Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Aardvark Canyon - South Fork

On May 31st, 2016, Steph, Tom, Wayne, Christian, Cole and I conquered the South Fork of Aardvark Canyon.

This day was a fight. It took two attempts to gain the mesa, so by the time we reached the top of the canyon it was hot and easily past noon.

We dropped in without knowing what was in store. We were surprised by the number of potholes we encountered and by the quality of the canyon overall. When we reached the halfway point we knew our effort was going to be worth it.

There were perhaps ten tight sections where some elected to go high and over the top. There was a dark section where it was very difficult to see the floor looming below. There was a LOT of water to negotiate; wet hallways and full potholes around every corner. There was also a HUGE pool where the North and South forks converge (easy to get through).

The final rap sequence was tricky and involved a large pothole that contained two crows; one dead and one still alive. The live crow left us alone and we left him alone. The rap into the riparian area at the end of the canyon was a fine way to round out the day.

We worked HARD for about 11 hours to get this route done. If you subtract our first summit attempt and some rehydration time, we had a car-to-car time of 8.5 hours. Now that we know what to expect, we could repeat this canyon today in about 7.5 hours. This canyon is best suited for advanced canyoneers. Full beta to be published soon at Climb-Utah.com.

South Aardvark was awesome. I can't wait to go do the North Fork!!


The following photos are courtesy of Wayne H. I think he did an excellent job capturing the essence of this canyon, particularly with his action shots.

Thank you for sharing these Wayne!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Temple of Doom

On May 30th, 2016, Aaron, Christian, Cole and I explored Temple of Doom. We did not expect this canyon to hold much water, so we did not bring wetsuits. Unfortunately for us, there was a LOT of water in the canyon, so we turned back once we got cold.

The part we explored was great. We were lucky enough to catch a gorgeous section of slot at high noon, so the lighting was sublime. I'll be back to see the rest soon, wetsuit in tow.

Christian was brave enough to bring his serious camera through the slot. I'm glad he did, the photos turned out great!

The official Oakie Crew group photo. 
We were sure glad these guys made the dive out to Utah again!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cottonwood Wash

On May 29th, 2016, Steph, Aaron, Christian, Cole and I hiked over the reef then descended Cottonwood Wash.

I did not pick an ideal approach route, but came close. Even if we did hit it right on the head, this canyon is not worth the hike over the reef. Too much sand slogging, not enough action. *yawn* I look forward to all of the other canyons on this planet that are better than this one.

What really broke our hearts was when we were about an hour into the canyon and we ran into a family hiking up from the bottom, no wetsuits, no harnesses. We were geared to the teeth, so they thought we were having more fun than them -but they were sooo wrong!

Special thanks to Steph and the Oakies for toughing this one out. I'm lucky to canyoneer with such great people.