Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Egypt 3 Canyoneering Photos Utah Grand Staircase

Egypt 3 Canyon - Canyoneering Escalante, Utah

Egypt 3 is part of a series of Egypt canyons in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. One amazing feature of Egypt 3 is that if you are over 200 pounds you are not recommended to go down this canyon. The extreme narrows was something I had to see. The canyon report said there were stretches that would be only 8 inches apart.

The hike to Egypt 3 canyon was a short half mile from camp which led you to believe the total hiking time would be short. I have found no hiking time is short as it relates to canyoneering. Find the canyon was pretty easy though it is important to not accidentally drop into Egypt 2 or Egypt 4 as they require big ropes for long rappels. On a side note we did find the drop in point for Egypt 2 which is a sheer fall of some 260 ft. We found the walk in point for Egypt 3 though we decided to rap in anyway. The one person who did hike down had to be helped by bringing a rope to him as the last 15 ft are sketchy with a good 30 ft slide down if you slip.

Egypt 3 canyon consists of a series of scrambling around pot holes and extremely tight slot canyon walls. We did a lot of stemming including times when we were completely stretched with both hands on one wall and both feet on the other to reach.

It really is hard to describe how tight many sections of Egypt 3 is. When reports say don't be over 200 lbs they mean it. I am fairly skinny and at times had both by chest and back pressed up against the canyon walls.

There are two sections that are extremely tight. Most of the entire canyon is tight though two stretches take the cake. The first tight slot section you are about 15 ft off the ground completely stemming with your back and chest pressed against the rock. You don't want to drop anything as you will not be able to get down to the floor. I was wondering what would happen if I slipped though I realized that if I slipped I don't think I could fall any where it was so tight. One of our team that was carrying some of the ropes had to push with everything he had to get his pack through the crack. The second ultra tight section you are on the canyon floor which makes it easier though it was even tighter and I had to suck it in just to get through.

The temp was in the 80s and I was looking forward to getting wet to cool off. The water doesn't really come in till the end as you can climb around or stem passed the earlier pools. There is a long rappel close to the end that you need a 200 ft rope for. You would think that means a big drop off though you would be wrong. You tie off at a arch and then take the rope with you through a big pot hole where is the first legitimate place you will get wet. On the other side of the pot hole is a 30 ft drop which you rappel down. The whole distance is probably 150 ft of so though the rappel is pretty short.

If you thought you were done you would be mistaken as Egypt 3 winds through even more tight spaces and then finishes with a good 200 ft of more of wading through freezing cold water up to your waist at points and so tight I had to lift my backpack above my head. Two members which had bigger packs struggled through this area and had to submerge their packs to get them through.

Egypt 3 is an extremely fun canyon with many climbing and scrambling puzzles in the tightest slot canyon I have been down. I highly recommend bringing the smallest backpack possible though remember you do need ropes and the rest of your rappelling gear.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Neon Canyon Canyoneeing Photos Escalante Utah

Neon Canyon - Canyoneering Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

This Memorial Day I found myself canyoneering in Utah in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Neon Canyon to be precise on Saturday. Neon Canyon is a technical canyon famous for the cathedral which is a big hole in the rock that you finishes the canyon. With temps in the 80s and not a cloud in the sky you could ask for better weather.

The entrance to Neon Canyon is a 3.5 mile jaunt which we turned into a 5 mile plus route finding mission. In the sideshow you can see the nice photo of everyone hovering over the map. With most canyons getting there is just as much adventure as the canyon itself. The entrance to Neon Canyon is actually the finish point so you get to climb up the sides to look for a way to drop in. After about two miles or so there is plenty of drop in points if you have a 200 ft rope and pull cord which we didn't as the canyon info said we needed only 100 ft ropes. Eventually we found a crack to down climb though we did tie into ropes for safety. The down climb is easy though and could be performed by most people.

Once in the canyon you find tight slots and plenty of water to wade through and swim. Even in the 85 degree day you still need wetsuits as the water is cold. We all had 7 mm suits though I think 3 mm would have been fine. Everyone in this group was from Phoenix and sometimes we need the extra warmth protection.

Neon Canyon has plenty of down climbs to figure out and yes you will get wet. There is plenty of wading through water and a few swims. There is one really good swim of at least 200 ft or more at one point. For those of you who like to jump into a pool of freezing water, Neon Canyon delivers that too.

Only enter Neon Canyon with three or more people as there is one legitimate keeper pothole with requires some skill. I got to tread water for a while in the freezing water as we attempted a buddy climb to get out.

