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Trans Zion Canyoneering (Icebox, Behunin, Jolley)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by hlscowboy, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. hlscowboy

    hlscowboy

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Cedar City, UT
    I've wanted to do the Trans Zion Trek for some time and decided this was the year. My daughter had a small break before she headed to Alaska to work and wanted to come along, but as she loves canyoneering she also wanted to do some canyons, so we decided to combine the two.

    We left Monday morning early from Lee's Pass at 6 am then bushwhacked our way over to Icebox Canyon. It is definitely a slog getting through the brush and trees then up the slope, especially with packs loaded for 5 days, but the views from the top were worth it!

    Descending into Icebox we did the two optional raps as the heavier packs made it harder to navigate the steep slope. Once down in the canyon it was slow going as we bouldered and bushwhacked our way down. At this point, I was dubious about Icebox's quality, but the narrows section made the earlier slog to get there worth it. Water was running less than a quarter mile from the drop in and was cold but not frigid. The swims felt refreshing given the heat of the day.

    Unfortunately, the third member of our party tweaked her ankle jumping off a boulder in the first part of the canyon. She was able to walk well enough, but it slowed us down considerably. I transferred as much weight from her pack to mine, and then ended up carrying her pack in my hands down most of the canyon, but we still were moving through the canyon much slower than normal. By the time we hit area for the bypass around the waterfalls it was dark. Even though we had flashlights and GPS, we missed the cairn marking the bypass trail and ended up on the ridge leading down to the rap over the second waterfall. At this point we decided the safest option was to bivy for the night on a ledge on that ridge. It was shaped such that it felt like you were sitting in a reclining chair and actually quite comfortable once we were in our sleeping bags. We used webbing around a large boulder above us as an anchor and tied ourselves in just to be sure no one slid down the ledge during the night.

    At dawn we continued down the rap and through the canyon, still moving quite slowly through the bouldering section, finally reaching LaVerkin Creek around noon. There, the third party decided to retreat back to the car at Lee's pass, while daughter and I continued on. We were obviously, well behind schedule and so we kicked it in high gear and covered as much ground as possible, putting in 10 miles that day and just under 17 miles the next through Hop Valley and then over to and across the West Rim Trail.

    The next day we descended Behunin Canyon. It felt like a cake walk after Icebox and the long miles of backpacking and was a welcome and refreshing change of pace. We took our time and really enjoyed it. I particularly thought the big walls on both sides of the canyon at the last rap were picturesque. Unfortunately, I have no photos of Behunin as the phone/camara/gps device got cold enough on night two that I lost nearly half the battery life, so I ended up shutting it off to conserve the last bit of juice in the event of an emergency, using our map and written beta instead from that point on.

    From there, we hiked up down to the Grotto, caught the shuttle to Weeping Rock (purists be damned!) and hiked up to and then across the East Rim Trail. We found a great camping spot in a stand of pine trees just above Stave Spring and enjoyed watching the sun set as we fell asleep.

    Friday, all that was left was a short 3 mile jaunt and then down Jolley Gulch. Water was running through the rappel section and was absolutely frigid! Waiting while my daughter descended Rap 3 was by far the coldest I felt the entire trip, though nothing too horrible. I thought the rappeling section of Jolley was the prettiest part of any of the three canyons we had done. As close as we were to the end, I probably should have just turned on the phone and taken some pics, but I just didn't think about it.

    Jolley ends all too soon, but for us it was the perfect end to a long trip. We nearly skipped our way down to the exit vehicle, reaching it by noon and were home an hour and half later.

    Overall, it was a fun and unique trip. The 42 miles of hiking and 3000'+ of elevation gain with canyoneering gear to boot taught me a lot about myself. The scenery was amazing and the company, superb. Overall, a wonderful adventure.

    Apologies in advance for the poor quality of the photos. The lens cover on the protective case on my camera, scratched somehow and I didn't realize it until after the trip began.
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    ratagonia, Ram, Matt Snow and 6 others like this.
  2. dakotabelliston

    dakotabelliston Living life to it's fullest

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    Location:
    Spanish Fork, UT
    Now we just need you to bring portsble power so we can come along through pictures

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    hlscowboy likes this.
  3. hlscowboy

    hlscowboy

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    Location:
    Cedar City, UT
    I did bring a portable phone charger that my wife had, but it only gave me about 10 percent juice instead of the 80% I had estimated. I think it is just old and needs to be replaced. From here on out I'm bringing along the trusty waterproof camera. The few extra ounces are a small price to pay for preserving the memories!
    dakotabelliston likes this.
  4. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    Location:
    La Verkin
    You found the Jolley flute to be more scenic than the painted wall above the Icebox falls?

    DSC01272.JPG
    Ram and hlscowboy like this.
  5. hlscowboy

    hlscowboy

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    Location:
    Cedar City, UT
    Well, there's no accounting for taste! I just really enjoyed looking up canyon and seeing all the swirls of rock combined with the narrowness of the canyon. I have always had more of an affinity for that type of rock formations. But to be honest, given the previous night, I was more focused on getting our third out of the canyon and wasn't paying nearly enough attention to the scenery. Clearly, I'll need to do it again to more fully appreciate it all! :)
  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Sweet!!
    hlscowboy likes this.
  7. LonePeak

    LonePeak

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    Glad your trip generally worked out and that you had such a good time with your daughter. It sounded quite strenuous with full backpacking gear. I'll have to check out Jolley's flute sometime.
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