Thursday, October 10, 2019

Headless Duck Exploration

On October 10th, 2019, Tony, Steph, Cara, Grant, Cole, and I explored a canyon rumored to be named Headless Duck.

The approach for this canyon might have been more enjoyable than the canyon itself.  The route to the top of the mesa winds between a bunch tall and beautiful hoodoos.  Once on top of the mesa the view to the east is simply amazing.  Once we got to that point we all just stood silent for about 5 minutes and contemplated the landscape below.

Headless Duck is a short but scenic Wingate slot.  The first couple of drops can be bypassed on the RDC side, then a straightforward downclimb into the canyon presents itself just before the canyon gets tight.

We downclimbed two tall but interesting drops and all too soon found ourselves at the final rappel.  Adjacent to this rappel is a gigantic natural bridge that is easy to walk past if you aren't looking.

The final rappel is 150 feet down a vertical wall.  Be sure to bring some form of rope protection for the final drop.  We discovered webbing at the last drop, so this wasn't a first descent, which we had already assumed.


A shuttle is recommended for this route, but not required.  This canyon does not appear to hold much water, so wetsuits should never be required.  The entire route should take 4-6 hours.

Park one vehicle here, near the end of the canyon:  37.883614  -111.273008

Park your other vehicle here, at the beginning of the approach:  37.911657  -111.249919

Hike to the top of the mesa by winding through the hoodoos.  The route is sometimes steep and challenging to figure out, but no difficult climbing moves are required.

Hike across the top of the mesa while trying to steer clear of the crypto.

The top of Headless Duck is here:  37.882854  -111.266803

The only required rappel is the final drop which is 150 feet.  If you can't find the easy entrance to the canyon on the RDC side, more short rappels may be required.

The route below is approximate and not intended to be used as a map.

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