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UT: North Wash Shenanigans - A really good one

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Mountaineer, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    This canyon has been on my list since the very beginning. My mental formidable opponent. The nemesis of my world in this sport.


    [​IMG]
    Water was all avoidable, except a bit over the ankles
    at the end




    I had put it off, and found other canyons or excuses for over 2 years. It was one that came up, mentioned over and over, when I put on the harness for the first time.



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    Tricky entrance



    Every other morning or so, Tyler would ask, "Are we doing Shenanigans next?" My answer was always, "Sure, maybe". But then there was always another canyon or place that replaced it. This was one I needed to work toward.



    [​IMG]
    Curtis boulder escape



    I had read and heard of many accounts on the Middle Fork of West Butler. People getting stuck and barely making it out after monumental effort, others going high and crossing at R+/X-, still others just plain not even considering it. I'm about 172 lbs, 6', and felt I was within the "guidelines" of making it through. But still, with all the caution, it was one I wasn't particularly excited about doing. Why go into something to get stuck, rescued, or worse...spend a few days trapped staring through a narrow slit and wondering if it would rain next?



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    Deep pothole. Avoidable, maybe a keeper?



    The event was perhaps the strangest experience of my life. Here I was, making the long drive to my doom. But why? It was like a magnet that continued to pull me in. My best judgment was telling me "Are you crazy? Forget about this one. Go back". But I still continued on. I love this sport and the adventure.

    The night before the event, as the night hours passed, I reflected on my favorite quote again from George Mallory. He was asked by a reporter why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, and he answered: "Because it's there".

    Suddenly, the quote had renewed meaning for me. I was going, because it's there. And there was little I could do to prevent it.

    We got a fairly early start, and after an uneventful hike arrived at the slot around 9 am. Getting down into the canyon was trickier than we had planned. So, we took our time carefully planning and finding the easiest route down. (Despite some previous left webbing, the second drop/start is down-climbable: go to the left, good holds). My personal objective was to save my entire mental capacity for the narrows. No way was I going to push things until then. So, we took things nice and easy.

    The canyon is spectacular, amazing. A lot of narrow. However, it widens up in places for opportunities to rest. We were having a great time.



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    Simple fit




    All too soon, we popped out into the last opening before the final section. We scrambled up a few feet of sandstone to a nice shaded alcove, where you could easily see some debris/boulders going up high back to the rim. There was our last escape, well described in many of the betas. Take it? Nope...the magnet was still there.

    Continuing on, after about 7-8 minutes, we arrived at the Grim Crawl. There is a crack at the beginning that helps with the slide across, fist jam size. Chimney down after that, then some more downclimbs, stemming, and an elevator descent. Then, a fantastic corkscrew section! Way fun, and amazingly beautiful. Wow, we loved this place. Best part of the day! Then, a very narrow slot. Really tight, but you just scrape on through. At one point, I just stopped. Hmmm, really tight here, but I didn't force it. No panic, just lowered down a few inches and continued on. Then, another spot. I couldn't move my head or position high or low to get through this one. I remembered the helmet trick, pulled it off, then put it on top of a pack. Stepped up about a foot or so, scooted over, and back down. Piece of cake. I couldn't get the pack (nor dared to), so I just captured the strap with my foot and drug it along. Curtis, who was behind me, couldn't get my helmet, so he just kicked it on down.




    [​IMG]
    Planning for the Grim Crawl





    All too soon, we popped out.

    OK, we think we can do this. Our confidence was building. We should be ready for the final really tough stuff. We walked over to some boulders, and were surprised. There was the final rap! We had made it out. What an amazing feeling of accomplishment.



    [​IMG]
    The widest part



    A final note. We found a pair of 10.5 water shoes, and A LOT of trash. I have never seen so much. In fact, we filled up all our packs, pockets, shirts... and couldn't carry it all out due to us packing light. If you go through soon, please grab what we couldn't.

    This canyon is beyond just a check off the list. It was fantastic, and one of the best I've done out there. A true confidence builder. It's a keeper.







    [​IMG]
    Natural spring

    Edit: Changed quote to George Mallory.


    Featured Image for the Homepage
    slide.
  2. Scott Chandler

    Scott Chandler Wildness is a necessity-John Muir

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    This one has tempted me ever since I got into this sport. I've never had the nerve to go and check it off the list! Thanks for sharing.:twothumbs:
    Mountaineer likes this.
  3. lostlandscapes

    lostlandscapes Rope Mule Staff Member

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    Gorgeous writing, and way to conquer those fears! Thank you for sharing. I think I found myself a bit short of breath after reading....
    Mountaineer likes this.
  4. Sandstone Addiction

    Sandstone Addiction Headed South

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    Salem, Utah
    Loved the TR! :twothumbs: Excellent story. Thanks for sharing.
    Mountaineer likes this.
  5. penmartens

    penmartens

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    Very, very nice. Good photos. Great writing. Spectacular attitude.
    Mountaineer likes this.
  6. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Utah
    "Because its there."

    That was George Mallory. 30 years before Hillary.
    Mountaineer likes this.
  7. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Most likely it came from him. I also like to believe he made it to the top before Hillary. I give him the benefit of doubt.
  8. penmartens

    penmartens

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    Mark,
    You didn't even mention the Slanty Shanty ( third section). What did you think of it?

    Penny
    hank moon likes this.
  9. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Thanks Penny, great question, it is a really cool area. Actually fairly easy to navigate, and enjoyable. What a neat place. I didn't think it was as hard as the deep drop and slant of West fork of White Roost.

    In fact, those that are thinking about this canyon (but cautious of the narrow section) should still think about going through most of it and still not feel cheated. You can easily escape before the Grim Crawl (GC). Or, you can bring a lot of webbing/long rope and chimney/ascend back up the GC, after you do all the corkscrew stuff which IMO: is the best part.
  10. Mike

    Mike epic blarneys

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    Excellent TR, thank you.

    What kind of trash were you finding? This is very curious to me as the only "trash" I've ever found in the canyon were terrible anchors (rope groove producers). Usually I find the canyon very clean. Sad.
  11. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Glad to hear that it is usually clean. We found toilet paper, lots of plastic water bottles, shoes, pack straps, beer cans, papers, and wrappers. It looked like another group was just in there the day or two before (fresh footprints/mud).

    We got most of it.
  12. peakbaggers

    peakbaggers "Beaten paths are for beaten men."

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    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO
    Excellent report & yes, we get it: "Because it's there!" Great writing job. We'll probably do like you and keep this on the back part of the list until we get our courage up, but some day, we'll go for it. Thanks for sharing.
    Mountaineer likes this.
  13. shan1203

    shan1203

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    This one has been on my list since I first heard of North Wash, but like you, we've thought it best to become "experienced" prior to taking this one on. Sounds like you waited just the right amount of time to tackle it - thanks for sharing - awesome trip report! :D

    Shannon
    jeremy1701, Mountaineer and ratagonia like this.
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