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(Still) Alive 2017 - The Trip Report

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by miller.alice.d, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    Hey Canyon Collective -- I made it out in one piece! :)

    First, I want to send out a huge thank you to everyone here at CC who helped me to have a safe, successful trip. To all who replied to my threads and PMd me with advice and invitations — thanks tons for helping me break into this sport!! The advice and wisdom I got here was invaluable to me every step of the way. This is a great community, I feel lucky to have a small chance to contribute.

    And also, an extra special thanks to all the folks who actually took me out into the canyons. In chronological order: Josh (Tirrus), Garrett (Pictish), Ross Platt, Johnny (wisconnyjohnny), Scott Patterson, and Scott Chandler — I can’t thank you all enough for taking a chance on me. I learned boatloads from our descents together and really enjoyed meeting all of you. Looking forward to next time!

    On this trip, I completed 15 descents in 11 days. I'm ecstatic! Here are the deets:

    7/28 - My first technical canyon! It’s… unpublished, and I was sworn to secrecy haha. I will say that it had 8-9 raps off a variety of natural anchors, a couple full swims (thanks wetsuit!), and some great down climbing. Josh may as well be Batman with all his awesome gadgets and techniques. Great intro to the sport!

    7/29 - Englestead and Orderville with Garrett. That first 300’ rap — whoooo! They need an elevator there just so I can do it over and over. Englestead in general was probably my favorite canyon in Zion. I think the “4” rating is undeserved (as long as you can add friction during descent). Orderville got a little spicy thanks to a flash that afternoon, but I’ll let Garrett tell that story. :)

    7/30 - The Subway. I kinda see this as more of a scenic boulder hop rather than a technical canyon. The goods are good, but you pay a lot for them. A long approach, a tedious (and tiring!) exit, -and- a necessary car shuttle? Not sure why this is the hottest permit in Zion, but still a nice morning.

    7/31 - Pine Creek and Keyhole with Ross. It’s clear why these are so popular — beautiful slots, easy raps and downclimbs, and such a high bang for your buck! Thanks Ross for inviting me along!

    8/1 - Echo and Mystery. Echo was a treat! A lot like Pine Creek, but you don’t have to wait in line at the raps. In fact, I didn’t see anyone else here. The ‘keeper’ pothole took about 3 minutes to escape, but it could be a real problem if you’re not prepared. I wouldn’t mind the long hike up to Mystery so much if I didn’t have to slide back down Death Gulley afterwords — what a bummer! Like the Subway, Mystery often felt more like a scenic hike than a technical canyon. But, the final two raps really are wonderful.

    8/2 - Unpublished canyon in Capitol Reef NP with Josh. I promised I wouldn’t tell, sorry! I will say that we used a sand trap, and it was -awesome-!

    8/3 - Unpublished canyon in Capitol Reef NP with Josh. I promised I wouldn’t tell, sorry!

    8/4 - Smokestack Canyon in Capitol Reef NP with Josh. Lovely! The approach and exit are long, but -beautiful- hikes. Very fun downclimbs with great opportunities for partner assists. Being tall and light is a plus. :)

    8/5 - Dry Hollow in Escalante with Johnny. Short, but veery sweet! It’s stemming, chimney-ing, and elevator-ing all the way. Makes me wanna try an X canyon someday. :D Thanks Johnny for taking me here!

    8/6 - Sneak and another side canyon of Three Canyon with Scott Patterson. North of the Roost. Very scenic, fun downclimbs! Scott, you and Kim are legends; it was really a treat to do a canyon with you and hear about your decades of experience. I hope I have half as many cool stories to tell someday.

    8/7 - AM: Not Tierdrop in Arches. PM: Pleiades in the La Sals with Scott Chandler. I really enjoyed the chance to see Arches -without- pushing my way through crowds of tourists. The technical stuff was straightforward, but mostly it was great to have a hike -alone- in Park Avenue. Amazing views! Pleiades was a great canyon to finish the trip on — such a departure from everything else! A mountain stream in the woods… by Moab??? What a trip! And, who's with me on this, rapping down a waterfall makes you feel like a total bamf. Well, I definitely felt like a bamf, haha. Thanks Scott for inviting me out!

    8/8 and 8/9 - 26 hours of driving back to Columbus, OH. :/

    I'm sad to be back in flatland, but ecstatic that everything turned out so well. Again, sincere thanks to all here who contributed and made it possible.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a long bubble bath, put on something nice that I don't plan to destroy, and then go out for expensive coffee and clever cocktails.

