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UT: Zion Rock Canyon - Parunuweap - Fat Man's Misery - French

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by 2065toyota, May 19, 2014.

  1. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    5/16/14 - 5/18/14

    Attendees:
    Me (Kody), Christine (wife), Kyler (son), Lacey (daughter), Kendall (dad), Krista (sister), Zach (nephew), Wyatt (nephew). Friends: Eric, Lorey, Rick, Brian, Jared, Shawn, Kristie

    The trip was inspired by my day, each year on his birthday we take him on some sort of an adventure. At the young age of 61, he is still up to the task. I can't make too many jokes about old people on here, because I know too many 60+ers than can out perform the majority.

    Day One:

    Most of us met at my house and then drove out to the Rock Canyon area to get set up camp. We found a good camping area to fit our group and had a leisurely camp fire, roasted some hot dogs, and just lounged around. We were all there except Brian and his group of 3 others coming from Provo. None of them had ever been to the area and I had just given him some general directions over the phone. Turn at Elephant Cove kiosk, take road 20, turn left on road 25, turn right on road 18. We will be somewhere down that direction, hopefully you find us before tomorrow morning. About 11pm we hear a vehicle in the distance. In a very short period, they come flying into camp in a little Subaru 4 door car. So if anybody is wondering, yes you can get a Subaru down to Rock Canyon. Just keep it above 40. Now getting out of Rock Canyon and back to pavement, that can be dealt with on Sunday.

    Day Two:

    We all start rolling out of bed around 8am, my times will be estimates as I didn't really look at the times throughout the trip. We pack up our gear, then the traditional unpack it and repack with on the stuff you absolutely need. Canyoneering packs aren't bad, backpacking packs aren't bad, but canyoneering/backpacking packs get bigger and heavier. We had a variety of sleeping arrangements: A few tents, a few bivy sacks, a couple of hammocks (hopefully there are good enough trees), and a few open air. Half the group took wetsuits, half opted not to. We choose to take 2 @ 120' ropes, 1 @ 70' rope, 1 @ 60' rope w/pull cord. Rock Canyon went fairly quick, maybe 2-3 hours and we were at the river. We dropped our packs, got our lunch out and wandered up to the petroglyph wall that is only about a 2 minute hike away. Definitely worth the wrong direction walk. After lunch, the neo socks come on and we head down the river. If you have never been here, you need to. Its a smaller version of the narrows, but without the people. There were tracks in the sand, but we never seen another sole in the Parunuweap. Other than the deer who got spooked and ended up trapped between some of our group and had no idea where to go. Fresh steaks for dinner did cross my mind [​IMG]. About 2 hours down river we hit the French Canyon jct. We stashed the 2 @ 120' ropes in the bushes to save some weight. It only left us with 2 ropes for 15 people through Fat Man's, but decided it was worth the weight. And it was the correct choice. At the waterfall obstacle, we choose to take the bypass route up and around. I wouldn't advise it unless you are really trying to avoid getting wet. It probably took us 30 minutes to get our group through it, where it would have been 5 minutes to go over the log, down the rock, and wade through the chest deep water. about 1.5 hours after French we made it to the Fat Man's exit point. About half the group wanted to see Labyrinth Falls, so packs were dropped and quick jaunt down the falls and back.

    The water filters were broke out, and refilled all the water containers everybody had, knowing that would have to supply our dinner, breakfast, and at least to potholes at Fat Mans where more water could be grabbed if nessecary. The original plan was to camp at the top of the exit point on a nice flat sandy area. Upon arriving there, everybody was still feeling pretty good and we still had light left, so we continued out the trail another hour or so as to alleviate some of the distance we would be going the next day. Brian and Eric scouted out a perfect little sandy east facing bench overlook Misery Canyon and out of any wind for a camp spot. Dinner was had, and we all slept pretty good after the long day.

