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UT: North Wash Shenanigans 12-31-22

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Ram, Jan 12, 2023.

  1. Ram


    Since our exploration of Shenanigan's in March of 2002, I have recommended that large folks leave after the third slanted narrows. The final narrows is the best part, but the upper sections, particularly the slanted third section still makes a fine outing. While I hope to get down to "sliding through" weight again someday (18 lb's too much now). I am now forced to take my own advice, as I am too big to get thru and too weak to do the initial up climb for the up high -X stem past. I was privileged to hang with a fine group of friends for the first parts, before exiting up the boulders and slabs between the third and fourth narrows. So much of this conditions report is second hand. I will give it anyway, as I "know" the place from a dozen descents over the years.

    The early potential pool, in narrow #1 is filled with sand and the canyon was dry throughout till the final pool. The long tight part of the the extreme narrows of the 4th section is in easy condition now. This means that the sand level is low. That is not intuitive, but hold true for this section, as higher sand level raises descenders into overall tighter squeezes. The 2nd section, usually easy was also low sand (one often finds if one section is low, the other is high. The sand has to go somewhere) and was very hard, forcing all but the skinniest to do the upclimb by the round silo opening. Very uncommon conditions.

    The traverse to avoid the deep pool at the end of the technical section had its sand dam high so the traverse ledges were a foot under water and the pool deeper. A few members of the group descended Leprechaun after the Kelsey exit, It was a fine outing on the last day of the year. Pictures from my abbreviated descent.












    Kuenn, Taylor, Dan H and 7 others like this.
  2. John Diener

    John Diener

    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Ram's secondhand report on the last narrows is better than my firsthand, but I'll add my account and some photos anyways! Seeing as we were only able to make it down for this one canyon day, constrained by family visitors and work, this doubles as my complete FF report.

    My daughter Emily and I made our way down to North Wash the afternoon of the 30th, her first time attending this event. Storminess threatened, but we hoped for a short window to sneak in a canyon on the 31st. The evening campfire was mellow with a pleasant and cozy-sized group. After a bit of debate and discussion two different outings were planned for the next day - an Epic Blarney and a Shenanigans. Perfect - I'd been wanting to introduce Emily to Shenangigans for several years now; what a perfect time and crew with which to do so.

    New Years Eve dawned remarkably warm - in the 40s. The Henry's were cloaked in storm clouds, but the sky was mostly blue over North Wash. Time to canyon! By mid-morning nine of us made our way up the Cedar Point road to the start point, leaving a shuttle vehicle enroute. After a short and sunny approach we were soon dropping in to the ever deepening and narrowing slot. Although I have been in the canyon 5 or 6 times over the years, this was the first time in roughly a decade - I was quickly reminded how good a canyon it is - IMHO the classic of North Wash. Conditions were very pleasant in-canyon and we all took an early lunch in the chambered swirly slot a litte before the slanty portion of the "third" narrows. After the break, we squeezed and scruffed our way through the slanty to the big open section before the final narrows. We all walked the shelf to the overlook of the last section - it is an impressive and intimidating view - then ambled back to get to it. We said our goodbyes to Ram who had planned from the beginning to skip the end slot by using the LDC escape.

    The remaining eight headed in, and boy is the last section fantastic - a series of fun downclimbs lead to the grim crawl and another nice downclimb. Some more swirly and featured canyon and then things shut down to tight parallel walls. Before heading in I stripped some of my layering to help slide through. That first long section of vertical-walled tightness is remarkable in its consistency - I had to squeeze a few times but never had to go to one knee to dip lower, which I have had to do in some previous trips. Apparently, as Ram has noted, this means the sand is on the lower side. Once we reached the tiny silo room that breaks the tightest narrows into two sections, I figured it was over - I've never had a tough time in the second (shorter) part. But the three in front of me and Emily had different news to share - Deb had made it (barely according to her), Nate had tried and failed, and Eran was about to try (unsuccessfully). After Eran gave it a couple of goes and backed out, I moved forward to try while Nate started the climb (not a gimme) to go up and over the tight spot. Based on previous experience I figured it would not be a big deal... but I quickly reached a 10-15' section that just wasn't happening - it felt very tight and committing. After probing a bit I gave up and headed back to the silo. I then realized that I had not taken my outer shorts off - although it seemed unlikely to make a difference I pulled them off and went in for another go. This time, with one more layer gone, some tiptoe action, and semi-committing squeezing, it went! I'm sure going up and over would have been fine, but it is fun to work out getting through low. Behind me, Emily skipped through with nary a problem. In the end, five of our eight went over the top at this spot.

    With the crux narrow problem dispensed, we worked past the slanty stem/squeeze to the final drop sequence. Such a great spot. The crew up front re-rigged the anchor, then we were off one by one. The traverse features were partially underwater but we all made it with nothing more than shins wet. We quickly rambled downcanyon to the Kelsey exit and out to the rim where our group split - some for more canyon, some were done and ready for camp, and some of us had to get on the road to Salt Lake. A short trip, but a fantastic 24 hours.

    Em picking up some canyon wisdom from these three guys...


    Beautiful morning.

    The slanty slot.

    Last narrows overlook.

    The Grim Crawl.

    The crux narrows (this time) between Deb and Eran.

    The final drop (and typically only rap).

  3. ratagonia


    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Nice write up John, and great pictures. Thanks!!
  4. Canyonero


    I can't believe there was no snow in this of all years.
  5. Ron Lebfrom

    Ron Lebfrom

    Beautiful trip report. Hopefully you found the video through the narrows helpful.

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