Category Archives: Zion

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

Posted in Canyoneering, Grand Canyon, Guided Events, In the News, Lake Powell, Local Events, Zion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

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.

Posted in Canyoneering, Reflections, Seasonal, Summer, Videos, Zion | Tagged , , | Comments Off

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.

Posted in Autumn, Canyoneering, Seasonal, The Narrows, Trip Reports, Videos, Zion | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

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

Posted in Autumn, Canyoneering, Safety, Seasonal, Trip Reports, Zion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Spry Canyon Flash Flood Video, July 11, 2012

Flash flood videos can’t do justice to the real thing, but this video from Spry Canyon last Monday (7/11) offers an educative perspective. The narrators’ emotions perhaps say more about the danger than the actual video… these two guys are clearly scared, excited, and riveted by the crashing, dynamic conditions. They literally have no idea what might happen, how high the water might rise, what debris might come crashing down to them. A scary situation. Were these guys in danger? It’s really difficult to say. Obviously, the water came up quite a bit while they were there, and they seem trapped in the alcove they are in by the middle of the video. But they seem to feel safe in their perch, amazed and lucky they weren’t stuck in a worse position in the canyon. As they point out, their next anchor is 1-2 feet under water by mid-video, and even as the waterfall slows toward the end, they point out how the overall depth just keeps rising. The parting shot shows the red webbing anchor filled with debris, hinting at the surge that receded only minutes before. The weather forecast on this date was not obvious: 40% chance of … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, Flash Flooding, Outdoor Leadership, Safety, Summer, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Boundary Canyon Conditions

Went by, but not IN, Boundary Canyon Zion yesterday. No flow. No flow from the spring down to the head of the canyon. Likely dry from there except a few puddles. Drought conditions have returned. If the Kolob Reservoir does an extended period of significant water releases, the spring at the head of Boundary could perk up, but it seems unlikely. Tom

Posted in Canyoneering, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , | Comments Off

Awesome Right Fork Trip Report on CUSA’s “Latest Rave”

After taking a year off in 2011, Tom Jones has reinitiated his popular canyoneering blog The Latest Rave in a beautiful, updated format, making high-quality, illustrated trip reports even more accessible to canyoneers searching for canyon beta, pictures, and stories. The Latest Rave is a “canyoneering diary,” featuring accounts of recent canyon descents and trips throughout the canyoneering world, but primarily focused on Colorado Plateau canyons. Tom has expanded the Rave a bit, inviting long-time canyoneering partner Steve “Ram” Ramras as a regular Raver, as well as publishing well-written and illustrated canyoneering stories from other canyoneer/authors in his Guest Rave section. Fortunately, quite a few Rave trip reports are about Zion canyons, which are, of course, our favorite. Mark Duttweiler published a particularly nice trip report last week on his party’s descent of the Right Fork of North Creek, a less-travelled canyon deep in the Zion Backcountry. Mark and his crew descend the “Hammerhead” variation of the Right Fork route, adding a great, technical start and a number of rappels to the package. The meat of the Right Fork, however, is the Direct Variation, a formidable section of slot that, though relatively short and not particularly difficult, threatens inexperienced canyoneers with shadows … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Quicksand!

Yesterday while descending Water Canyon with a small CAD I learned a little something about quicksand. Over the past several years I have experienced quicksand, quickmud, and various other mires, but NOTHING like what I experienced in Water Canyon on 4/18. After descending into Middle Water Canyon, we got past the first three raps and started heading down the long hallway into Lower Water Canyon. About half way through this section, we experienced a couple of sloppy, sucking sand areas, but nothing above the knees, which made extraction casual. Moments later, however, I stepped off of a rock in the middle of the watercourse and INSTANTLY sank to my crotch into thin, watery sand. It was somewhat entertaining initially, and I took 10 seconds or so to have the moment captured photographically for all to see. Within those 10 seconds, the sand solidified around my legs and developed the consistency of concrete. I was unable to move any muscle below my waist, so I started digging and scooping water and sand to attempt to free myself from the sucky obstacle. After 10 minutes of digging, damming up the flow to better remove sand and water from the area, and attempting … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, Natural History, Safety, Techniques, Trip Reports, Zion | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

ZAC Guide Bill Westerhoff Featured on “Eye on LA”

ABC’s Los Angeles affiliate Channel 7 recently visited Southern Utah for their “Eye on LA” show. Host Tina Malave joined ZAC guide Bill Westerhoff for a rappelling excursion up in Cave Valley, one of the gorgeous plateau valleys you’ll find on the way up the Kolob Terrace Road. I wasn’t able to post the video here, but you can check it out on the ABC 7 site.  

Posted in Canyoneering, Videos, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

A Different Kind of Zion Visitor

Imagine… You’ve been hiking and running deep in the Zion backcountry for 13 hours, carrying only a few snacks and one water bottle. You’ve summited a handful of peaks, rappelled off small trees poking out of bare rock, and swum in 40-degree pools of stagnant canyons water. Many, many miles and vertical meters have passed. Now it’s 10:30 PM, your headlamp is dead, and you’re squeezing energy from the far reaches of your left pinky toe to keep going. And THEN, you get to one last, mandatory unexpected swim of unknown length. Do you put your wetsuit back on? Do you cry? Do you just lay down and close your eyes? No… you grit your teeth, make it happen, and blog about it when you get home. Because you are hardcore. Which I am not. Nice story, Dakota Jones. Thanks for showing how the crazies get it done in Zion. The honest, inspiring words about digging deeper than you think is possible is worth keeping in mind, no matter who you are or what makes you crumble.

Posted in Books & Articles, Canyoneering, Hiking, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , | Comments Off