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White Pass

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Barnes, May 20, 2017.

  1. Barnes

    Barnes

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    Just wondering if there is really such a thing as a "White pass" to be able to drive up Zion Canyon before the shuttles begin each morning. I've read several things over the years suggesting to get one if you want to start really early. My group and I want to do the Telephone/Behunin (Telephunin) route in June and want as early of a start as we can. I have looked on the Zion website and other places and cannot find anything about this pass. Does anyone know if this exists and how to get one? Thanks
  2. Taylor

    Taylor

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    Yes. Just ask for it at the wilderness desk.
  3. Natalie

    Natalie

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    My experience was very different than Taylor's. However, this was when I was asking for a pass in case some friends exited Mystery too late to catch the last shuttle back. Perhaps they don't like to issue evening/night passes?
  4. Taylor

    Taylor

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    Sure. The folks at the desk aren't too keen on groups planning to get out of the narrows after dark (canyon fail). At that point, you might as well admit defeat and walk the road to canyon junction or sleep at the Temple. However, if you tell them you will be hitting the trail at 0500 (or earlier) to do Imlay/Heaps/whatever and will be parking at the Grotto, it has been our experience they will issue a parking pass.
  5. Natalie

    Natalie

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    That's really good to know. I probably should have emphasized to them that the group had indeed left super early and this was merely a backup plan. It was right after that guy posted his trip report about exiting Mystery at 2am, so I might have been a bit overly concerned :)
  6. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    My experience: for a canyon that has traditionally been done as an overnight (e.g. Heaps, Imlay) then you have a decent chance of getting a White Pass for a planned one-day descent. If you simply want to get an early start on a canyon that normally takes a day, obtaining a White Pass is unlikely.
    Rapterman and ratagonia like this.
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    This year in particular, you need to make a really good case that you NEED the special privilege of a White Pass. "Needing" an early start for Telephunin is not a good case. Catch the first bus, bust it out. No problem.

    Tom
  8. Barnes

    Barnes

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    Well I've emailed the park and stated my case so we shall see. I have capable yet slow people in the group. I think if we don't get a pass we will have to cut out a canyon. Or I will just need to crack the whip on some guys to really get them moving.
  9. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    I doubt you will get an email back in any reasonable time frame or get an answer via email. I've only gotten one in person at the desk and all times have been for imlay and heaps
  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I too doubt that email is a viable method for this conversation.

    "Capable yet slow people" and a 20 rappel day do not tend to go together.

    Tom
  11. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    Alternatively, you could drive to Lava Point and hike the West Rim to Telephone. It's 8 miles with a net loss of 700', vs from the Grotto which about 5 miles with a net gain of 2500'. If your group tends to be on the slow side, the extra 3 miles would make up for that elevation exchange; and you can get as early a start as you like, provided you have a shuttle available.

    To which, if you don't have a shuttle car, but want this option, hit me up and I can probably help you guys out.
    dakotabelliston and ratagonia like this.
  12. Barnes

    Barnes

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    This is the type of thing that makes me not like Zion. Its my favorite place on the world but it's so difficult to get the needed permits and permissions to make a trip enjoyable. If I lived right down there near the park it wouldn't be so bad, then I can drive over and work things out. I live 4 hrs away so over the phone communication and email are the only things I have. I chose email since I've only had them answer the phone once in 5 years and never a call back. And as speaking about the "slow group" we all are skilled but only are able to do this once or twice a year, so we aren't in fantastic canyoneering shape like some of you guys. If it all comes down to it we just won't do both. Since we don't get to do it often we try to maximize every second we have. If anyone knows any better way to get a hold of them then please let me know. I understand if they don't want to to issue me a pass but I need to know so I can plan accordingly.
    Chris Harmon and Tom Collins like this.
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Congress sets the budget for the NPS, and micro-manages things in other ways. So the Park is ALWAYS under-staffed, particularly this year and last, when visitation increased considerably while staffing stayed constant. Jus' sayin' - it is not deliberate, they are doing the best they can with the resources provided.

    Tom
  14. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    It's been about 2-3 years since I've done the telephunin route, so it might be harder to get the white pass as Tom J says, but I've never failed to get one for that route. Just be polite when you ask at the desk, stress the fact that the route is very long and be prepared to only do one canyon if you don't get it. Even if you don't get the White pass I'd still get the double permit since it doesn't cost any more to combine them, get on the first shuttle and start your hike up. If it looks like you're moving too slow then just drop in whichever one you want to do more and skip the other one. That or take up @Yellow Dart on his offer, it sounds like a good one.

    P.S. oh and don't mention lack of skills or speed as a reason, that tends to sour the rangers opinion of your group and they will be less likely to help you.
    Rapterman likes this.
  15. Barnes

    Barnes

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I have figured I'll just plan to be open to whatever happens. My main problem is we won't be able to get to Zion till late the night before we do the canyons so we have an Express pass to print out the permits as to avoid the desk all together. That way we can get a good early start. So I'm trying to get a hold of them by phone and hopefully they will help me out. If not we will just Keep On Keepin On with whatever we can figure out
  16. trackrunner

    trackrunner

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    The white pass is not a express permit print at home option. You have to ask in person. you have to plan your trip in advance to get the pass the day in advance.

    A few years back I asked for one and two groups where rescued from the canyon the prior days because of difficult conditions. It gave them an opportunity to make sure I wasn't going to be the third group needing rescue.

    With your travel schedule you may need to catch the first bus or take the shuttle offer to lava point.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  17. Barnes

    Barnes

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    I have always understood that a white pass and an Express pass don't have anything to do with each other. I I only posted this question in the first place because I didn't know anything about the white pass and how I can get one. My hope was to get one issued over email or by other means but if that is indeed not possible I will work with it and perhaps have to get to Zion a half day early.
  18. Barnes

    Barnes

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    I finally got the desk to answer the phone and they said getting the white pass for Telephunin was no big deal. I do need to show up the day before but I can work that out
  19. Phavant

    Phavant

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    Now the interesting twist will be getting the same answer when you get to the desk again!
    yetigonecrazy1 likes this.
  20. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    Yeah. Charming Suri is not easy.
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