Neon Canyon finishes with the cathedral which is an amazing hole in the rock formation which you rappel through. Underneath the cathedral is assessable by hikers so there were plenty of day hikers from their campsites taking in the scene as these strange guys in wetsuits drop out of the big hole. It is quite the sight looking down through the hole seeing the completely still pool.

Neon Canyon is fun for anyone who wants to play in freezing water and find there way through a slot canyon. The rap at the cathedral makes the route though the entire canyon has plenty of fun spots.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, & Colorado River Adventure Trip Photos

Hiking Havasupai to Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls plus hiked to the Colorado River Video

Hiking Havasupai - Havasu Falls - Mooney Falls - Hike to Colorado River

Just spent the last three days in the Havasupai Indian Reservation exploring one of the most beautiful places in the world. I highly recommend that you add Havasupai to one of the places that you must see in your lifetime. Havasupai, outside the Grand Canyon, is famous for Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls which have been on the cover of every nature magazine known to man.

Anyone can do this adventure at different levels as there are mules to carry you and your gear from the parking lot hilltop all the way to Supai Village. For those that want to get some hiking in it is 8 miles from the parking lot to reach the Supai Village and another 2 down to the campsites.

For an added treat we did the hike into the canyon in the dark. We have an unbelievably bright full moon the hike under. The trip down to the Supai Village and campground is pretty easy so hiking in the dark wasn't a problem. I had my headlamp off for half the 10 mile hike and just used the moon light to guide my way. It was almost like daytime when the moon was directly overhead.

We passed the famous Havasu Falls which is photographed all the time for major publications in the dark so it wouldn't be until later that we would get a good look at it.

Up and ready to go the next morning, we were off to Mooney Falls and then to the Colorado River. Mooney Falls is breathe taking. I have heard it is any where from 200 ft high to 300 ft high, though needless to say it is big. The falls plunge into turquoise colored pools which you can swim and play around in. Limestone bleeding into the water makes give the whole place this crystal clear turquoise water that doesn't even look real.

To get to the bottom of the falls you take a chain linked fence which has a couple exposed areas near the bottom. You do have to be careful though I saw people of all fitness levels making it so with care you can make it down.

The Colorado River is 5 to 8 miles (no one really new the exact distance) of hiking, scrambling, and wading through Havasu Canyon. If you follow the canyon there are more cool waterfalls some bigger than others and many places to jump into the refreshing water.

With every mile the traffic gets thinner and thinner as most people can't make it all the way to the Colorado River and back in a reasonable amount of time. If you can make the trip is worth it. Besides the amazing waterfalls and the fun jumping off rope swings and boulders, the site of where Havasu Canyon's turquoise water mixes with the brown Colorado River is a site. Right before the Colorado River the canyon becomes a cathedral, which you scramble over and you see the two rivers converge and the Havasu Rapids of the Colorado River.

The Colorado River trip is an out and back so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get back in the day light as you don't want to be climbing back up Mooney Falls in the dark, to get back to your campsite.

The other great attraction is Havasu Falls which we spent time checking out on our hike out of the canyon. Havasu Falls is another big waterfall which is definitely worth the time in advance it takes to get reservations to get into Havasupai Indian Reservation.

The only problem with the hike out is that as everything was downhill on the way in, everything is uphill on the way out. You have 10 miles of uphill hiking with the last mile being the toughest as it is switchbacks straight up to the parking lot. For added pleasure for us was a 30 mile per hour or greater wind that picked up as we reached the switched back which at one point almost blew me so hard that I started to tumble down the path. Luckily, I was able to re-balance though I did stumble a good five heart pounding feet before regaining my balance.

One tip I have is take extra precaution to not lock your keys in the trunk of your car, which we found out the hard way. There no cell reception and no radio at the parking lot. You are in the middle of nowhere. I also don't recommend AAA and would cancel my service immediately if you have them as they were called by no more than 5 people including one of our parties husbands and they never came. AAA was ok with just leaving us in the middle of nowhere standed with our keys in the trunk. I want to give a special thanks to the firefighters from Pine/ Strawberry who were amazing and were able to get into our car. Without there help I know I wouldn't be home yet and able to write this post. Thank You Very Much.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Crawdad Canyon - Canyoneering Outside Phoenix Arizona

Crawdad Canyon is my latest canyoneering trip that I found myself scrambling and swimming my way through. Crawdad Canyon is not the official name this canyon goes by though the group I go with switched the name to Crawdad to keep people away from the canyon that my trash it. It is disappointing to see the lack of respect some people have for beautiful places.

