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The Great White Icicle: our other first class C canyon

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Tricam, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. Tricam

    Tricam

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    We spent the morning of our last day in Moab climbing "Ancient Art" before making the long drive to Ogden. My youngest brother had just moved there with his family, so we were going to spend a few days visiting with them before heading back to the desert. My brother had climbed and rappelled when he was younger, but he hadn't done much since starting a family. Now that he lives on the edge of a mountain range, we wanted to make sure he knew that adventure is in his backyard.

    We got our window after lunch one day, when his wife offered to watch the kids for the afternoon so we could take him out. Originally we had planned on taking him rock climbing, but after some research decided that The Great White Icicle would be a more unique adventure. It was close enough to get there for an afternoon outing, it had a short approach, and while it only had five rappels, most of them were quite long - and through waterfalls.

    We rushed to get ready, and within an hour found ourselves starting the approach in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The approach was easy to find and not bad. It was nice when there were rocks, but it got a bit annoying when you had to slosh around in loose dirt. After a bit less than an hour, we found ourselves at the top of the ridge, where we got some great views of the canyon before putting on our gear. I had him use my ATS on an extension, so he could setup his device first, and I could inspect before I headed down below him then provide a fireman's belay. I had forgotten to ask him to grab a helmet at home, so I gave him mine for the day. He doesn't have a wetsuit, so I didn't wear one either for camaraderie, although my wife proved more intelligent and wore hers. It was in the 80s in the valley, and there were only 5 rappels, we could deal with it. :)

    This route is rather well traveled, and we quickly found the first rappel - a slung tree over some low grade slab. This was a great first rappel to make sure he was ok with his setup. I rigged a biner block, then let him get setup before I inspected and rappelled down to the next anchor, which you could see from above. The next anchor was a few slung trees sticking out over a short overhang, which made for a bit of an awkward stance. Once I got stabilized there, I put him on belay, and he slowly made his way down. He rappelled fine, but he had a bit too much friction for the slab. Since the rest of the rappels were going to be steeper, he didn't want to change it. I had him stand next to me, hanging over the edge, and tethered to the anchor, then my wife made her way down.

    The next rappel gets into the real fun. It started with a short, overhung section, before dropping you into the waterfall, where you rappelled for almost 200'. Unlike our previous class C attempt in Pleiades Canyon, this waterfall actually had some good flow. It wasn't crazy, but there was enough current that we would get soaked and have a ton of fun. After inspecting my brother's rig, I started heading down. As soon as I got in the waterfall and it started spraying all over me, I got a huge smile on my face. "This is F-ing awesome!" I shouted up to them. It was also cold. So cold. But there's only 5 rappels, I kept telling myself. I worked my way down the face following the flow of the waterfall. The slick algae and flowing water added a nice challenge to these rappels. I eventually found a pair of bolts on a small slanted ledge RDC. I tethered in and shouted up for my brother to start. He slowly made his way down, but he did a good job keeping smooth and was able to remain under control. My wife followed and loved the waterfall.

    The third rappel continued down the waterfall before you ended up on a large flat ledge. Almost. My rope didn't quite make it to the ledge, so when I got the the bottom, I extended the rope by tying a pair of double length slings to the end and anchoring myself to the end of them. This would allow me to belay my brother down, then have him tether to the slings while he walked the last little bit to the flat ledge. Once I had this setup and found a reasonable stance, I shouted up for him to start. He slipped and lost his footing at one spot and took a bit of a spill, but he did a great job of never letting go of the rope. Despite being soaked, he was grinning ear to ear when he got to me. I helped him get off rope and onto the flat ledge, where we found a pair of bolts a bit up canyon, so I took the slings off the rope and directed my wife to finish there.

    We enjoyed the views from the ledge for a bit before taking the next rappel, which bypassed the waterfall for about 150' down a steep granite slab before merging back into the waterfall for the final 50' or so to another flat ledge. The slabby section was a nice break to dry off for a bit. The last section of the waterfall was steeper, awesome, and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

    The end was a bit anti-climatic. After a bit of scrambling down canyon, the last rappel went down a slick, muddy, algae filled face with minimal water flow, which returned us to the base of the route, 10 minutes from the car.

    --

    This route was a great way to spend the day and introduce my brother to something new. He loved it. My family said he was talking about it for weeks.

    Unlike our previous attempt in Pleiades, I think this gave us a light taste of what class C might be like. The water current adds a whole other dimension of challenge and fun, and although we don't have slot canyons here in the East, we have plenty of gorges and waterfalls that I now have motivation to explore for some fun :)
    Kuenn likes this.
  2. Tricam

    Tricam

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    [​IMG]
    My brother on the approach
  3. Tricam

    Tricam

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    [​IMG]
    Getting into the good stuff
    ratagonia likes this.
  4. Tricam

    Tricam

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    [​IMG]
    My wife on the third rappel
    infocus5280 likes this.
  5. Tricam

    Tricam

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    [​IMG]
    Leaving the rest ledge
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  6. Tricam

    Tricam

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    [​IMG]
    A sea of granite
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  7. Tricam

    Tricam

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    [​IMG]
    The last good falls section
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  8. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Awesome...and...right in our back yard!

    Look at those nice fall colors...best time of year in the Wasatch (except deep powder skiing days of course...!).

    You'll have to come back for a winter ascent...

    Its funny...I don't think about the canyoneering options locally especially as the quality of our rock climbing is pretty good. More of a "one and done" kinda thing.

    All kinds of fun trouble here in the Wasatch...next time, give us a shout.

    https://www.climbing.com/photos/kyle-dempster-the-great-white-waterfall/

    [​IMG]
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  9. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    :twothumbs:

    Is that 'wet tooling' ?
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  10. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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  11. Tricam

    Tricam

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    Yeah, I'd imagine... there's some awesome climbing right there. We originally wanted to take him on The Gray Slabs and finish with the gondola ride and beer at the lodge, but the gondola was closed for the summer season. We did get to climb in the Pentapitch area on another day, which was awesome.

    Will do! Him living out there is a great excuse for another trip. I've been there for skiing before, but this was the first time not in winter. Crazy amounts of fun there year round!
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  12. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Gray Slabs...wow...I'm pretty Salt Lake centric...not on my radar but I think some O-town friends have done that one. Jimmy G route. Prolific feller!

    Its a great area. Gobs of classics.

    Crazy to think the scheduled opening day for a couple of ski areas is only two weeks from tomorrow...WROD! (White ribbon of death).

    Post up a couple pics from Ancient Art! Fun route with some amazing exposure.

    Sounds like you guys had a great trip!
    Tricam likes this.
  13. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I've done it both ways. It's definitely better in Winter.
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  14. Tricam

    Tricam

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    We were debating between Ancient Art and Castleton Tower for our last day, but glad we picked Ancient Art.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  15. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Tower climbing is maybe the COOLEST experience ever!
    As long as really windy days are avoided

    And earthquakes....
    :D
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  16. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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  17. Tricam

    Tricam

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    Yeah! I didn't expect it to be so awesome, but we loved it.
  18. PutUpYourDux

    PutUpYourDux

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    Bangarang, dude. Good stuff all around. That sidewalk and diving board area on AA is one of the coolest places ever. I'll have to check out The Great White Icicle sometime!
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