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The Ghosts of FreezeFest's Past

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ram, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. canyoncaper

    canyoncaper

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    DSCN0053.JPG My favorite picture from my first FreezeFest - FF XI. At the moment of this photograph, I'm weighing 210 pounds, Esther and Michael are convincing me that I can make it up the first up-climb of Hogwarts. I never laughed so much in a canyon as I did that day. Check out my smile. This year I will arrive at FF XIII weighing 70 pounds less. Life is good! :smug:

    Felicia
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  2. Ram

    Ram

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    Here is a fine canyon I have only done once and that was on December 30th 2011. The South Fork Ticaboo Creek needs a name that is not such a mouthful. Something silly and lighthearted.:D

    The canyon has distinct sections and the scope of the place is large. A long pothole series, then drops with pools, then big raps, then nice canyon stroll, before the hill up. The boulders coming off Ellesworth make the approach a tad tedious if not lacking in vistas. A lovely package:happy:

    We arrived at a drop into the pothole section in good cheer. several leader types all going their own way and arriving at the same place. It was then that it was discovered that someone, left unnamed had forgotten their wetsuit. It happens and I volunteered to give my wetsuit over and ask around for what accessories of warmth were available. I forgot what I ended up with, but hats, puffies, wetsuit top, wind shells, wind pants all combined to give me enough to stay sorta warm and come up with one of my best homeless looks yet. I have no pictures of myself from the day but maybe someone will come up with one.:cold:

    With the help of the team, I moved through the canyon, warm windless station to warm windless station...mostly warm...mostly windless:inpain:
    A fine full day and a worthy objective

    View from the trail head
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    Rick Green
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    Wayne as meat, rick on rap. Anton and mike observe
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    Another Mike
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    animal tracks
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    Wayne at the start of the pothole series- nice wetsuit:tongue:
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    Brendan
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    Anton
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    handline
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    All the potholes done with a 300 foot rope with multiple meat anchors along the way
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    Dropping in to the middle section of the canyon
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    Very nice canyon
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    bad landing spot, handline pack drag and capture. Mike MacPhee going last
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    Surprise
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    Headed back
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    Spidey and Sons...They did No Kidding that day. No, not carried thru..did it on their own...well maybe a little help
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    Dan and the Crane
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    Alane
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    Standard fare
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    Don
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  3. Cameron

    Cameron Long Tall Texan by birth

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    I just love everything about that.
  4. Ram

    Ram

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    From a Tom Rave....but many of the pictures and all the story are mine, so only a little plagiarized. From FF III dodging weather

    Rainy Day Blues – FreezeFest III – Dec 2004

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    To bed we went, with stars a blazin. Then a few hours before dawn, the sounds of light rain woke us in our tents and tarps. No problem, it was pretty light. With the first hint of light, came harder rain, mixed with snow. Then it rained harder still. I heard the sound of opening and closing car doors. Ummm, I know what this means. Suddenly, the skies let loose. And Tom comes to the tarp entry. “Ah Ram…I’m getting out of here while I still can. Meet you at the pavement.” Seemed smart. I loaded everything into my sleeping bag and wearing only a rain jacket and bunny boots (Ahhh, the flasher days!), I sprint to the car. I hit the slickrock and it is a frozen slushy. Slide, but don’t fall. Umm, interesting out here. 2 more trips to the tarp to take it down and stuff it soaking wet, into the bag, Ryan is scrambling in the background, and I say “see ya down the road” and the race is on to reach the safety of asphalt. At first and at high altitude, the roads are fine. In the middle a little soft in the middle. Lead foot Ryan flies by. The low roads of the San Rapphie Desert are soft. Real soft. Don’t slow down, don’t stop! Ahhh, Temple Junction pavement, in a downpour. With windows cracked down a bit and stupid smiles on our faces, the call goes out for Arches! We decide to meet downtown.

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    Uh oh. Time to leave!

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    Freezefest? I thought you said Grease-Fest!

