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Spearhead, looking for Info

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by NevadaSlots, Nov 9, 2018 at 11:16 AM.

  1. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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    Myself and some other folks are looking to make a descent of Spearhead Canyon in Zion before the end of the year. The last report of descent on the wide web was from the Latest Rave back in 2010. Any news of more recent descents? We have some concerns about entry rappel anchors (if bolts have been placed next to the sketchy tree?, we are prepared and experienced to bolt if that still shows itself as the best option) and if the exit chimney bolts and pitons are still in reasonable condition. I guess I'm just trying to calm a questioning mind, we will go on without any beta, but some would be helpful if its out there. Thanks
  2. Ram

    Ram

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    Here is the TR from the old Yahoo group, before Tom wrote the Rave you referenced. There is some additional information in there. The Yahoo group info, is archived on this site (Canyon Collective) too, for others, searching other things. Just an FYI
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/tr-spearhead-canyon-oct-13-14-2010.15962/

    Here is the Rave that Nevada mentions, for all to glean.
    http://www.canyoneeringusa.com/rave/spearhead-canyon-zion-national-park/

    Thoughts.....if someone is fiddlestick proficient, then from the sound of it and my memory of it, one could work the places of low angles and ledges and add rope (in the right order), at appropriate places and work this big wall relatively easily. This sounds like great fun to me. Just remember to bring enough thin pull cord.

    This should be especially true, as the 300 footer worked for us, even with two anchors found at the bottom of the drop. While I am unsure that the 2 separate chunks of webbing found, did not come from the same tree (anchor) or two separate stations, it seems there is plenty of margin and options, as I recall the wall. By all means, carry a bolt kit, if you wish, as an emergency fall back, but from my sense of your skill set, you should not come close to needing it.

    Our friend Brendan (who is out now, exploring) did not tell us, that for years, that he carried a kit, in the bottom of his pack. He did not rob us of the sense that we were operating "without a net." We told him that we were glad for the extra conditioning he got from carrying all that dead weight.

    Safe passage and please report back. Love to hear about it. A lovely wilderness experience. Are you planning two days?
    R
  3. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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    Thanks for the info Ram, much appreciated. We are planning to do it in about 1 and 1/4 days, in one push. Fingers crossed we are fast enough to swing that. TR to come.
  4. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Seems like a longer rope would help avoid all those single bolt anchors of dubious worth.

    Be careful! (Goes without saying!).

    When in doubt, beef up those anchors!
  5. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    I haven't done Spearhead and have no idea how long it takes, but in November you only have 3/4 a day or daylight (compared to some other months). Why pack a 1 1/4 day single push into a November (or even December) day? This isn't criticism; I'm just curious.
  6. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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    Based on the mileage, elevation gain and loss, technical difficulties that are to be reasonably expected, and physical fitness of the group I believe we can do this in the daylight we have, plus night time travel. Yeah, your right Scott, it would be better to take two days, but sometimes the time we have is all the time we have. I think everybody has to squeeze trips into a busy schedule sometimes. We have to keep feeding the fire somehow or we will all just become cowards to the improbable. This quote comes to mind.

    “On a mountain, caught inside a welter of ambition, fear and struggle, you will shove yourself right out on the edge––climb right to the lip and get a good long look into the abyss. In that look, all you see, all you know, all you can possibly feel is the absolute intensity of your own mortality. The sheer, inalienable certainty that, ‘Hey, I am alive.’ This is exactly where the rest of life keeps you from going. This is exactly the confrontation modern man strives to elude. At all cost avoid it. Avoid being there. [At the edge.] Stand back. Keep cool. Keep everything, including your own life, at arms length. Keep this perspective: ‘I like to watch.’ That’s the right answer. Everyone a spectator. The perfect passionless life. And that’s it! That’s what puts men on mountains. The fear more sick than the fear of death; more dreaded than the fear of failure, the fear of mediocrity. The excruciating fear of a life without passion.”
    Mark Jenkins
  7. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Wow...sweet quote! Cowards to the improbable vis-à-vis Conquistadors of the Useless....!

    Jenkins has had a bit of looking at the abyss...

    https://www.climbing.com/news/rare-avalanche-kills-wyoming-ice-climber/

    "He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee."
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I disagree with Ram's assessment.

    But first, Tre C K placed bolts as suggested on the last TR, down on the terrace before the rollover, I think, thus making the dubious Christmas Tree unnecessary as an anchor.

    Ram's assessment is that there are lots of options. I don't think so. We lucked out and our rope reached the ground with very little to spare. The slings on the tree remnants on the canyon floor were both mine, from two different trees. I think Cabe's and mine original descent used a 200' rope and eeked out raps in a couple cases. BITD when 300' ropes were a rare thing. (Cabe and I expected that Cabe would place quite a few bolts on this descent. I, at least, was both disappointed and happy to find established anchors on the final chimney section as it suggested we would get out before dark on the 2nd day.

    Additionally, I do not think the canyon is fiddlestick friendly. The big raps at the beginning go by numerous dry nasty bushes - strong enough to capture a fiddlestick and not break, but not strong enough to anchor off of. I think traditional pull-through rappels would be more reliable here. On the final chimney, with numerous chockstones, making long rappels, pull-through or Fiddled, is unlikely to be successful. Careful analysis of stuck-rope hazards and rigging of numerous short rappels is more likely to get you out with all your ropes in hand.

    And yes, bringing a bolt kit that you know how to use is prudent.

    Timing: on the "Ten Years After" descent, we started early, and it was late in the year, but the climb up the Behunin Ridge was still toasty. It takes roughly 3 hours to get to the start of the ridge, and if you have done Behunin and remember the route in, that can all be done in the dark. If you have not done Behunin (etc) then the first two hours can be done in the dark.

    Tom
  9. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    You have beta.

    Perhaps you are used to beta that includes waypoints for each rappel and exact lengths, a picture of the anchor and a suggested way of rigging the rope. This is not that kind of a canyon, in fact, perhaps no canyon is that kind of a canyon.

    And no, I am not particularly ornery today - this is my normal.

    Tom
    Bootboy and yetigonecrazy1 like this.
  10. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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    Thanks Tom for all the info. No, actually I was not interested in, "waypoints, pictures of anchors, lengths, and rigging." If you look back at my original post I was only asking for the conditions of the bolts in the canyon. Nonetheless, I appreciate the beta you (and Ram) gave. I think it would be unreasonable and unsafe for me not to tap Canyon Collective as a resource in preparing for Spearhead.

    I agree with you that no canyon should be "that kind of canyon," but perhaps in the future, you should not make so hasty assumptions toward your fellow canyoneers and possible customers.
  11. Kip Marshall

    Kip Marshall Bshwakr

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    I'm not sure if anyone mentioned this but you probably won't be making a descent before year end. All canyons dropping into the Emerald Pools area are closed and will likely remain so until the seasonal trail crew gets back to work. Sorry.
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