    Day 3:

    Morning came, we messed around making breakfast and coffee (Eric and my dad don't function without it), repacked all our gear, and broke camp around 9am. We really should have got up a little early and hurried some more, as the sun was out and it was a little hot for the remaining hike up to traditional white Whales Tail rock. I wished I would have paid better attention the last time I did Fat Man's, as we could have avoided a couple of miles of hiking by dropping into the drainage quite a bit earlier than we did. At the first rap, those with suits started the ritual, those of us who didn't started heading down. About 4-5 people into the rap, a group of 5 also showed up at the anchor. They seemed a little disgusted about running into such a large group which was understandable. However, they didn't catch us until about the 4th section of narrows, which we allowed them to play through on a rope we had set up. I had done the canyon twice before, and there was substantially more water this time. And it was cold water. I contemplated my decision to not bring a wetsuit or any of my family members for that matter as there were chest deep pools in the first section where I had never even got my feet wet before. We cruised through the canyon, enjoying each others company. Laughing at the squeals from the cold water, taking a lot of pictures, and just having a good time. Knowing that the sections were short, if we got cold, in 20 minutes there would be plenty of sun again. Fat Man's is just a cool canyon, there aren't many raps, but the downclimbs and scenery are hard to beat. Those who brought wet suits were glad they did, and those who didn't also thought the decision was correct.

    It was about 3pm when we got to the river again, warmed up, ate some lunch, and started filtering water again for the trek back to the vehicles. I had estimated we would be back by 5pm, but knew this was out of reach. An hour or so upstream we hit the waterfall obstacle. It was a non issue and we climbed up and over and continued our journey. French was about 30 minutes later, gather our 2 ropes left from the day before and turned up the poison ivy garden of Zion. They must plant that stuff there so it can be transplanted to the rest of the world. It shouldn't be allowed to have that much in one area. My dad wanted to stop and make coffee (on a hot hike - he has issues), but I convinced him the power of 5 hour energy would work also. Surprisingly he tried some, and then asked for more a little later. The French exit went well, it is a little more defined than last time I was here, and it went fairly quick, I think we were back to the cars about 7pm, the faster ones probably around 6:30.

    Eric has to jump the Subaru which has a dead battery and they head out, Brian and his group still have to drive back to Provo tonight. I never seen them on the way out, so it does confirm you can get a car to Rock Canyon, not advised but it is doable. Our original estimate was that it would be around 6 miles a day for a 12 mile total trip. Rick got his GPS out, and it had a total miles logged of 19.8 with 6000' of elevation change. The mileage may have even been a little more if it ever lost service and just drew a straight line between it's last service point. My estimate was only 50% off, that is within reason. Isn't it?

    Overall it was a great trip. Spending the weekend with family and friends is what it's all about. Anybody that has a weekend to spare, this loop comes highly recommended. We did not really feel rushed at any time, and even with a large group made it out in 2 long days. I have about 6-700 pictures to sort through, Eric has over 1000, Rick and Krista have quite a few also. Once they get sorted out, we will get some posted up. Thank you everybody for going. Hopefully you will go with me again [​IMG]

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2014
  2. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Awesome! I hope that when I'm 60+ a) I'm still in good health and b) my sons will take me.

    Good tip. And, I like your idea of doing Rock as a loop. Fat Man is on my short list, so I may hit you up on some additional detail if needed. Likely July would be dumb, so maybe later in the fall.
  3. Jeremy Freeman

    Jeremy Freeman Staff Member

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    SLC, UT
    Great TR @2065toyota! I have merged your posts into one and displayed all the images for you :)
    ratagonia likes this.
  4. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    Sweet. Thank you
  5. deeps

    deeps

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    15 people?
  6. Redrockhikerboy

    Redrockhikerboy

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    Toyota,

    Nothing beats family, and nothing beats canyons. Merge them together...you have magic. Looks (and reads) like a great trip!

    Chris
    Mountaineer likes this.
  7. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    And a few random lizards, frogs and scorpions
    Josh Case likes this.
  8. Ram

    Ram

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    Quite the ramble. You folks covered some ground. In Spry in February, you told me about your family. Faces to the story now. 15 people? Yeah. but getting everyone available at the same time? A miracle.
    did you see our prints from 4 days before going down to the labyrinth Falls?
  9. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Awesome! Looks like grand fun.

    Tom
  10. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    I stayed at the plaque and filtered water. I will ask Kyler if he remembers seeing any


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. Ram

    Ram

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    there is a tree trunk downclimb that is quite interesting, followed by a 4.5 foot deep hole:)
  12. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    I've been down there before so I just decided to stay and get water
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