list includes Birch, Benson, Water, Deadeye, and Yankee Doodle. We're not stressed about getting in a canyon every single day, but we'd like to have options. We're also bringing plenty of boardgames and booze.
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Trad climbing experience is helpful, but not definitive for building and/or evaluating canyoneering anchors. See: http://canyoncollective.com/threads/canyoneering-for-climbers-non-redundant-anchors.26308/

    Tom
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  8. Ancient

    Ancient

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    Thanks for the link, Tom.
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  9. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Exactly. When canyoneers say "anchor building skills" they are not talking about the anchor building skills you have from climbing. They are talking about deadmen, sandtraps, waterpockets, chockstones, pack drags etc. None of which trad climbers do. They're not talking about slamming in two cams and a stopper and tying them off with a cordelette, much less drilling bolts.
  10. bigjstyle22

    bigjstyle22

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    With Zion backcountry permits now being available and allowed, is off-trail hiking now considered allowed too? I looked through the park website but couldn't find an answer. Thinking for something like Misery...

    Sent from my LG-TP260 using Tapatalk
  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    They quietly removed the prohibition of off-trail hiking. Shhhhhhhh. Don't tell anyone.

    Hope your wilderness navigation skills are up to snuff... the most difficult part of Fat Man's is the navigation.

    Please let us know how the water levels are if you do it. Thanks.

    Tom
  12. bigjstyle22

    bigjstyle22

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    Lips are sealed. My brother has done it before and would be with me so navigation shouldn't be a concern. Thanks for the info!

    Sent from my LG-TP260 using Tapatalk
  13. Zach Olson

    Zach Olson

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    What did you end up doing?
  14. Ancient

    Ancient

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    Birch, Deadeye Dick, Water Canyon, and Benson Creek. Think our favorite was Deadeye.
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