    (But I'll be posting soon in the Meetup forum to get started planning my next trip! Death Valley in January, who's with me???)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  2. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    Pics aren't showing up, so here they are in order: Smokestack, Dry Hollow, and Sneak. IMG_0180.
    IMG_8660.JPG DSCN6062.JPG
  3. Ross Platt

    Ross Platt

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    Hey Alice! Great to hear that you had such a successful trip, glad I could be a part of it! I promise I will get the pictures to you soon. I am hoping to end up in Death Valley sometime this winter so let me know what your plans are!
    Ram likes this.
  4. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    Thanks a ton Ross, awesome time in Zion! I'll definitely let you know when I've got dates!
  5. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    Oh also, my trip report wouldn't be complete without a special mention for the Capitol Reef NP community. Josh, Rene, Matt, Emily, Adam, Allison, Andrew, Joe, Ruthie, and everyone else, the park is lucky to have you folks. Thanks for letting me crash the party!

    IMG_0184.

    And here's Josh, taking a selfie in my sunglasses:

    IMG_0133.

    Yep. I don't mess around with UV exposure. :D
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  6. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Awesome! What a great trip...b-b-but...when was the rest day? Ha ha.

    Cheers!
    Ram and miller.alice.d like this.
  7. Scott Chandler

    Scott Chandler Wildness is a necessity-John Muir

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    Glad we could meet and do an awesome canyon together. The canyoneering embers that have been smoldering for a while have been stoked!
  8. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    Yeah you've got work to do mister -- finding out all the best stuff in the Moab area! ;) Good luck at Dead Horse!
  9. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    glad you had a good trip. That's quite a mask.. looks like something out of Star Wars.
    Kuenn likes this.
  10. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Would have fit right in to the bar scene... very Greedo like!

    Greedo.

    @miller.alice.d thanks for sharing your experience!
    Ram, Deagol and miller.alice.d like this.
  11. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    I'd look like Emperor Palpatine by now without it. ;)

    [​IMG]
    Ram, Deagol and Kuenn like this.
  12. VillainousTurtle

    VillainousTurtle

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    How were you in Pleiades on the 7th? I was there that day and saw no one, and no cars at the TH. What time did you start?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    Oh no, busted! :)

    We started late, 7ish.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. Tirrus

    Tirrus Rope rider.

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    Ali!

    Thanks for coming out to Capitol Reef, I am so glad we got to get together and ride rope for a few fun days. Despite getting rained out on 3 canyons, we still got the 4 in.

    Sounds like you had a blast in Pleiades!
    miller.alice.d likes this.
  15. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Nice trip report! It was great to meet you!
    miller.alice.d likes this.
  16. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    I reeeeally wanted to break out the glow sticks. I brought 'em! :D But, class C and all, I didn't want them to wash away and become litter somewhere.
  17. wisconnyjohnny

    wisconnyjohnny Lagargar pockets

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    :twothumbs:
    Gnarly trip. Glad my tapas canyon was different then the rest. Rainbow canyon in death valley is on my list hoping to have an F-16 scream over me while on rope. Not sure where i'll be in January.!!!!!
    you rock
    miller.alice.d likes this.
  18. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    Heh, it was a blast to visit Johnny's World, and I'm pretty sure there was an F-16 screaming overhead the whole time I was there. :D

    Right back! Thanks again!
  19. Brad Treadwell

    Brad Treadwell

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    Jealous of your awesome trip. I have a permit for Echo Canyon in a few weeks and will be leading a trip with a few new to canyoneering. The extent of my leading has been the Subway, Pine Creek, and U-turn in Arches. From reading, the difficulty of Echo seems on par with Pine Creek which was very straightforward. The one exception being the keeper. I understand conditions change and we will get the latest beta when we arrive in Springdale, but I hoped you could give some details on what it took to get out of the keeper since you were there recently. I have read reports of a log jam but I am not sure what part of the canyon the trip report was referring to. Any advice or direction would be helpful. Also, I'd love any other suggestions of an alternate 1/2 day canyon around Zion if Echo Canyon conditions are not doable for whatever reason.
  20. miller.alice.d

    miller.alice.d

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    I'm sure others on the board can answer better; I followed advice from Ben Hanel. The exit to the pothole is a v-shaped pour-over. Recently, there's been a small log wedged in it. I hooked a foot sling to the log (which I could easily reach) and just stepped up and over it. Presto! I used a BD Grappling Hook which I brought specifically for the job.

    I don't really expect the log (large branch?) to last too long though. Echo flashed the day before I descended, and already the log was looking pretty beat up. In that case, I'm sure a pack toss would be easy enough. Also, it'd be pretty easy to just pick up a hefty looking stick on the way and wedge it in.

    I wouldn't want to partner assist the first person, the water was too deep for me to touch bottom (I'm 6'3"). Everyone else can be easily hoisted up.

    Someone actually posted a video on YouTube if you want to get a feel for what you're getting into.

    Aside from this little adventure, Echo is super straightforward. Very beautiful, a favorite!

    Oh also, I always say this, but imma say it again: the water in Echo was -cold-. Even with my 5mm, I was still chilly.
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