Category Archives: Canyoneering

Staff Rendezvous in Escalante: Coyote Gulch, Spooky and Peek-a-Boo

As the busy summer season approached for us here at Zion Adventure Company, the idea of doing a two day backpacking trip with eight staff members in an area outside of Zion felt like an unrealistic prospect. This, however, is exactly what eight of us accomplished Wednesday, April 30th and Thursday, May 1st out in Escalante (about 2.5 hours East of Zion). We spent two quality days backpacking through Coyote Gulch and literally running through both Spooky and Peekaboo Canyons all of which can be accessed down the infamous “Hole-In-The-Rock” Road. For four of us, the trip started a couple days early as we traveled out before the rest of the group to do the technical canyon, Neon (a popular route in the Escalante area for both backpackers and canyoneers). The rest of our group arrived at Water Tanks the following morning around 9:30am fully energized and amped after their 5:00am departure from Springdale. Before hitting the trail, we savagely consumed several strawberry banana muffins Rich had baked, jokingly trash talked one another for a few minutes, refilled our water from the cars and car spotted our second vehicle at the Forty Mile Ridge Trailhead. We set out for Coyote … Continue reading

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Staff trip to Neon Canyon

First time down Neon Canyon. The ZAC Neon crew consisted of Elana, Hayley, Erin, and Robby. We had a quick breakfast and an early start. It was a cool, windy morning with a stunning desert sunrise. We crossed the Escalante River at the confluence with Neon in cold knee-deep water and exited the canyon on a popular social trail. After some rim walking, we arrived at the north fork of Neon in 2.5 hours from the trailhead.  As we were exploding gear from our packs at the “first rappel”, we saw a short stemming section just up canyon from our yard sale.     We finished packing up and walked in above the sweet side drainage. It reminded me of the brief pods encountered in Shenanigans (north wash) but in a shallow canyon. The side canyon ran into a fault and we were onto to the short, sweet, and easy, stemming section- it was maybe 15 ft off the deck.  Continuing down to Neon proper we traveled through a wonderfully tight and sculpted canyon. Those in the group lugging behemoth Heaps packs found this section to be very physical. Shortly we were into Neon and the water, it didn’t take … Continue reading

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Robber’s Roost Canyoneering Trip Report

So what does someone who canyoneers for a job day in and day out do when they get time off?  Well, they go canyoneering.  I often get asked that question, and I tell people my days off look a lot like my days on, only I really try to seek out somewhere new so it’s more of an adventure. This last ‘weekend’ Jon (another Zion Adventure Company guide), my girlfriend Julie, and I went on an ‘adventure’ to the “Robber’s Roost” area of Southern Utah.  It can be found roughly here:https://www.google.com/maps/@38.2947151,-110.32026,12z on a map.  Don’t see much?  Exactly.  It’s out there.  In fact, it’s about as ‘out there’ as one can get to in Utah by any sort of somewhat conventional transportation.  By ‘conventional’ transportation, one really needs a reliable high clearance four wheel drive vehicle to navigate the 50 something miles of rocky dirt roads. The nice thing about a Toyota Land Cruiser is that they’re rugged yet reliable The other nice thing about Land Cruisers is that they’re pretty easy to fix when they break down… even with whatever you happen to have in your canyoneering backpack.   The day we arrived, we went into a canyon called … Continue reading

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ZAC Staff Backpack Grand Canyon

In an ongoing pursuit to further explore, appreciate and acquaint ourselves with the beauty and mystery of the Southwest, a backpacking trip in the off-season seemed both appropriate and necessary. Over the course of 4 days from January 7-10, 2014, four of us set out to conquer or be conquered by the great and vast landscape of the Grand Canyon. Upon our arrival at the South Rim (about a 5 hour drive from Springdale through Kanab and Page) we found ourselves eagerly greeted at the backcountry desk. Winter crowds and weather at the Grand Canyon are far more mellow than those in the Summer. Attaining the appropriate permits for our planned route was quite easy. Grand Canyon permits cost a bit more than those at Zion ($5 per person per night plus an additional $10 processing fee). Having acquired our permit, it was time to visit the viewpoints at South Rim. We participated in “ooohing” and “ahhhing” at the expanse that unfolded before us. We had one final logistical detail to take care of. Our beginning and ending trailheads for the trip were approximately 5 miles apart, so we stashed a bike in the woods near our destination. For our … Continue reading

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Government Shutdown Closes Zion National Park