    As we reach the Arches area, the weather clears off a bit and I wait for Tom and Ryan at the entry to Arches, thinking, “Now is our window of weather.” Tom agrees. Ryan is no where to be found. Thought he was behind, but ole lead foot must have passed us. And a good thing. This window of weather turned out to be pretty small and we would have gotten clobbered. He saved us and himself from a soaking. Off to a diner where we shared, maps, stories and beta, while the heavens let loose a deluge. The street drains and curbs ran mini floods down the street, while the very happy waitresses continually refilled Tom’s coffee cup. Then around noon, it let up. We looked at each other, that stupid smile again and off we went to the park. The destination for the day was the Upper Courthouse, a 1/2 day mesa top hike, with awesome views and surprising little hidden corners and climbs.

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    A minute before we got to the gulley ahead, a pretty good sized rockfall occurred right where we were about to pass
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    Ram leading the way to Arches in the rain.

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    Yeah, let’s hike around in the rain! Okay.

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    Yet another gloomy day in the desert. A view from high above Park Avenue.

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    To the fins!! Ram ‘n Ryan hike up onto a fin.

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    Slickrock plain with a lot of chert or something. Once this approach was beta'd ALL the chert was gone in just a few years. Shame on us

    On approach to the class 4 entry gully, in the rain, a rockfall occurs 100 feet ahead of us, smashing into the boulders, right where we would have been 2 minutes later. A gentle spot, before any tech work, helmets in our packs. A bit of different timing and who knows…sobering. True it was raining. Spring is also a time where things fall more often, but one of those random events in life. You have to be a little lucky to get thru this world, and that goes for everyone, anywhere, anytime. Tom and I smile, the nervous smile. Ryan looks shocked. “Haven’t you seen that happen before, we ask? No falling stuff stories?” “NO!!!” he says quite clearly. So we regale him with the tales of gravity, as seen from our longer and more seasoned stay on the planet.


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    Slipping in a picture of Tom

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    Bit of lunch in a small alcove, as the skies start to clear.

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    Sunbeams, fins, really big canyons.

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    The view across Park Avenue, as the sun comes out!

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    Amazing views as the weather improves.

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    An interesting tower, off the side of Park Avenue


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    Pothole that holds water and life pretty much year around


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    Hero Shot. C’mon Ryan, out a little further.

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    Up we go to the mesa top and the skies clear. The views are awesome, the knife edge fun, the trundle….no, that wouldn’t be right. Hee, hee. Feeling quite pleased with ourselves, for lucking into the right timing, we spend a delightful afternoon, swallowing a roll of film each. Out to a few new corners of the world, we go. The sky is getting grayer. We know if we squeeze these extra explorations in, we may get hit again, but we go anyway. On the sprint home and down the gully, the rain comes again. A light to moderate affair, it matches the rain on approach. A magic weather window sandwich on lite rain bread. Very happy are we.

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    The Three Gossips and the Tower of Babel

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    Out at the End of the World

    Damn, I am getting soft. Those motel prices in the off season, when the weather is wet, a room for 2 for $32 with tax, just seems so attractive. In November, I could claim that everyone else was inside, so why stay out alone? This time Ryan plans to camp. My shelter is soaked. The forecast stinks, the ground is saturated and I am sure I could come up with more excuses if I had to, but what the hay, I am gettin lazy and soft. Tom and I would share a room and sling wet tarps and tents from every angle and nook and cranny. We would chat and read and dry gear and I must admit, I enjoyed it. Until the next AM, when Ryan informs us that it stayed dry overnight and that the winds blew everything dry. Regret….You have no idea how much flack my friends will send down the pike to “The New Indoor Ram.” Ryan called his girlfriend who came up with the trips best line and I quote..”You stayed out, they stayed in..You won..can you come home now?” No, I say no! With canyons flooding around the state, we were ideally placed by the Arches playground. Arches had been our awful weather fall back position from the start, of each FreezeFest. Time to pull out those old dusty, off trail, fin scrambling, chimney stemmin, secret around the next corner, Arches classics from my youth. There is always a place to be. The best was yet to come….

    (
  5. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    I believe that's actually Mt Pennell. Mount Holmes is actually a much rockier and more rugged peak.

