Friday, December 23, 2005


Neon Canyon

For the first day of our Escalante adventure, we headed down Fence Canyon and set up base camp next to the river. After a "good" nights sleep, we were up early and on our way to Neon Canyon. This trip we would climb higher than the average adventurer to check out some of the upper portions of the canyon. The upper portions proved to be very fun, well worth the extra effort to get there.

We started early, but not before dawn, We took one last look at camp before heading across the river and toward the canyon.


Once again I've deleted my old TR and just have a link to the photos. Neon is one of the best canyons in Utah, but unfortunantly gets blown away by Choprock on the day after. My favorite Canyoneering trip of all time is a trip down Neon and Choprock!




Das Boot

Alright, this will be the easiest trip report I've ever written, because I didn't have to write it.  Tom Jones put a photo TR from Das Boot and the Subway on his latest rave site, so I am just going to link from here to his.  Enjoy:

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


The South Fork of Choprock Canyon

We woke up around 5:30, and got around a 6:30 am start. After missing the real turn off from the river, we found a route up the cliffs from the head of Choprock Canyon then backtracked a little to get back on course. It wasn't long before we reached the top of the plateau and were looking down into the canyon we were about to descend.

The view from the rim.

Ben and Josh along the rim.

Josh checkin out the slot.

The canyon wasted no time, after dropping in we found it narrow and steep right off the bat. We decided to throw on the wetsuits at the first sign of water to make sure our clothes stayed dry. While we were stopped, we figured we might as well eat our first lunch too.

Ben (back) and Me (front) downclimbing just after dropping into the canyon.

Ben led, and we followed.

The first swim of the day into a nice open area.

Soon after this open area, the canyon slotted up again

then the bottom dropped out. Time for rappel number 1

Josh rapping.

Ben coming down.

After Ben reached the bottom, he realized he forgot to unhook his safety biner at the top. Oops, it happens to us all. A quick trip back up the rope,

the biner was let loose and we were back on track. From this spot, the canyon takes a sharp turn to the right and it's serious, narrow nature changes to a pleasant wooded hike down a beautiful open canyon. This is what "Ram" and Tom Jones refer to as the Riparian Section.

Lots of green.

Bushwhacking through the brush.

Talk about beautiful!

A giant boulder pile.

Looking back at the boulder pile.

After climbing down the giant boulder pile, the vegetation started to get less dense. The floor of the canyon transitioned from sand to rock, and water started seeping out of the surrounding cliffs to the point that a very small stream started flowing through the canyon.

A bend in the canyon.

Entering the Subway-like narrows.

Just as we entered what "Ram" and Tom call the Happy Section, we stopped and had a power bar in the subway narrows. It was really a beautiful spot. If this canyon wasn't so hard to access and difficult to get through, this spot would be on all the Grand Staircase National Monument pamphlets (or is it in Glenn Canyon National Recreation Area?). It's up there with the best of the Escalante canyons as far as scenery goes.

The Subway section lasted for a bit, then it started to get narrow again. Lots of swimming and scooting made for some really fun times.

After swimming and squeezing we came to the next rappel.

Josh rappelling near the end of the Happy Section.

After this rappel, the canyon took a sharp turn to the left and really slotted up. It would be tight narrows from here on out.

What an awesome place!

Lots of really fun downclimbs would drop us into long deep pools. Some swims were more than 100 yards through twisting tight narrows. And did I mention how beautiful this place is?

After this swim marked the end of the Happy Section (or did it end before this swim. I don't remember) Time for what "Ram" and Tom call, The Grim Section. The canyon really got narrow, and had lots of log jams. One tumbled down on top of my head. Good thing I had the helmet on.

Josh downclimbing through this hole in the log jam.

The canyon didn't have a lot of rappels (like most Utah canyons outside of Zion) but had lots of narrow slots we would elevator down, like the one in the next picture.

Ben preparing to elevator down to the water in the slot below. Josh just behind.

Working our way to the end.

Another small narrow subway section.

Deep narrows.

One point in the canyon we ran into a long narrow drop into a long swimming corridor. It looked like a tough downclimb, but most likely do-able. How did we end up getting down? Ben found a really cool alternate route. If you're ever there, look around there might be an easier way, not obvious at first.

Me standing over thirty feet above the swimming chamber we need to get down to.

After a long day full of lots of downclimbing and tons of fun, we reached the end and the final 80 ft free rappel into a beautiful grotto.

Josh on the final rappel.

Ben on rappel.

Ben from below.

Me on Rappel

Time for the hike back to camp.

Tall cottonwood on the hike out.

