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UT: North Wash Sandthrax 5-16-14

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Tom Collins, May 19, 2014.

  1. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Ever since reading about Sandthrax canyon I thought I would never do it, I just thought whats the point. However, for the last year or so, my main canyon partner has been wanting to do it so I started to consider maybe doing it one day. Then after our trip down to Escalante this March where we did Raven and East Baker I started to consider the possibility that I might be ready to give it a try. So I start thinking about when would be a good time to do it and we decide to do it May 1st down at the NW Meetup. Now I have to try and find the cams necessary to ascend the crux, so I start asking around and several times I think I've found someone who has them/can get them for me, only to be disappointed. Finally at the last minute I manage to find someone who has them and I have to drive from Spanish Fork up to Thanksgiving Point to get them then go home and finish packing. I get all packed and ready to go and my buddy calls and he's in the middle of some emergency and can't go.:cry: Luckily for us someone at work needed to trade a few days that ended up leaving me with a Fri/Sat free this weekend and I called up my friend to see if we could take another shot at Sandthrax. He's in and I've still got the cams so the trip is on. Throughout this whole process I had been waffling back and forth between being afraid of what I was getting myself into and being confident in the skills I had gained over the last few years of canyoneering. The moment finally arrived and we hiked to the head of the canyon and the familiarity of hiking and chatting with my friend was enough to calm my nerves and I was confident that, with care, we could make it through safely.[​IMG]

    Looking at the head of Sandthrax

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    And I thought we would be staying dry on this trip
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    Going Down
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    One of many Silos we had to cross that day
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    Relaxing and waiting for my buddy.:sleepy2: It was nice to be on good old earth after 4.5 hrs of stemming.
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    It was an awesome trip and the sense of personal accomplishment after getting out was amazing. Unfortunately I missed some of the obvious pics, like exiting the crux and of course the end of the canyon. Incentive to go back again and enjoy the canyon a second time, although I'll be sure to bring a pad for my butt next time.

    Featured Image for the Homepage:
    slide.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2014
  2. Blake Merrell

    Blake Merrell Lovin' Utah's Backcountry

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    Awesome TR. I hope to be able to do this canyon someday. What are some recommended intro "R" slots to help someone ease into this kind of canyoneering?
  3. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Nice pics! Some of the best I've seen for this canyon. Nice job, and congratulations.

    I wonder about a "butt/lower back" type pad. Have any used this before, and does it help or hinder? What have people used?
  4. PG Rob

    PG Rob

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    Trail, Stair, Middle Lep, surprisingly Zero G, etc... Most any narrow canyon where you can choose your level will work. You can go into many, many canyons that fit this description and "practice" with few penalty points. You have probably already done several canyons that would work. Obviously, you travel differently in them to get the practice.

    Psycho D is a good "just before canyon".
    Mountaineer likes this.
  5. PG Rob

    PG Rob

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  6. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    I would also suggest Raven canyon once you have some stemming experience. It has a few sustained stemming sections, if you feel comfortable in them you can probably handle the stemming in Sandthrax. It's not perfect though since, in Sandthrax, the stemming is much longer and some of the moves are harder. Not to mention the crux climb is not something you can practice for in canyons.
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  7. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Thanks for the comparison Tom! Interesting, you've validated a lot of side discussions going on around the same thing: Raven and Sandthrax, comparisons and consensus of an X slot.

    I liked your description on how you worked up to the challenge. It is amazing how much the mental plays into it. Good idea to practice skills and gain technical/technique/experience, which leads to additional mental confidence. Critical before attempting something harder like Sandthrax. But hey, there are exceptions. It seems there are some out there just born for high risk and have no need for progression. Maybe those people have high life insurance policies? :whistle:
  8. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    I wasn't saying that Raven and Sandthrax deserve the same rating, I agree with the R rating on Raven, I simply meant that Raven was a good canyon to prep for Sandthrax and make sure you feel comfortable with exposure. I think it comes down to the fact that in Raven, while there were some spots with exposure (like the black raven silo picture in your thread), none of the moves needed to cross those spots were particularly hard. Not the case in Sandthrax, there were 3-4 spots where we were quite high up and extended about as far as I could go without transitioning to a full body stem.
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  9. Jeremy Freeman

