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UT: North Wash Woody Canyon 1/15/2018

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Austin Farnworth, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. Austin Farnworth

    Austin Farnworth

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    Location:
    Mapleton, Utah
    LRM_EXPORT_20180115_172814.

    We drove down in the dark and got started hiking at 9:40 am, joining my wife and I on this trip were her two sisters Elsie and Abigail, along with my good friend Jake. It took us about 1 hour to hike down Woodruff Canyon and climb up the rock fins to the rim. As we started off hiking across the fins, I noticed some signs of recent water flow in some of the upper drainages including woodchuck’s. It got me worried that the canyon would be brim full of water and I had decided that we would turn around if that was the case due to our skimpy wet-suits. Luckily for us, when we got to the start of woody it looked dry as far as we could see. I don’t know what all that water in the upper drainages was, maybe melted snow?
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    The first section of potholes had great movement and we avoided getting down into any of them by stemming above and jumping across a few. Following the first line of potholes was a hard right turn with a small drop into a filthy ankle deep pool that we were able to jump clear of. 20180115_110608. LRM_EXPORT_20180115_181307. Our first pothole escape then presented itself and we threw 3 full potshots over the pothole and put on wet-suits. Jake was the first brave one down to check the water depth and it was only knee deep if you were careful. We zip-lined our packs over the water as we would do the rest of the canyon to keep them dry and we all made it across the first pothole without falling into the deep portion of it. I then skillfully dropped a carabiner into a muddy pothole that we didn’t have to get down into, Elsie volunteered to go get it and we all got a good laugh out of her muddy struggles as she tried to escape the pothole . 20180115_114231.

    We took advantage of Abigail’s 14 year old tiny frame and had her do a pack drag into the next pothole after we had all hand-lined off her. I’m not gonna lie, it is pretty nice to have a small person in the group when getting in and out of potholes! There was some fun semi-keepers in the next section but nothing that required potshots to escape. LRM_EXPORT_20180115_180906. LRM_EXPORT_20180115_181016. We got to the only mandatory rappel and used a slung arch 20ft back from edge and had a clean and easy pull, no ibis hook needed! Following the rappel was a really cool pothole challenge that involved two back to back with a 15 ft tall hump between them. There was a hole connecting both potholes just above the water level that we hoped we could walk through, not swim through. I managed to stem over the first pothole to the hump between them and tossed potshots across the next pothole. I landed one good shot, one okay shot and one bad one right on the rim, but it held a few good pulls of the rope. My wife Olivia rappelled into the first pothole and discovered that the water was only knee deep. She was able to crouch through the hole between the potholes and ascend out of the other side. The other members of the group followed suit and crouched through the hole, though they climbed out hand over hand instead of ascending. 20180115_123242.
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    We soon came upon the so called “Monster Keeper” and realized why it has its name. It was at least a 25-30 ft shot you would have to make in order to land a potshot across the pothole. The water level was low enough that you couldn't climb out from the swim leaving potshots as the only option. I made some throws with half the potshot full of sand and only managed to land one shot on the lip of the pothole. Olivia got down into the pothole and quickly determined that it was a swimmer and not possible to escape from the water level. I had read Ryan Cornia’s beta on the possible exposed climb around on the left and we sent sketchy Jake up the slab to see if it would go. Jake loves a good heady slab climb and made it up with a little bit of a partner assist. Jake dropped the rope to us and we all climbed up and around the monster keeper, sliding back down into the canyon further down canyon from the pothole. LRM_EXPORT_20180115_173723.

    The keeper pothole challenges were now over and we enjoyed the neat last section of the canyon. The final down-climb was really neat and deposited us in a cool boulder strewn section of canyon with high streaked walls. We changed out of our mostly dry wet-suits and hiked out of the canyon and back up Woodruff Canyon, completing the canyon car to car in 5 hours with a group of 5 people. 20180115_133725.
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    Woody was a short but fantastic canyon that gave us the challenge we needed. It taught me quite a bit about pothole escapes and how not to do them. I look forward to returning to Woody canyon again this upcoming spring and doing the pothole fork along with woodchuck. Woody has easy access right from the paved road so I’m sure this will be a canyon I will repeat quite a few times in the future. LRM_EXPORT_20180115_172814.

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  2. Ram

    Ram

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    Wonderful. Woody is such an engaging little canyon. It promotes teamwork, perhaps the best part of the sport. The problem solving is a joy. And to do it in January only adds to the fun! Goon on ya. Good on ya all! Thanks for sharing.

    It was good to meet you, even though it was just for a minute, on New Year's Day, at the Black Hole trail head. How did your trip through go? It was driest and perhaps easiest January 1 hole yet. Next time, come share the camp with us.
    Cheers
    R
  3. Austin Farnworth

    Austin Farnworth

    Messages:
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    Likes:
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    Location:
    Mapleton, Utah
    We ended up getting way ahead in the black hole and got done with it pretty quick. The wetsuit I brought was a crazy tight 7mm and it was a quite painful but warm experience going through the black hole. I wanted to get that thing off as fast as possible so we rushed the whole canyon. Next time I'll bring less neoprene and stick with the main group because it was awesome meeting new people!

    The canyon had changed quite a bit since I did it last June and I was surprised to see that the keeper had been filled up completely with rocks and sand. There was also a new log jam and some changes in pool lengths.

    I'll have to come down the night before we do the black hole next year so I can join in the festivities! I really enjoy getting together with other canyoneers.

    Sent from my SM-G920T using Tapatalk
    Ram likes this.
  4. Ram

    Ram

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    It is the norm to be spread out in the Hole. What was unusual is that the tail end got thru in 5 hours. It almost always takes 4 hours for the front and 6 hours for the tail to get thru. Another indicator that the canyon was in especially friendly conditions.

    The TIGHT 7mm, one piece wet suit has many stories over the years. Tales of overheating, restricted movement, leg cramps, extremity swelling, even among strong and fit folks. Bet that suit gathers dust now, unless you surf the Pacific or are a diver ;-D

    With the Hole, change is a constant. It is a huge system, gets massive floods and is literally a conveyor belt of gravel and rocks. Petrified wood too. Fill and scour, scour and fill, sometimes both in the same event. Some areas seem to be filled to a certain level regardless of whether its filled with water to swim or gravel. The high log jams have great effect on the pools too, almost like a see-saw. This time, the next to last, long pool was gone. But then again, those last two pools (or the one still there) were (re)born in 2003. Lots of dynamics there, all happening in different time spans, that no one really understands. According to some of the old timers, the canyon had a drier spell from the 1920's to a major scour event in the mid to late 1950's. Great and epic TR from the folks who discovered the change. I read it once. Canyons are like a box of chocolates.......you never know what you are gonna get. '-D

    See you around the fire next year, if not sooner.
    R
    Tom Collins and Austin Farnworth like this.
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