    ‘Christmas in Choprock!’ It sounds like a TV special, doesn’t it? The canyon has an older name ... Kaleidoscope.

    For those interested, the name Choprock is actually much, much older than Kaleidoscope. The name Choprock dates back to the 1920's, though there are several forks of the canyon. The non technical section of the canyon is mentioned (with the name Choprock) in two guidebooks dating back to 1978 and 1983 as well. Of course it could be successfully argued that all of the separate forks are separate canyons.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  6. Ram

    Ram

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    Pennell inserted, Holmes removed. Thanks for the correction...

    ...As far as the name of the canyon.......I have NEVER seen a USGA map refer to the system by that name. In fact it appears to be unnamed, as is Neon/Edge of the Earth system. Common use and guidebook use, yes. I HAVE seen Choprock Bench on USGA maps. Names are helpful and guidebooks often lead the way. If the canyon was used in guidebooks in 78 and 84, the east or south fork got a name in 81. Kaleidoscope. The name was kept secret and a case for forfeiting naming rights due to not putting the name out there is valid. But also, we have seen canyon names change, when the public likes a new name better. Eye of the Needle is an example. Poe is another example. Regardless who called the canyon what and when, I am advocating Kaleidoscope, due to the eloquence of the name and its wonderful descriptiveness of the experience of descent. In that light, I am changing the name of the story from Christmas in Choprock, which I thought was catchy, to The Crystal Kaleidoscope. As always, the public will have the final say.
    :tongue::moses::banghead::rolleyes::help:
  7. Chris Hood

    Chris Hood

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    Excellent collection of shots, Ram. I was hoping someone would in some venue, post shots of the South Fork. Very alluring!
  8. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    (moved)
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
  9. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    USGS... please. First Director: Clarence King. Second Director: John W Powell! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Geological_Survey

    "Choprock" is not so good as a name, because there are quite a few forks of Choprock, and this is a specific fork. Chopslot is perhaps better this way but never caught on. I think morphing to Kaleidoscope is a grand idea, even though the K-word is hard to spell.

    While we're at it:::

    South Fork Ticaboo is an awful name for this other canyon. There are many forks of the South Fork of Ticaboo Creek, and this is not even the primary one, the one marked "South Fork" on the map. But there is a named feature specific to THIS CANYON only - Ticaboo Shelf Spring. I will call it Ticaboo Shelf Spring Canyon when I get a chance.

    Tom
  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Or, for Kaleidoscope, since all those canyons drain into the Escalante, we could call that the South Fork of the 53rd East Fork of the Escalante. Of course, then the state would re-number the canyons just to mess with us!!!

    T
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  11. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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  12. Ram

    Ram

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    The many faces of FreezeFest..here is the same hike as the one just posted above. Slightly different conditions. Arches Upper Courthouse. This was Christmas Day 2008 at FF VII. This was the first of 5 straight X-mas days (soon to be 6 (?)). To my big surprise there were people all over the park. Mostly families from Utah. It was great to see. We see this every year now, although when we come out the Zion Narrows, we find them quite crowed on X-Mas too. Those folks are almost exclusively of Indian and Asian descent and in big numbers. Buddhists and Hindus taking advantage of less crowds? Don't know but they stay out in the creek, getting their adventure, to the edge of dark and beyond.

    Aaron and I were going to try and get up to Delicate Arch, but there were many people struggling up the trail already. We chose the privacy. On the flats on the way back, I slipped and landed on my knee. Slickrock and snow do not mix and the knee has never been quite the same :grumpy:
    The first pictures are the drive into the park, then playing in the deserted campground at Devil's Garden, then the Upper Courthouse and finish with the drive to Sandthrax the day after Christmas and after a storm took almost all the snow away.

