Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cassidy Arch Canyon

On Monday, March 19th, 2013, Steph, Tony, Ram, Mark, Ziff and I took a leisurely lap through Cassidy Arch Canyon.

While not a difficult canyon by any means, it was a fun way to spend a half-day amongst some impressive scenery. Three of the rappels go underneath arches, which made for much oohing and ahhing.

Steph on rap #1.

Me on rap #1. Ram snapping photos in the foreground.

Mark managing the anchor on rap #2. And me carefully making my way over to the anchor (meow).

Me above rap #3. Note the arch below.

Tony swinging under the arch on rap #3.

Ziff and Steph at the bridge rappel.

Ram at the exit of Cassidy Cave.

I'd like to thank Ram for putting this hike together and for introducing us to Mark and Ziff. 
It was a fun day spent with some great people!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Adobe Swale

On Sunday, March 17th, 2013, we took an opportunity to hike through Adobe Swale. The plan started with a small group, then developed into a large, friendly group around a campfire the night before the hike.

We had the chance to hike with a few Bogleyites, including Tim, Carrie, and Cristina. The man with the awesome mustache is my buddy Tony.

Steph and I tending the SandTrap.

Tim, Mr. Peakbagger, freezing his butt off, moving the group along, and enjoying the view. 

Tony, Cristina and I cowering in a breezy pothole. 

Steph rapping 'lightly', LWAR, from the SandTrap. Brave and capable. 

Tony pulling down the SandTrap.


At the end of the day we all had mixed feelings about the hike. 

On the positive side, the technical part is great! It was fun to show off our newly aquired SandTrap skills. Since Steph was the LWAR, she took charge of the SandTrap situation and gave everyone a brief lesson on what was going on. She masterfully managed the amount of sand, instructed people to rappel in the order she preferred (heaviest to lightest), then 'lightly' rappelled to the pothole below. The pull was extremely easy and looked kind of fun. (Sorry to geek out, but It will take some time for the novelty to wear off.) 

There are a few interesting downclimbs afterwards to keep you on your toes. Carrie psyched herself up for a few minutes to attempt a particularly wide downclimb. She showed a lot of moxy, and trust in her coaches (everyone), then got it done! Nice job Mrs. Peakbagger!

Mrs. Peakbagger in action.

Then we got to the harsh part of the hike. The exit starts with a hike down a wash with lots of sand blowing in your face, followed by a hike up a south facing slope for a couple of hours. Without the car shuttle, the day would have been miserable.

However, we did have a shuttle; so it was a pretty fun day with a great group of people. IMO, Adobe Swale is good, but not good enough to do twice.

Thank you Tim and Carrie for organizing this hike and getting us back to our cars safely!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

No Kidding

Please turn your sound ON before playing, you'll have more fun that way.

On Saturday, March 16th, 2013, Steph, Tony, Ram, Jenny, Scott, Justin and I headed down No Kidding. When I say down, I'm not kidding.

Jenny was kind enough to give us a thorough lesson on how to use a SandTrap. Steph was by her side most of the day (last women at risk) learning about situating the trap, adjusting the amount of sand, and preventing rope grooves.

No Kidding was Justin's 3rd canyon. At 12 years old, he handled it like a champ. When asked if I could rapppel off of him as a meat anchor, the look on his face was priceless. How could he support a guy more than twice his weight?? The gears were clearly turning. I helped him get situated into a very small pothole, then his father made his way down to the scene. Another pricelss face. After a close inspection dad signed off. I rapped off Justin and everyone was pleased with the results.

FWIW, I think a groove preventing garden hose should be provided with every SandTrap. If you don't have a garden hose in your SandTrap kit, be sure to bring one with you next time. We saw a few small rope grooves in the canyon that could have easily been prevented with a garden hose.

I feel that this canyon deserves 3 ratings. 'R' if you have the skills to do it, 'X' if you're not sure, and 'Deathwish' if there is water within. There are a couple of big potholes in the middle of No Kidding that could hold 6-8 feet of water. And, no, you can't swing across or build some kind of creative natural anchor. If you didn't bring bolts or hooks, then you will get trapped. If you see any water in the first section, that is your cue to turn around immediately. No kidding!

Special thanks to Ram and Jenny: No Kidding was a beautiful place to learn some serious canyoneering skills. It was an phenomenal day spent with fantastic people! Thank you for patiently teaching us, and for organizing this hike!

Steph and Jenny having fun.

Friday, March 15, 2013


On Friday, March 15th 2013, Steph, Tony and I had the opportunity to hike through Paradiso with a few new friends- Ram, Jenny, Scott and Justin. The canyon was outstanding and so was the company. Much technique was taught, many jokes were shared and many questions were asked.

Scott and his son Justin are from the northwest. Scott is an old friend of Ram's, they have known each other for 32 years. Scott and his son stopped by Utah to visit with Ram and to introduce Justin to canyoneering. To them, Paradiso is just another canyon on the itinerary. But to me, it is a place with a colorful history.

During the hike Scott and I were asking each other questions, just making conversation and getting to know each another a little. About halfway through the canyon everyone sat down to take a break. Then Scott asked a very funny question, "So Bob, how do you know Ram?" My reply went something like, "Uhhhhhhhhh...............uhm...............it 's a long story." Needless to say, many knowing smiles were exchanged during the carefully worded response. Tension melted away and friendships were built.

Oh yeah, the canyon was really good too. There is something about the sandstone down there... it has a menacing character to it. It has no 'theme' like other areas do. One moment you are high-stemming, the next you are swinging across a ferocious pothole. The canyon mocks you with with it's lack of anchoring options, but lures you in with it's intense beauty. It has such an interesting combination of characteristics... I can hardly wait to do the rest of the Dantes.

During our hike we also happened to run into Eric, Brian and their crew from Arizona. They have helped me extensively with the AZ portion of my mapping project and I was stoked to thank them in person.

Ram telling vivid tales about the scariest canyons in existence:

I would like to thank Ram and Jenny for being relentlessly friendly, for their patience and open-mindedness, and for inviting us on this adventure. We look forward to hiking with you again in the future.