Thursday, January 12, 2006


"My Fault" and "Your Fault" aka Hard Day Harvey and Good Day Jim - Video TR

Ok, I've got a new approach to my TR's here. I recently bought a digital camcorder complete with accidental damage insurance. If I destroy it in a canyon, I take it back and get a new one. Basically I'm planning on using it a few times. I was able to take my new camera down some canyons that drain into Lake Powell last weekend, we've nicknamed them "My Fault" and "Your Fault". The footage turned out very nice and I put together a 13 minute long video set to music for everyone to enjoy. I tried to capture the whole experience which I think can be done much better on video than through still photos. I watched the video and added some comments along the way. I've listed my comments below so for those interested they can follow along as they watch. Just watch the time as the video plays and read my comments when the time on the video matches the time I have listed. You can view the video below, or click the link to view it larger, Enjoy:

00:00 – Name of the two canyons we descended that weekend

00:08 – The view from our camp Saturday morning.

00:23 – After driving around for a while trying to find the right roads, we found the head of the first days canyon. Here we look down as the slot twists its way toward Lake Powell.

00:40 – Nat and Stefan trying to find a route down the upper cliff band to access the Navajo.

00:46 – After finding a slippery slide entrance to get down to the slickrock, it was into the shallow slot we went. What lies ahead?

00:53 – The slot starts right away, like usual it’s not terribly deep at first, but it keeps us entertained with chock stones to crawl under and short drops to downclimb.

01:05 – Nat on one of the first bigger downclimbs where the canyon started to deepen up and get narrow!

01:43 – The canyon had quite a few short sections of very nice convoluted narrows. It wouldn’t get particularly deep until toward the end, but the slot was very beautiful nonetheless.

02:00 – Stefan downclimbing one of the many, many, short drops.

02:19 – a blue alien bug trying to block the lens.

02:44 – This is the only shot of me you get, my legs about 20 feet or so off the deck. Skinny guys probably can fit through everything down low, but I sure would hate to get stuck finding out. We chose to go high for this one.

03:05 – There were a lot of really tight squeezes where we had to take off our packs and wiggle through. Many times the packs were more difficult to get through than ourselves.

03:20 – Crazy how Nat and Stefan could flip into turbo mode every now and then on the downclimbs and rappels. I still don’t get how they do it.

3:29 – The canyon would alternate between narrow and tough, and wide and easy. It seemed to be narrow and tough a lot more than wide and easy though.

04:22 – A nice little bridge we found in a deep section.

04:28 – Some like the action shots, some like the scenic views. I tried to get a little of both when I put the footage together.

04:55 – This is the spot of the first rappel. Nat belayed me down what looked like a downclimb, but ended in a 12 foot open section to the ground. I hung out below this giant chockstone, while Nat and Stefan built an anchor for the rappel.

05:04 – This is the spot I came down; I would have had to downclimb that sheer cliff if I hadn’t been on rope. Good thing we took the side of caution on that one.

05:18 – Nat rappelling down the squeaky rope.

05:25 - Stefan on Rappel #2

05:44 – After the second rappel we hit a deep dark section of slot, I had to turn on my night vision light to get decent shots, hence the green glow to the rock.

06:41 – Are you still reading this and watching? Dude, you must be pretty bored!

07:00 – Finally the canyon widened, we must be done with all the hard stuff… not quite yet. After a few more downclimbs, a semi-tricky pothole and one last rappel, we were back to the land of the living.

07:25 – Ahh, the endless views of slickrock on the hike out, yet another perk of this great sport.

07:54 – After getting to the car just before dark we set up camp and ate delicious burritos courtesy of Nat and Stefan. Mmmm… they were good. After a good nights sleep it was time for day two, a canyon that would prove to have a MUCH different character then yesterdays squeeze and stem.

08:14 – The crux of the canyon was right near the beginning. It was really tough to get in position for a good shot on this one, but there is a pretty nasty keeper pothole at the bottom of this rappel. In order to get around the obstacle, we set one end of the rope to rappel on single strand. The other end was tied off to a potshot hanging over the other side of the pothole. Nat then rappels down one side of the rope, and uses a ledge halfway down the pothole along with the rope tied to the potshot to pull himself out, allowing him to never drop into the bottom of the pothole. It worked out rather well.

09:12 – This canyon had a couple more rappels than yesterdays; here Nat builds a bomber anchor for a series of four potholes. These were much friendlier than the last one, but fun to climb out of still.

10:05 – There they go again with their voodoo magic; you really got to see them do this crap in real life to appreciate it.

10:38 – This was the longest and probably prettiest rappel of the trip, very nice spot.

11:00 – Then we were spoiled with an awesome convoluted twisty narrow section with absolutely perfect lighting.

11:15 – You could go over or under this one, we chose to go under.

