Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Moonshine Wash

On April 16th, 2014, Steph, John, our unborn son and I wrapped up our spring canyon trip with a descent of Moonshine Wash. Our new baby was due 9 days, John's 3rd birthday was 6 days away. Just enough time to squeeze in one more canyon.

We're not really "Everything's Awesome!" kind of people (reference to the recent Lego movie). Most canyons are good. Some are not.

But this one was REALLY good.

Not much of a story, except that there were a couple of committing downclimbs for my wife. Two twenty foot chimneys that would be difficult for her to reverse in her 'delicate' condition.

So, I scouted the entire canyon before she committed. This was a treat, because I got to see the canyon three times. All of the way down, all of the way up, then back down again.

The three beanie makeshift helmet. His beanie, Dad's beanie, and Mom's beanie.

Posing under the sheep bridge, high above.

We used the convenient Escape Route and completed our adventure in a very leisurely 4.5 hours (car-to-car).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ding & Dang

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.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Crack Canyon

My son begs to go canyoneering. He isn't even three years old yet. My wife wants to do more canyons before our baby arrives. She is due in 11 days! Some time will pass before any of us see another canyon. We race to Hanksville before the baby tries to make his escape!

On Monday, April 14th, 2014, Steph, John, our unborn son and I headed through Crack Canyon.

This was my son's first canyon completed under his own power. Yes I helped him down the downclimbs. Yes I carried him up the canyon. No matter, he gets full credit.

A proud poppa, I am.

Steph showed crazy athletic prowess. She downclimbed and upclimbed the entire canyon, no assists required. (I did spot her on every drop.)

An amazed husband, I am.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


On March 19th, 2014, Tony and I did a lap through Purgatory Canyon. It was fun canyon with very sculpted walls (the photos do no justice). Knowing it was dry we headed through with minimal gear.

The final 110ft rappel was interesting. We rapped from a stone that was wedged into a crack on the floor of the canyon. Something a little new to us. The stone that the previous grouped used was no bigger than a baseball. I selected a much larger stone, simply to make myself feel better, and it worked just as well.

It was a great day with a great friend.

Tony rapping under an unusual rock. 
The 'clamshell rappel' has a good ring to it.

The vistas around the Dantes are stunning. 
If you look closely, I'm in the pothole far below.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hog 2 + Hog 4

On March 18th, 2014, Tony and I ventured down Miss Piggy and Hog 2.

Both are nice little canyons, a great combo for a cold windy day. Just a few pictures to share...

Rapping in Miss Piggy.

Rapping from Miss Piggy into Boss Hog.

Stemming in Hog 2.

A luxurious stretch of easy narrows in Hog 2.

Where is the bottom of this chute??

Waaay down there.

Monday, March 17, 2014


On March 17th, 2014, Tony and I wandered out across Smith Fork then descended Pothoez Canyon.

Smith fork is a stunning complex of canyons when viewed from above. The possible adventures seem endless.

Unfortunatley Pothoez is not as scenic as the surrounding landscape. The top half starts out with difficult high stemming that's ugly and rotten. We had a couple of large flakes break off when stemming 30+ feet off the deck.

Tony working hard with a big pack in Upper Pothoez.

That is followed by a couple of hours of stemming over small potholes, 4-6 feet wide. 
Being 3 feet off the deck for 2 hours is a serious shoulder/core workout.

Then comes a 30 foot rap with no anchor options. 
It would be a downclimb/capture with a large group, but for us, 
it became a tricky SandTrap problem (fun!).

Our MudGravelTrap

After that is the only pretty part of the canyon, a downclimb into a large cold swimmer.

Shortly after the swimmer is a SERIOUS pothole located halfway down the final rappel (sorry no pictures of it). It is SEVERELY overhung on all sides, a million feet deep, and should one fall in it would be impossible to escape from. Traversing across the pothole proved to be VERY tricky for Tony because the line of the rappel funneled him into the middle of the pothole. Throwing potshots across first would have been of limited utility because the force needed to propel Tony to the exit lip is greater than Potshots could provide. It was the most frightening pothole I have ever seen.

At the end of the day we wandered over to the exit for Phycho D and took a few pictures. 
It was FAR more scenic than anything in Pothoez.