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UT: Capitol Reef Some trouble in Nighthawk fork of Shinob Canyon

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Tom Collins, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Location:
    Woodland Hills, UT
    This was a great day for canyoneering, it was cool without being too cold and we got a nice leisurely start around 9am. The 5 of us made the approach with another group on their way to do Na Gah fork. It was a good day with lots of interesting problems, we set up retrievable anchors at the first two drops to leave the wilderness experience intact for any casual hikers. At the next drop we got our rope stuck when it flipped on rappel and left the pull side on top. Luckily that was the one you could bypass so no one had to ascend we just had someone hike up and fix it.

    On to the pothole section. None of the PH's were in keeper mode so we made short work of this section and only had one hole with water in it. I removed my shoes and socks so I wouldn't have to hike in them wet and boy was that water cold. Wading through a 5-10' wide pothole and they were numb by the time I got out the other side. Of course having nice dry shoes and wool socks to put on after meant they warmed up quickly. We made it to the final drop that is listed as 200+ feet in the beta and here we ran into a slight problem.

    I hadn't measured my 200' rope recently, however having done wife 3 the previous day there was about 5' on the ground when we got to the bottom of the first drop and it's supposed to be a 200' drop when the webbing is extended so I figured my rope was still at least close to 200'. Being the careful types we followed the suggestion in the beta and tied a second rope in below the anchor and rigged a figure 8 block to lower if necessary. First man goes down with the instruction for 1 whistle to lower and 2 blasts if he made it safely. After a few tense minutes we hear 1 blast and had to get someone down to the block which was extended down the crack a few feet. At this point we were thinking that he was just a few feet short and the last person would just have to carefully lower themselves off the end of the rope and drop. No such luck, we had to lower him about 15' to get him to safety. My next thought was to inspect the pothole at the midpoint and see if a sandtrap anchor would work. So I go next and when I get to the PH there is water in it and I know that the trap wont work so I procede to build a deadman in the small slot on the far side of the PH. It is around a foot wide and maybe 2-3' long of workable area to build this with only a few rocks about a third to half the size of ones head. We shuttled some sand down from above to burry it and proceded to test it with backup. It seemed sturdy, but this was only the 2nd one I had built and there was very little room so I was a little nervous. Apparently it was sturdier than we thought though since once everyone was down the rope jammed on the pull and we had two people bouncing around on the thing trying to pull the rope and the anchor never failed. With a some serious whipping of the rope and several different angles on the pull we got it down though. Curious as to how my rope could be so short since it was fine in wife 3 I measured it when I got home and it is P1010179.JPG P1010177.JPG View attachment 4590 P1010171.JPG P1010168.JPG P1010168.JPG P1010171.JPG P1010174.JPG View attachment 4590 P1010177.JPG P1010179.JPG 184' now, so apparently the wife 3 rap is not 200' if you extend the webbing enough.
    ratagonia likes this.
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    " 184' now, so apparently the wife 3 rap is not 200' if you extend the webbing enough."

    Well, yeah. Beta providers do not usually carefully measure drops, but estimate based on how long they think their ropes are, and based on how they have the anchor chosen and rigged. So a couple assumptions and... nice recovery, though.

    Tom
  3. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    I got my rope stuck on that exact same rappel, my first stick. It may be prudent to setup another anchor for this canyon, perhaps midway at that pothole. Anyway, my rope is 200' and it just barely made it.
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