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    Ham Rock
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    sliding, even low angle slopes is often the safest approach. This one just for fun
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    Another slide
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    Hwy 24...total ice
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  13. Brejcha

    Brejcha

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    blue_moon cat. I only have one photo worth keeping from Freezefests.
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  14. Ram

    Ram

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    Just another December 29th at FreezeFest, this one in 2011, at FF X. Very little snow. We wake and drive to the Off Shore Marina on the Ticaboo Road (276). The staff there knows us well and like us, even though we make their bathrooms a mess. Not much traffic that time of year. Picnic tables in the sun to pack up on, a warm store with food, indoor plumbing. The food is mostly Ok to good...but avoid the biscuits and gravy. It has been universally panned. Then car pool out to the Dante's to do the usual double dip. Today it will be a "24." AKA Purgatory-Limbo combo. The air is cold but in the hour drive out there it warms considerably. Jump out and the wind bites on Purgatory Point, but if you head in quickly.....The canyons face south, are mostly dry and you can forget its winter. We finish up, high five and check the clock. The marina closes at 6 PM. IF you can get there in time, they will whip you up a pizza that is darn good and tastes even better for the day you have had. Watch out for those cows on the drive back to Sandtrax Camp.

    Scott, name that peak!...sunrise on the drive
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    Maidenwater area aglow
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    Dropping off the point on the southern option, a tad longer and easier, just for the heck of it
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    The tricky little entry to Purgatory, off of meat. Awkward LAPAR for someone
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    Easy fun movement in this one
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    MikeFest
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    The colorful Catman Do
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    Carol, Come on down, your the next contestant
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    rare Carol picture...she hides from cameras
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    A gentle and colorful slot
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    Ghostmeister Brendan
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    Out thet finales and out of Purgatory
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    Up and over and into Limbo, a downclimbers canyon with a silo to book.
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    easy does it
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    Mike galumping, over the silo. The flake above his left foot and below his left hand is hollow. Beware Back and foot stemmers. Not visible coming in
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    To our knowledge no one has gone down and been able to get up over the tough climb down there. Over the top you go
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    A new slant on things
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    Smiles all around. Stay with me and you get your picture taken
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    An avoidable pothole, half way down the final rap
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  15. Ram

    Ram

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    Black Hole. FreezeFest IX was a snowy, icy affair and stunningly beautiful. I snapped away at all the texture around. Quite memorable. John Diener, Rich Rudow and I fixed lines on the 31st to make the exit the next day possible

    The view from Hite on the 31st
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    Snow pillows
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    The exit, on the way to setting up fixed lines on the 31st
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    John and Rich
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    January 1 on the way to the Hole
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    ready to go
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    The usual suspects
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    If you pull a rock out at the right place.....
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    The wood holds the snow
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    headed home
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    better get cold soon or it will be a pretty ice free Hole. Ice takes a long time to form and a long time to melt
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  16. Bob Wire

    Bob Wire

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    Ram likes this.
  17. Ram

    Ram

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  18. Ram

    Ram

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    Adding this TR to what is become a historical record of FF's past.
    December 27th 2013, FF XII

    The initial trail up to Observation point was icy. Micro spikes were a tremendous help. As we got to higher altitudes, the ice became spotty, as more sun reached the trail and a bit of south exposure mixed in with the prevailing western exposure. The ice is created by hikers on the snowy trail. Once on the top, we encountered patchy Styrofoam like snow and frozen soil in about equal proportions. That snow appeared to be melting during the day and the frozen ground showed evidence of becoming muddy during the middle of the day too and then freezing again overnight. The Death Gully, with its north exposure was snow covered, often a foot or more deep. Not as much snow as anticipated. Another group (of 3?) had been down days before us and their tracks helped in places and hurt in others. On the steeper ground, many of us just dropped to our butts, used poles, axes and arms as rudders and brakes, and slid down the hill. It is hard to fall when you are already on the ground;). One needed to watch for those sharp covered rocks though.:eek:

    I found it more dangerous when the angle eased, as we were forced to our feet and many holes in the unconsolidated sugary snow, made the twisting of and ankle or knee a real possibility. All the way to the raps, the descent took unceasing concentration. We took a lovely break in the snow for hot tea and soups, along with food. It was quite beautiful, the world coated in snow.

    Once at the rap stations, we broke into our roles and moved through the drops with great speed. It actually was the most mentally restful part of the day, as their was little snow to hurt one's self on. below the raps, I was surprised to see the mid canyon section with as much snow as the death gully. I know it is east-west trending and the walls are high, but I thought it would be open enough and lower altitude, that it would be drier. Instead, it required the same vigilance and care as the upper canyon.