Crawdad Canyon starts slow with a dry drainage or entrance canyon until we run into a nicely flowing stream. I was pleasantly surprised with this canyon as I expect most scrambling with a few places where we would wade. Instead we spent the entire time in the water. There were numerous pools that required swimming and we spent the entire trip in a good flow of water. The flow also kept the water clean which was a nice change from the stagnant water you can find in some canyons.

Crawdad Canyon is not a technical canyon though it is well worth the effort. There are plenty of challenges throughout the canyon at a moderate level. There is nothing of exceptional technical ability though you will have your fair share of endurance as the canyon took close to 7 hours to get to our shuttle car.

Our groups given name of Crawdad Canyon is because of the thousands of crawdads and tadpoles that you find in the water. The whole canyon was streaming with wildlife from fish, snakes, butterflies, and even a havalina that we scarred up. I missed the wild pig as it was behind me which sucked.

If you want to find out where this canyon is you will have to email me using the contact form on the right hand nav and if you are lucky I will tell you. What I will say is that this canyon was a lot of fun and a great canyon to do on a hot day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Canyoneering Trip Sundance Canyon & Bear Canyon Same Day

If you want a complete day of canyoneering you can take on Sundance Canyon and Bear Canyon in the same day. Both canyons are outside Camp Verde, AZ. The unique aspect of these two canyons is that they are right next to each other.

When you finally get to your place to park, you have Sundance Canyon on your right and Bear Canyon on your left. Both of the canyons end up in West Clear Creek Canyon, and you follow the same up hill path back to the truck for both.

You do need to start early. You have to give yourself at least 4 hours each to get through the canyons. That is 8 hours total of just canyoning time. If you group moves slower than you need to keep that in mind.

Both canyons are technical canyons that require rappelling and wetsuits. Sundance Canyon finishes a dramatic 180 ft rappel that will get your heart pumping. Bear Canyon starts slow, though it finishes with a great narrows section that is tons of fun. Bear Canyon is a little deeper and colder than Sundance Canyon so your hands will feel great.

If you want a full day of canyoneering I highly recommend Sundance and Bear Canyon.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Canyoneering Gear for Getting Out of Keeper Pot Holes

Keeper pot hole, probably the most deadly part of canyoneering. Unprepared canyoneers can find themselves stuck in pot holes with no exit with out specific skills and gear.

Pot Shot by Imlay Canyon Gear is a sturdy and light weight pack that you can fill with sand, water, or rocks to throw over the edge of the keeper pot hole.

Imlay Canyon Gear make gear designed specifically for canyoneers by canyoneers. Imlay Canyon Gear is named after Imlay Canyon in Zion National Park which is one of the msot technical and dangerous canyons in the United States. Imlay Canyon has deadly keeper pot holes without the right gear so you know the people who know what it takes to get out of Imlay Canyon know how to design gear that can get you out of the keeper pot holes you find yourself in.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Canyoning Bear Canyon Photos - Rappel & Swimming Canyon Slot Narrows

Canyoneering Bear Canyon - Keeper Pot Holes & Rappelling into Ice Cold Pools

Bear Canyon is right next to Sundance Canyon. You actually park in the same spot and find your way back to the truck using the same route for each canyon. After getting done with Sundance Canyon by just after noon we decided to take advantage and head down Bear Canyon.

The trick to getting into Bear Canyon is that there is a short gully in the way. Many people think they are in Bear Canyon only for it to end with no where to go. You have make your way through gully and over the next ridge to get into Bear Canyon.

Bear Canyon starts with a canyon hike through fallen trees and boulders. After just rappelling 180 feet out of Sundance Canyon we started to wonder if Bear Canyon had anything to offer. Then you hit Bear Canyon's narrows.

Bear Canyon has a cool section of narrows which require multiple rappels and swims through even colder pools than Sundance Canyon. An excellent section of pot holes leads you into the depths withoug obvious places to set anchors. After a keeper pot hole there is a bolt placed in the wall for the largest rappell of 40 feet.

The pools in Bear Canyon are colder than Sundance Canyon just next door. The slot canyon walls are higher and lack even more sunlight. This is also obvious with the presence of snow and ice we found deep in the canyon. I highly recommend wetsuits as you make your way through the narrows.

The narrows of Bear Canyon make it a fun canyon well worth the trip.

180 ft Rappelling Sundance Canyon - On Rappel Video

Sundance Canyon Canyoneering Photos - Narrows, Pot Holes, & Rappelling