Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Boss Hog

On June 26th, 2012 Tony and I descended Boss Hog Canyon.

We headed out early when temperature was around 80 degrees. The canyon was cool and welcoming. The scenery was fantastic, the canyon looked like a giant block of chocolate that had been broken in half. There were some very odd and challenging downclimbs that we thoroughly enjoyed.

We found Boss Hog in very pristine condition; no webbing (except at the last drop), no garbage. We committed to leaving it that way from the start. We ended up ghosting 3 of the drops, yes they can be downclimbed by the very skilled but we don't recommend it. The penalty points are high.

At the mandatory rappel we found a large boulder with a sling around it. We high stemmed over to the boulder and put on our harnesses some 30 feet off the deck. Tony hooked up the rope and I elevatored down below the boulder to make sure we had enough rope. (It looks a LOT higher than it really is.) We both rappelled to the canyon floor and started pulling the rope through a very large existing groove that I had not seen (I actually did not stand on the boulder and have a look). This made for a tough rope pull and is the beginning of an ugly scar on a very clean canyon.

If you are part of a future group please consider extending the anchor down the chute below the boulder. You will need an extra 25-30 feet of webbing to do so. It will make your pull a lot easier and keep the canyon looking nice.

Anyway, we headed through the rest of the canyon and down an amazing 35 foot chimney. Then came the hard part...

It was 2 PM and the sun was blazing. We quickly found the exit and were dismayed by the angle of the sun. It was shining directly into the exit reflecting off both of the canyon walls. We considered finding some shade until the sun moved across the sky a little. But no, impatient, we just went for it. It was horribly hot- I'd guess between 120 and 130 degrees heading up the exit. We had no shade on the entire route. It took about 90 minutes to reach the top of the canyon. We had survived. It was 100 degrees at the top.

Was Boss Hog awesome? Heck yes! Would I do it in June ever again? Heck no!

Our simple retrievable anchor.

Monday, June 25, 2012

West Leprechaun

Tony and I descended West Lep on June 25th, 2012. It is nearly as good as it's neighbors, and enjoyable even in the summer heat. It was 87 degrees when we left the car and 102 when we returned.

We made one mistake on the first rappel- we should have extended the anchor to prevent rope grooves. Once we got to the bottom we verrry gingerly whipped the rope while pulling it to prevent one. If you visit this canyon in the near future please consider extending the anchor through the mini-potholes. Also, it will make your pull a lot easier.

A really creepy thing happened to us on our descent. We climbed under the rockfall and into Belfast Boulevard and were enjoying to cool air and the tremendous view above. As our eyes adjusted to the darkness we noticed a few daddy long legs scurrying onto the walls above. Tony mentioned that there were about 30 on the wall above him and many more down canyon. I unzipped my pack and removed a flashlight. I turned on the flashlight to find a cluster about 75 of the buggers about a foot from my face! I looked down canyon and saw three more very large clusters about head high.

I frantically turned off the light and went for my backpack. Just then the zipper busted spilling some of my stuff on the pitch black ground below. Frantically, I stuffed my cargo shorts with stuff and hauled my busted pack out of the slot while avoiding a facefull of spiders. Sheesh, it was a little too Indiana Jones-ish in there for me.

The photos below will tell the rest of the story. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


On June 24th, 2012 Tony and I ventured through Chambers Canyon.

We left for Hanksville from Salt Lake about 8 AM. We drove straight to the trailhead, had some lunch and started hiking around 2 PM. It was 100 degrees when we left the car. This was a bad idea, we knew it, and we did it anyway. I took 3 liters of water, Tony took 4.

We meandered down the scorching sandstone to the mouth of the canyon and discovered that Tony was missing his knee and elbow pads. His pack had somehow come unzipped and dumped out part of his stuff on the way down.

Like any friend would do, I threw on my armor and dropped into the cool shade of the canyon and relaxed. It was about 80 degrees in there. It took Tony 45 minutes to find his pads and return. Finally the canyon was underway!

Chambers is an awesome canyon, extremely physical and dauntingly skinny. Overall, it was just a bit more difficult that Middle Leprechaun Canyon. The canyon is just a little too narrow to make stemming easy.

The crux of the canyon is crazy. It looks just like the rest of the canyon until you try to squeeze through. And you cant. Then you try to climb up. And you cant. We were tired and dehydrated by the time we arrived at the crux so it was pretty intimidating. Tony is a good climber (5.11) and he had to fight like hell to get to the top. It took him about 5 minutes to get up 20 feet. He pulled our packs up and I eventually made it to the top of the crux as well. Whew.

Soon we arrived at the subway/cavern section, and it was spectacular! The photos below will tell that part of the story.

We soon arrived at the end, victorious! We were all smiles while we relaxed in the shade. Chambers is truly a classic. We had an outstanding experience.

The hike out was a miserable, hellish experience. It was 8 PM and 92 degrees when we arrived back at the car. I consumed 3 liters of water during the hike, then drank an additional 3 liters of water before my kidneys started working again. Very seriously, I should have packed 6 liters of water for this hike, but that would have been a large and heavy load to haul through such a skinny canyon. Don't be foolish (like us) and attempt this canyon during the summer.  You simply can't transport enough water to stay hydrated for the entire hike.