    The lower canyon, between the 2 raps had evidence of that much ice had fallen recently. The upper walls were pretty clear for us, but it was obvious that this area was a shooting gallery of ice, fairly recently. Out the bottom and over to Tim and Sue's for lasagna, fresh bread and other delicacies. A lovely day that was quite mentally challenging, as almost every step required care. Very worth it to see this spot on the planet many of us know so well, draped in a blanket of snow.
    Pictures?

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  19. Ram

    Ram

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    I tend to arrive at Sandthrax midday on the 26th. The first 7 years from Colorado, the last 5 from Escalante or Zion, post Christmas Day fun. There have been exceptions. Last year I drove to Red Rocks and joined Aaron and allowed him to drag me up Olive Oil.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/108034287150978265447/OliveOil122613?noredirect=1

    Back at FF VI, I totaled my car on the way up the passes at 2 AM on the 26th, limped, home, rented the LAST SUV left in northern Colorado and came out on the 28th.

    But all things being even, I like to arrive at Sandthrax by 12PM to 2 PM and do a short canyon in the afternoon...(Hint, hint I plan to do it again this year? Interested? adkramoo at aol dot com). As often as not, the canyon is Shamrock, the west fork of Leprechaun. It is dry most of the time, has half a dozen different little downclimbs and i tend to come off the experience having warmed up the old joints, ready for the next day.

    So it was for FreezeFest XI. I met Matt Williams in the afternoon (Matt was it planned or random meet up?) and we ran a Shamrock. Others arrived while we were out and the early birds of FFXI did Trail the next day.

    Driving by Goblin Valley. As is so often the case, the conditions improved dramatically once in North wash
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    What type of clouds are those called again?
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    looking toward the Butlers
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    Lots of Graffiti in this system:furious:
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    Matt
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    Nice walls
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    back in camp
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    I won't lie. The mornings can be tough
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    Seemingly homeless
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    The approach to Trail
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    near the head of the canyon
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    M & M
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    At the head
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    HELP. I really enjoyed this fella who showed up knowing no one and had a great time. Is from Utah. Anyone know his name?
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    Now we are in it
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    three FF's earlier, this spot had 10 feet of drifted snow
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    Snow, rock and ice all had layer of sand on it. A lot of sand. Indication of a recent "wind event."
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    See? Its not so bad!:p
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    Up high for the final section this time
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    Easy does it
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  20. Ram

    Ram

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    December 27th 2009, FFVIII
    So its my first day REALLY in a narrow canyon that is filled with snow. Had done plenty of slickrock/snow hiking, but slot? We go for Shimrock AKA Middle Leprechaun. Others lead out and I follow. They dig through a drift or two then I slip to the lead. Even filled with snow, the canyon is familiar. A stop. Something just doesn't feel right. I try to figure it out. The canyon ahead looks filled with snow, but an easy level "U" shaped corridor is right ahead. Something is not right. Then it comes to me. I could swear that the canyon dives down right here. No evidence of that. I edge over, probe with an unweighted foot and....YUP! The foot pokes through and there is the 15 foot drop, totally concealed by the snow that had drifted in over the hole. But for me being in front and remembering the place and listening to my spidey sense....someone would have gotten hurt. All in our first 20 minutes in a snowy slot. Lesson learned. Ironically, I have not encountered the exact conditions to create a "trap door" drop quite like that one again. But be warned. They can be out there. We did East Lep in the afternoon, as the snow was so beautiful

    The shuttle up to the top offers views
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    Wind + snow = Art
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    Aaron spots Dan
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    Bruce from Bryce

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    Dan says "Holy Crap!" or like that
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    Aaron in the tunnel
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    Snow plastering on the walls
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    A doing the snow thing
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    Winter light
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    What is this fellas name?
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    More great light
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    [​IMG]

    Out the bottom
    [​IMG]

    Nice ice
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    More plastering
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    [​IMG]

    What animal ?
    [​IMG]

    In East Lep now
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    just so cool
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    [​IMG]