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UT: Capitol Reef Surfing the Reef

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Ram, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. Ram

    Ram

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    Murray e-mails Jenny and I. His son Cannon is coming in and he wants 4 days out with us in canyon country. I say yes. Jenny says she has a friend, Julie, that she is doing a trip with. She asks, "can she come?" But of course. Five to go! October 12th-15th. Where to go? Jenny suggests Capital Reef. Ummm, I am involved in discussion with one of the ranger's there. Chatting about the cat and sheep we found dead, 15 feet apart, in Five Mile Canyon. a few years back. I write him and ask.."Want to see the place?" Adam says "Love to!" He is using the pictures in his evening presentations at the campground. A little more back story could not hurt. Here is some pictures of that fateful day a few years back
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/capitol-reef-access-issues.18083/#post-91452

    So Jenny and I wander up Pleasant Creek, before we all gather for 3 more days in Wonderland, the time tested Cottonwood-5 Mile classic loop and a trip up Fern's Nipple. On our next to last day, we say hi to Mike Bogart, who is putting some impressive days together and Josh (Tirrus on CC) who, like Adam, is working as a ranger at Cap Reef.

    Great fun was had by all and now I have an excuse to share some pictures.


    Tree hugger...day 1. Pleasant Creek
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    Colorful
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    Lotta Sheep
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    Making a loop
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    Day 2 Wonderland
    View on approach
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    Jenny and Julie
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    Our gun, Cannon...sorry, couldn't resist
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    Back at camp
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    Day 3- Cottonwood- 5 Mile
    Music Arch
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    Adam on board
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    Jenny out of Cottonwood
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    Jenny ALWAYS finds arrowheads
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    Slickrock heaven on the benches
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    Naps are GOOD!
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    Down the nose
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    Met two days before, great friends already
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    Decaying vegetable matter...Yummy
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    5 Mile
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    Re-enacting the cat position
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    Found this white sand or salt. Never seen it before
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    Day 4. Fern's Nipple
    Cool angle on Cassidy Canyon
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    Peek-a-boo
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    Summit
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    More napping
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    The view
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    heading down
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    Kuenn, Rapterman, Tirrus and 6 others like this.
  2. Taylor

    Taylor

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    Awesome. I love CRNP! Couple of questions: Was everyone in the group comfortable with climbing that last bit free on the Nipple? Or did you rope up for any of it? How was the anchoring situation in Wonderland? Any materials to be used at the last drop? Or did you farm/shuttle stuff up or down for that? Nice photos Ram.
  3. Ram

    Ram

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    All but me found it easy enough. The right facing open book at the end is an exposed spot that wants to spit you out. I find the "v" shaped groove a few feet to the east, easier on the way down too. No rope used but I had big Murray on my tail, spotting this old coward.

    As for the last drop in Wonderland, I had used water or sand or a cairn, all near the drop, in the past. Note this picture, looking up canyon, showing Cannon above the last chamber. Behind him 25 feet back and 15 feet up is a collection of heuco's. Two of them form an arch and that arch is slung through. Note the rope to Cannon's right. We have used this anchor the last few times.
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    While the arch is not trivial in size, it is sandstone and it is a straight shot, with no friction, to going over the lip, on the final drop. So it was backed up for all but LAPAR and that person weighted the rope nary at all, until they went over the lip and created a bend in the rope. This is not easy, as the drop goes vertical to slightly overhanging, in a narrow, mildly slanting exit. Beats moving sand or water around. It should be fiddled, as the spot already has been grooved up a bit, due to rope being pulled through, over the last few years.
    Austin Farnworth and Taylor like this.
  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    And it was not Fiddled because?

    Left a sling?

    T
  5. Ram

    Ram

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    It was fiddled. We left the sling because...
    ~ it is a published canyon and anchor options for all but seasoned ghosters are limited
    ~Because the damn thing was a 5th class climb up there with an open knife
    ~Because the arch would saw from regular fiddle-rope pull through's

    So we fiddled the existing sling. Seemed the way to do the least damage and safest option for most canyoneers. BTW it took quite an eye for someone to find that option. I am sure many folks never see this anchor option, as it is up high and behind you, over the shoulder.
  6. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Looks cold. You know canyoneering is a summer sport, right? :)
  7. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Woodland Hills, UT
    Freezefest!!!!!!!!! Ya pansy:tongue:
    Ram and ratagonia like this.
  8. Tirrus

    Tirrus Rope rider.

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    Thanks for the write up! Looks like ya'll caught the fall colors perfectly. Wishing I was able to join on this trip.
    Ram likes this.
  9. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Stunning pictures!!

    That's a beautiful point! The colors/opaqueness....Wow! Really blends well with the surrounding... like finding a specific needle in a stack of needles.
    Ram likes this.
  10. Ram

    Ram

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    Wasn't cold. Warm days, pleasant evenings. I only used shorty wet suit the whole 2 week trip and for Wonderland and 5 mile, for the first time ever in just a shorty. After suiting up in Wonderland, we waited in the shade for our last person to be ready. Some wind on the long classic, but the sun was almost always on the leeward side. Several folks who had been up the Nipple once and Jenny who had done it many times, had never been up there in NO wind. It continued warm and sunny through the next 9 days too. Warmest October ever, and I have only missed October 5 times ( 80, 83, 84, 90, 94 Bad back, new business twice, birth of my children twice) in the last 41 years. October is the BEST month...except for maybe September, April, May and all the other months. ;-)
    Taylor and Tom Collins like this.
  11. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Ram you're never cold. But all those people in those pictures are wearing hats under their helmets. Nobody does that when they're warm.
  12. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Maybe. Maybe. I think about it every year. Then I put on my skins and go climb some mountains in the Wasatch.
    Taylor, Dave Melton and Tom Collins like this.
  13. Doug Smith

    Doug Smith

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    We did Na-gah Fork for the first time the Day You did Ferns Nipple. We could see you on Top as we where dropping into the canyon. Looks like a interesting climb up the last bit. Talked to the ranger in the parking lot, Asked if i knew you and said you where heading that way. We met at North Wash/Sandthrax camping area in April 2016. You and a friend suggested South Maiden Water. Fun Canyon, Lot of challenging down climbs! Great canyon for us. Actually got back from North Wash again last night. Been a great Fall to play in the desert.
  14. Doug Smith

    Doug Smith

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    October & November are some of the Best Month to do Canyons.
    Tom Collins likes this.
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