    Jeremy Freeman Staff Member

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    Awesome TR @Tom Collins! I love how, as my canyoneering experience advances, Sandthrax looks more and more do-able, and a lot more fun than scary :) I too never thought it would be on my radar, but it has been recently!
  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Some more comparison details -

    Sandthrax is an endurance X(minus) canyon. It is not so much the high spots or the hard spots; it is that there is so MUCH high stemming. Yes, there are a few scary spots, but those spots are not "X" hard by themselves, really. Maybe.

    Just like other canyons, X Canyons vary widely in their attributes.

    Tom
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  11. Ram

    Ram

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    The Gold Gym shorts work for me. Without them..... One to two days and its sore. With them, I can go indefinitely
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  12. Ram

    Ram

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    Big Tony's R variation. Then Raven. Then Lower Pintac. Then finish with DDI. All in the same remote area.
  13. Ram

    Ram

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    Fine effort and thanks for the TR. Congratulations. Was it easier or harder than you thought? How long did it take? I can't say that getting feet wet to start the thing would be on my wish list. The canyon has so many memorable spots. More than most X's. How did you deal the crux? Any other spots stand out? What is next on the agenda?
    hank moon likes this.
  14. Mike

    Mike epic blarneys

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    Those are some fine pics of East Leprechaun.
  15. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    Might the rating be somewhat style-dependent? Sandthrax's crux yields to aid, but if done "free" w/o aid or protection, 'tis certainly an "X" spot.

    Overall, the "X" rating feels deserved and appropriate, especially for a roadside test-piece.
  16. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    X2, but air dries quickly :)
  17. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    The SLOT-X(minus) rating is for the canyon, independent of the "crux" upclimb. Sandthrax being an exception to the usual ratings, which do not include a rated up-climbing section. The Crux itself is 5.11 (or 5.9 C2) and protects well with the right gear, thus from a climbing point of view does not get a poor-protection rating. Of course, like any climbing protection rating, if you don't bring the right gear or use it effectively, the climb can be made dangerous.

    Tom
  18. Ram

    Ram

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    A little birdie told me that Tom C. made another descent through the canyon last week with a buddy of mine. Care to elaborate? Pictures? fixed anchors still there? You going to get them at FreezeFest?
    :twothumbs:
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  19. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Yep, I was itching to get back in at least once more since the last time my buddy was the one who climbed the crux and I just ascended a fixed rope since there is a bolt at the top of the crux now, actually there are two. One bolt is right where you can first wedge yourself into the crack and the second is a few feet higher and further in. After barely solving the crux I have decided that I still love the canyon, and will go back any time, as long as someone else is the one to solve the crux and is willing to drop me a line to ascend on. If someone volunteers for crux duty I wouldn't mind being on a bolt removing expedition, but only if there is also someone who knows about bolt removal along. I have never removed a bolt or tried to patch a bolt hole, I had been lead to believe this was rather easy, but after a little more discussion I would feel better if I saw someone else do it first.

    The other reason I had for this trip is that I have a climbing buddy who I am getting into canyoneering and while he's only been out a few times he has loved stemming and downclimbing and keeps begging me to take him out to canyons with lots of that in them. So I told him about sandthrax and exactly what he would be getting himself into and he said ok lets do it. He loved the first half of the canyon, but a foothold broke on him early on which made him wary and then he started getting tired and he realized exactly what he had agreed to do. He made it through just fine though, which I knew he would.

    I didn't get many pics this trip since I gave my camera to my friend to get a few with me in them, and then I forgot to get it back and he was focusing on staying safe not taking pictures, but I'll post the few that I did get soon.
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  20. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Here's the pics from my Nov 29th trip through Sandthrax
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