Saturday, October 5, 2019


On October 5th, 2019, Tony, Cara, Cole, and I stemmed our way through Lower PINTAC Canyon.  This was the first X-rated canyon that Cara, Cole, or I had experienced.

Most canyons look much more serous in photos than they do in person, but PINTAC is just the opposite.  This canyon was much more dangerous and the stemming was much higher than I envisioned.  Exposure to a fatal fall was almost continuous for 90 minutes.

The width was mostly friendly, but the movement was physical.  I sweat about 3 liters during the 90 minutes we were off the ground.  People like myself that predominantly use back-to-feet stemming technique get punished.  My lower back was very sore for three days after completing this slot.

We were very fortunate to have Tony in the lead during the stemming part of this canyon.  Because he moves very efficiently when stemming he was able to communicate back to the rest of us any difficult upcoming moves and what height to stay at - which was a huge benefit both psychologically and physically.

I'm grateful that we got to experience this canyon together, but I'm not sure if X canyons are something that I enjoy.  After doing Lower PINTAC, I  felt the same way that I did after going skydiving - I'm happy that I did it once, but have no desire to do it again.

Sunset after a successful adventure.  Chimney Rock in the distance.


  1. I think if I was going to try something with that much stemming, I'd find some way to pad my back! Congratulations on completing it.

    1. That is an interesting thought. My back was very sore for three days after completing Lower PINTAC. If I had it to do over, would I wear hockey pads, or something similar? No, probably not. It is very important to get feedback from the wall as you move downcanyon. Having your back 'numb' probably makes it more dangerous. Same with my hands (notice no gloves), feedback was critical to my safety.

      The best way to prevent a sore back is to improve your form. If you face downcanyon and galumph your way along, then your back is rarely on the wall. That takes technique, strength, and courage - three categories where I have room for improvement.