On Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, Steph, John, our unborn son and I did a lap through Ding & Dang. My son's 3rd birthday was a week away. Our next son was due in 10 days. These facts made this adventure a VERY tall order.
Heading up Ding was easy and fun. The flat sandy floor made me wonder what lurks beneath. The walls allude to something serious. Has anyone ever seen this canyon clean?
Then a quick and scenic walk behind The Swell, and down into Dang. A bolt at the first drop?? Easily walked around by all. We soon arrived at the 40 foot drop. There are at least 4 ways to get down:
1. Traverse around the drop on the RDC side, across a VERY exposed 50 foot ledge. Not an option with a kid on your back. Not an option for a pregnant lady. You fall, you die.
2. Use a handline tied to a crappy ancient bolt. Hold on tight, then step off a smooth ledge, blind, to a larger ledge below. Slip and survive. Probably.
3. Belay from above. Last person assumes all risk.
4. Rappel. Minimal risk, minimal stress.
Needless to say, getting down this drop was a pain in the ass. I belayed Steph down with webbing. I lowered John to Steph. Scary for all. Next time we will all have rope, helmets and harnesses.
That being said, they were a great pair of canyons. Scenic and engaging the whole way. However, helping a small child through those canyons is physically and physiologically taxing. It felt like we had done The Squeeze by the end of the day even though it only took us 5 hours car-to-car.
It was a fun and memorable day that was totally worth the effort.
A very scenic walk behind The Swell.