11:32 – More twisty curvy narrows.

11:55 – Time for the hike out, this time we decided to take a different approach closer to the lake. The route finding was tricky at times but lots of fun. And the views… too bad the video does them no justice.

12:15 – “Want to go cliff jumping?” Just in case you can’t understand what Stefan is saying as he stands 600 or 700 feet above the lake.

12:57 – You must really be sick if you are still watching. I must really be sick if I’m still writing this. Ok, we’re both sick. Hope you enjoyed it.


FreezeFest 2005 - Video and Trip Report.

Ok, ok Trip Reports might start changing quite a bit here in the future. My photo TR's are in many cases going to be replaced by Video TR's. My first real attempt at this was at Freezefest this year. I borrowed a really crappy digital still camera and used its video feature to get some footage instead of the usual still shots. The results were... alright. The video is only 15 fps (somewhat jumpy) and really low quality. Future videos will be taken with an actual video camcorder, so quality should improve significantly, but for now this will have to do.

For my Trip Report, I will write a few things about the three days I attended FreezeFest. I will include links to Tom Jones' Latest Rave photo TR of the days I was there. To view the video just click on play above or click the link to view the video larger (the quality is really bad so viewing it larger probably won't do you much good).

Day 1 - No Kidding and Right Fork of Leprechaun.

The first day we descended "No Kidding" a short but surprisingly interesting little canyon. We wanted to go in to solve some of the difficult anchoring problems. I mainly went in to observe the masters solve the difficult problems. The canyon proved to be entertaining, but I think would lose quite a bit of its charm if it were bolted, eliminating half the fun, doing things like rappelling off of sandbags etc... A better TR with pictures and examples of how we solved some of the problems can be found on Tom's site here (be sure to look at both "No Kidding" pages):

After No Kidding we decided to make a mad dash to the Right Fork of Leprechaun. I followed Ram and his son Aaron down the canyon. They had descended the canyon many times and seemed to have every move memorized. We downclimbed where most would rappel and we darted where most would stop and stare in amazement, but... it is winter and the days are short, we need to get to camp before dark, so off we go. No video of this because well... I really didn't have time to pull the camera out.

Day 2 - Upper Stair and Left Fork of Leprechaun.

Day two could be titled "Off the deck stemming 101" with our instructors: Ram, Tom, Rob, and Aaron, all masters of the skill. Tim and I were more novices and Ram wanted to make sure we could handle this stuff in a canyon we could easily back out of if we got scared rather than in tomorrows canyon when we would have no choice but to go 30 - 40 feet off the deck if we wanted to make it out without a helicopter ride.

I'll admit being that high off the ground was a little unnerving at first but I got more comfortable with it the more I did it. If I want to do all the good skinny canyons I have to get some experience doing it sometime, might as well be when I'm with guys who have a lot of experience doing it. Stair was a really fun "sport" canyon that proved to pack a lot of punch in its short length. I'd like to continue down canyon and check out the wingate narrows below one of these days. Tom's photo TR of the day is here (notice Tom making fun of my wearing Levi's through the slot. I think they really did help with friction on the rock):

After Stair we headed down the Left Fork of Leprechaun. This time with a little more time to spare so we were able to soak in the canyon a little more than the day before. Belfast Blvd was the highlight, it was mighty dark in there late on a winters afternoon, very nice! No video of this either because of our hasty descent.

Day 3 - Hemlock Canyon

Day three was the big one, we woke up early in order to start the hike before sunrise. We followed Ram up, up, up to snow covered plains surrounded by rocky desert terrain. The sunrise was spectacular and the views amazing, we could tell it was going to be a magical day. The canyon we descended has lots of names, Tom calls it Achilles, I've heard it called Hemlock before, hence the name in my video. The canyon had a little bit of everything, yet didn't remind us of any other canyon we've descended before. The entry rappels were somewhat long and very beautiful. The open sections were snow covered and grand. The tight sections were deep and beautiful. The short high stemming section proved to be easy after our practice in Stair the day before. Partner assists, human anchors, ice breaking, pack zip lines, and a breathtaking big rappel to hanging icicles made for a phenomenal canyon day. After exiting the canyon some chose to take the sure route back to the cars, Ram, Aaron, and I decided to take the alternate, more scenic and fun route out. If there was too much snow, we would waste a lot of time by going this way, but luckily all worked out and we made it back to the cars not long after the sun had gone down. I threw my gear into my car, said goodbye to my new found friends, and made a mad dash back to Salt Lake in order to go to work for 12 hours the next morning.

All in all it was a phenomenal trip. It was great to meet everyone and the canyons were really great. Can't wait to have more time to devote to this great sport, but for now three days of canyons will have to do. Hope you all enjoyed my TR and the video above.

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