Article Written By Laura Dahl Dateline: October 7, Springdale, UT National Parks around the country closed their gates to visitors on October 1, 2013 as a result of the Federal Government Shutdown. Government Shutdown…what does that mean for Zion? Zion National Park is closed to all recreation and visitation for the duration of the government shutdown. All services, including the shuttle system, visitors center, human history museum, bathrooms, parking lots and campgrounds have been suspended during this time as well. Zion Lodge is also closed. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive from Canyon Junction to Zion Lodge is also closed. How long will the Shutdown last? There is really no way to know how long this round of government shutdown will last. Historically, shutdowns have lasted anywhere from hours to days, with the longest federal government shutdown lasting 21 days in 1995. Can I drive through Zion National Park? Utah State Route 9 (Mount Carmel Highway) will remain open to automobiles and motorcycles driving through the Park. This route is closed to large vehicles including recreational vehicles, large trailers, and buses. Enjoy the scenery as you drive through the Park. Please be respectful of closure rules. Do not use pullouts, or … Continue reading

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ZAC Field Trip: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and More

Our most recent staff field trip took us east by southeast and over the state line into Arizona where we visited Horseshoe Bend, Upper Antelope Canyon and Upper Water Holes Canyon. We met at the shop on a beautiful Monday morning, excited to begin this adventure. After some opening words and a short brief from our fearless leader, Dave, we all piled in a large Sprinter Van and got on our way. Good laughs, conversation, and freshly baked cookies consumed our 2-hour drive. Our first official field trip stop was Horseshoe Bend. Located just 4 miles southwest of Page, AZ, Horseshoe Bend is aptly named for the horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River in this area. The hike to the overlook point is short (less than a mile) and seems like a bargain for the breath-taking view of the canyon. Our group reveled in the incredible view of the river and canyon. It’s hard to convey what it feels like looking down hundreds of feet below you, watching boats the size of ants maneuver in the crystal clear river. You begin to wonder how in the world something so magnificent came to be and at the same time try to … Continue reading

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Filson Outdoor Clothing Features ZAC Guide Ben Rhinesmith

Our very own Ben Rhinesmith was recently profiled in Filson’s “In the Field” section of their website. In the video, Ben guides the Filson crew down Battle Creek, a high country canyon southeast of Kolob Reservoir, while talking a little bit about his guiding approach and philosophy.

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Zion Narrows Fall Colors Video

Long-time ZAC client Jerry King visits us at least every year, regularly recording his hikes and canyon descents via video and still images. When Jerry gets home, he puts together some nice informational videos about the adventures he goes on. If you are thinking about doing a Zion Narrow Through-Hike, check out Jerry’s movie to learn about the hike and see the Narrows in prime fall color splendor.

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Imlay Canyon Trip Report, 9.2.2012

Went through Full Imlay Canyon with Steve Brezovec and Kelly Birdwell – to enjoy the canyon, of course, and to work on the anchors. Found some interesting things. We started the canyon from Potato Hollow, from the very tip-top there, a few hundred yards higher than I had before. We used a retrievable anchor off a tree in order to not leave a sling visible to the public. Downcanyon a ways, we found a tied off rock for the third stage of a rappel that can be done as a three-stage rap. This rock as cleverly wedged in a slot, but was tied off with some cord which was quite pretty, but had a core of paper (indicating that this cord was never intended for any purpose requiring strength). Further down, we found an anchor tied with a non-knot (versus a Water Knot)… but I guess it held for whomever tied it. Quite a few anchors in the canyon were tied with the Minnesota-clip style of equalization – especially scary since on a lot of these two-bolt anchors, one bolt is an ancient eroded stud-type bolt (very unreliable). We re-rigged 4 or 5 anchors usually with fresh webbing. The upper … Continue reading

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American Canyoneers Elects New Official Board

American Canyoneers, a non-profit canyoneering organization promoting canyon access, environmental protection, and safety, transitioned from its initial Interim Board of Directors to its first regular Board of Directors after its the membership voted in July. You can meet the new American Canyoneers Board of Directors on their website… or maybe you’ll bump into one of them in a canyon somewhere. Thanks to the outgoing interim Board for their initiative and leadership over the last nine months. It is incredibly difficult to get a non-profit going starting with zero budget or staff, but this group made it happen, and they seem to be doing it the right way with 501c3 status, good transparency, and member support. Joining American Canyoneers is a great way to support canyoneering, and it only costs $5! If you’re interested, join American Canyoneers and get involved.

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