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News Zion MIA Exit - messed up

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I visited my favorite (?) uphill training program this past weekend, and I gotta say, the MIA Exit is in very bad shape.

    The upper half specifically has cut through the topsoil and is now into steep soft fine sand, that is like going steeply uphill in powder snow. For a couple hundred feet. This seems to be a result of A. lack of rain for 4 months combined with B. considerable traffic.

    The very top pitch up the road is also considerably worse than it has been in the last 10 years. We left a 120' Canyon Fire as a fixed rope to that... and yes, I am usually very negative on fixed ropes, but this one seems like quite a good idea.

    Tom
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  2. Jman

    Jman

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    Granted the MIA exit is on private property, but just wondering what thoughts anyone has if there was a service project to be done through CAC or good-willed canyoneers (with coordination through the church and Mr. Featherstone, of course) if that trail could be improved?

    By "improved" I mean installing an escalator or some sort of tram to the top. Darn, almost got ya.

    But like you said, the trail continues to deteriorate through more usage, lack of rain, etc. so my idea to implement is what if some sort of log steps were to be installed in the worst sections? I'd be interested to know if others think that would be a good idea too?

    Sure, ghosting, leave no trace...blah blah blah.. but this is different. This is the "best" spot to escape Kolob Creek, so why not have an improved trail here?

    And if that was coordinated through a concerted effort like CAC for example, that could be a step in a positive direction, provide a better communication link between canyoneers and the church and access to Kolob Creek for years to come. But that just may be my wishful thinking.

    Anyway, something like pictured below:

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  3. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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    I like the idea of improving the trail in theory and would be happy to give a hand. I'm of the opinion that using logs and rebar and what not to improve the MIA would not only be incredibly time consuming and difficult but also not very sustainable. I think that it would just wash out in a few years for the same reasons the trail is deteriorating now and it's just too steep for such trail building methods in the spots that it is most needed. It would be more like a log ladder. Aside from some minor shovel work here and there, in order to really create an improved trail here, we are talking about an insane amount of digging, gabion cages, deeply rooted steel structure, etc.

    Don't get me wrong Jman I see the light, and maybe I'm taking this to an extreme, but if anything should come to fruition we should do it right the first time around.

    Take for example the Bastille climbers trail in Eldorado Canyon in Colorado, that slope is not as steep nor as long as the MIA, albeit rockier. 4ED4882E-77ED-4F51-9EF0-A3CBB50D7E28.
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  4. Jman

    Jman

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    Good thoughts.

    It may fall apart later on if it is not maintained, sure I get that.

    And yes, it would be a lot of work for some areas. And I don’t think the entire MIA trail needs it but it’s the sections that are eroded quickly.

    Maybe logs aren’t the way, but it’s probably the cheapest solution.

    I’m sure there could be a dozen+ people who would volunteer for the effort but the materials would need to be donated I’m sure.

    It would be a good gesture from the community to suggest something like that to the property owners since we are technically using their land.


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  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Rather than trying to repair and harden the existing trail, a better strategy might be to return to the old trail and add a few hardening elements to make that trail viable again. The "new" trail would be particularly difficult to harden, whereas the old trail had only a few spots that were dicey.

    However, Jman, as foreperson on this project, please be very careful in talking to the Church facilities manager, as it is very clear to me that the simplest solution for the Church would be to prohibit access to this "trail", once they are informed (wrongly) that it is hazardous for people to use it.

    Tom
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  6. Morgan

    Morgan

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    I went up it recently too and agree the sand and dirt (cough) are annoying, but don’t agree that a fixed rope is necessary on the top section, seeing as canyoneering groups carry lots of rope. I could only see problematic if it were raining perhaps. I haven’t checked the language of the agreement but this might violate the contract haha
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Changes occurred on Saturday July 18th and Sunday July 19th that messed up that upper pitch. After a good rain, perhaps it will be back to the status quo.

    Tom
  8. Jman

    Jman

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    Great points Tom.

    I wasn’t aware of this “old trail”, where was that at?


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  9. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Upper Section. You leave the wash bottom and charge up the hill. You are actually charging up the hill about 20 feet left of a small drainage. About 50 feet up the hill, traverse right into the drainage, and more or less follow that quite at least halfway up the upper section.

    To traverse right into the drainage used to require a high-step onto a big rock, off the dirt. The dirt has eroded away such that the high step is now a mantle, if doable. I thought of going that way on Sunday, to see how it looked, but I was not sure I could get back into the drainage traversing higher than the rock.

    I looked at going straight up the drainage to get there, but it involves climbing overhanging large boulders. A ladder would be useful.

    The follow-the-watercourse route is considerably more intricate and varied than the march-straight-up-the-hill route. People really liked the straight-up route when it showed up about 10 years ago. It certainly requires less thinking.

    Tom
  10. Jman

    Jman

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    Interesting. I've looked up that side probably a dozen times but never thought of a trail being up there.

    ......To be continued.....
  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    "up that side" -mmm, yeah-no. Not what I was thinking. If you have The Book, there is a description in there, but it is vague. The current "new" trail essentially climbs straight up the fall line to the base of cliffs, then traverses right to the watercourse with a recent debris flow, crossing that to the upper upper section. All this takes place on the left side of the small watercourse you eventually cross.

    The old trail more or less follows the bottom of the small watercourse, and then joins the upper upper section about 1/4 of the way up the upper upper section. I suspect the old trail is now quite overgrown an indistinct.

    Clear as mud?

    Generally when putting in a trail in difficult terrain, the first task is to thoroughly explore the terrain and figure out natural places to run the trail and how to link the natural places together with minimal heavy construction. That is some challenging terrain in there.

    Tom
  12. Jman

    Jman

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    Clear as mud, indeed.

    I included a picture below from a recent trip looking at the upper half. I drew in RED the path that we have always taken in the path. I assume that is the "new" trail?

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  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Back at ya, with the old route, not like one can navigate from this...

    Upper MIA.
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  14. CRNPRES

    CRNPRES

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    definitely an erosion issue!
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  15. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    I did the route top to bottom in September 1992 so would assume that this was the old trail. Whatever happened to the old trail/route that made it not viable? Did it get washed out in places?
  16. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Scott -

    QUOTE="ratagonia" --- Upper Section. You leave the wash bottom and charge up the hill. You are actually charging up the hill about 20 feet left of a small drainage. About 50 feet up the hill, traverse right into the drainage, and more or less follow that quite a ways, at least halfway up the upper section.

    To traverse right into the drainage used to require a high-step onto a big rock, off the dirt. The dirt has eroded away such that the high step is now a mantle, if doable. I thought of going that way on Sunday, to see how it looked, but I was not sure I could get back into the drainage traversing higher than the rock.

    I looked at going straight up the drainage to get there, but it involves climbing overhanging large boulders. A ladder would be useful.

    The follow-the-watercourse route is considerably more intricate and varied than the march-straight-up-the-hill route. People really liked the straight-up route when it showed up about 10 years ago. It certainly requires less thinking.

    Tom
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