After reaching the river, we decided instead of walking back to camp, to hold on to our packs and float. It was great fun, and a great end to an awesome day!

Josh floating the Escalante River.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Monkey Business

And now for Day three of our mini fest. For this day Troy, Ryan, and Ryan came down and we decided to do Monkey Business, or as Kelsey calls it, the West Fork of Butler Canyon's West Fork.

We left Sandthrax around 9:00ish (maybe more like 10:00? I can't remember). Before heading up the dirt road we took the morning trip to the pit toilets at Hog Spring, then it was off to the canyon. It's always nice to do canyons you can pretty much drive right to the head of. This was one of those. From where we parked the car, you could see the slot to the east of the road winding through the slick rock. It was a short walk across the desert to the head of the slot. One of the first things we noticed was that there were voices coming from the canyon below. We also saw a group of what looked like 4 or so women heading down the canyon ahead of us. We decided to take our time getting ready, in order to give us a little distance from this group.

Edit: From there we went down the canyon, had a great time, and all you really care about is the pics right? The site that used to host my photos is no more and it's just too much work to fix all the pages on my blog so I am just adding a link to the photos that used to be here over on picasa. Enjoy:



Sunday, December 11, 2005


White Canyon's Black Hole, Day 2 - October 2005

Day two of our little mini fest we were going to head down either Trail, one of the Maidenwaters, or even Shenanigans? We hadn't really decided. Ben had an idea to attempt the black hole in order to mix things up a little. Rather than do another arm scraping stemming canyon, why not do a deep, long, swimming canyon? We all decided it sounded like a good idea, pulled out our wetsuits and headed to the canyon.

Once we reached the trail-head, we were greeted by pictures of the black hole when Ram and crew did it on New Years Day finding it clogged with logs through much of its length. We also found a reassuring sign obviously designed to give us nice warm fuzzies about our decision to descend the canyon.

Edit: Things got a little intense but never too bad. We ran into one log jam we thought we would have to climb over (sounds dangerous) but Ben found a pitch black passage underneath, it was super cool and we were so relieved to not have to climb over the unstable logs. Here is a link to the photos of one of my most memorable canyon days!



Saturday, December 10, 2005


Hog 1 and 2 Canyons (Day 1)

Back in the spring, Ben signed up to go to one of Tom Jones' canyoneering festivals in the San Rafael Swell. He was one of the only young guys in the group so we decided to have our own little fest of young guys. We put out the invite but didn't really get any takers so it ended up being the same crew as usual. Ben, Josh and Me for the first two days, then Troy and Ryan (he also brought his friend Ryan #2)for the Saturday of the trip.

Day one we decided to descend Boss Hog and it's next door neighbor we call Hog 2. Hog 2 was first on the agenda, we had a little info about the canyon but wanted to keep the beta to a minimum so we really didn't know what to expect. What we got was a good canyon with a few really great, but somewhat short sections. Josh took all the pictures. We kind of started to get in a hurry on our way down Hog 1 (Boss Hog) so there are a lot more photos from Hog 2 then 1.

The day started at the Hog Springs rest stop. We hiked up the canyon, past the grotto below Hog Spring and then started looking for an exit to the rim in order to drop into Hog 2.

Edit: After Hog 2 we headed up and did Hog 1 (Boss Hog) for a great first day. The photos can be viewed by clicking the link below



Thursday, December 08, 2005


Englestead Hollow.

After Ben and I traipsed our way through Heaps unharmed, Troy and Ryan came down to join us for another canyon. Englestead was on the agenda, I had heard good things about the canyon, but wondered how it would compare to other Zion canyons, especially since there were no swims on the list of the canyons commodities. How was it? Pull up a seat and find out.

After the drive along dirt roads, we parked the Sentra as far as I was comfortable driving and started hoofing it to the canyon. All we had with us was Kelsey's obscure directions to find the canyon and ended up dropping in a little too early and getting semi-cliffed out. After some nasty bushwhacking we found a way around the cliffs and down to the head of the drainage. It really is quite a site when you are walking along flat, somewhat forested ground and then out of nowhere this massive sandstone canyon drops300 feet to the ground below. After arriving at the drop in point we met a large group making their way down a rope. We introduced ourselves and worked out a plan to combine both of our 300 ft ropes to make the pull easier when we were finished.

Edit: Sorry to cut this one out as this was a good story, but you all just looked at the pics anyway right? One of the dudes in the group behind us (a noob wearing sandals in the canyon) had a rock fall on his foot, taking one of his toes completly off. Had to be hellicoptered out, too bad he seemed like a really cool kid, he was REALLY excited when we saw him at the beginning. Anyway, here is the link to the pictures:



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