Wednesday, April 13, 2016

West Canyon 2016 - Lion Route

On April 13th, 2016, Mark Burnham, Tony Long, Sam Goodhue, Jim Clery, Tom Collins and I took a mind-blowing lap through what we call the Lion Route. Steph sat out this day to rest a sore leg.

This is the same technical section mentioned in Mike Kelsey’s technical canyoneering book and on Ryan Corina’s website. Our drop-in point was here: 36 54 54 N 111 01 49 W.

Lion lives up to the hype; it has several swims, incredible narrows, and a spring-fed waterfall at the bottom. Near the top of the route, off to the side of the canyon, is a stellar blimp-hanger feature that easily justified of a few minutes of exploration.

Toward the end of the canyon is a cathedral worthy of its own special name. It is simply phenomenal in every way; a breathtaking Navajo sandstone chamber radiating reds, oranges and blues within. The cathedral even has an enormous bridge that spans across its midsection. Words do little justice for that level of beauty; it was a transcendent experience, leaving all of us feeling euphoric by the time we reluctantly proceeded downcanyon.

The remainder of the canyon below the cathedral was also outstanding. A wondrous splash fest most of the way back to camp.

Lion was a top-shelf canyon done with a top-shelf group of guys.  It was a day I’ll never forget.

Inside the blimp hanger, perpendicular to the top of the Lion Route.

Inside the cathedral.

Sam, Tony, myself, Tom, Jim and Mark, just below the cathedral.

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