Category Archives: Guided Events

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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Free Canon Camera & Video Workshops in Zion

Canon has been running their National Parks promotion for six years now, and they are finally coming to Zion! From June 24th to July 9th, you can borrow a Canon SLR, point-and-shoot, or video camera to shoot gorgeous Zion scenery… AND you can receive free instruction on how to do it. Yes, it’s an unabashed marketing promotion on Canon’s part, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to a) try out top-of-the-line technology for free, and b) get expert advice from Canon photography teachers/mentors. Here’s the meat of the press release from Canon: The Canon Photography in the Parks Program offers participants the opportunity to learn about photography or hone their skills through free professional instruction as they take part in a guided walking photo tour of some of the most scenic national park areas. Participants can bring their own equipment or borrow, at no charge, Canon equipment from a selection of EOS DSLR cameras and EF lenses, PowerShot point-and-shoot cameras, or VIXIA camcorders. Equipment is available for photographers at every skill level. Following the tour, participants have the opportunity to print their work on site, and to download their image collection later from the Program website. Visitors of all ages and … Continue reading

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ZAC Memories from Chris & Steve Sponagle

We have received some great notes, letters, poems, and questions in response to our call-out for client stories to celebrate our 15th Anniversay. Thank you! Here’s another good one, from the Sponagles up in Wisconsin. We have been VERY blessed to have experienced many fun adventures with our friends at Zion Adventure Company, but two particular remembrances stand out for me.  The first was a trip with Dave and my husband Steve back in 2008 when we spent a day getting wet in Battlecreek.  It was during that trip that my excitement for canyoneering stuck and we realized that with a little extra work, we could actually develop the skills to explore technical canyons on our own.  Several years and many canyons later, we continue to return to Utah on a regular basis to play.  The second stand-out moment was on a trip to Lake Powell in 2010.  After spending a spectacular day exploring a rarely seen canyon with Jonathan, we spent the night sleeping out under the stars on a sandstone bank – absolutely mesmerizing!!!  Congratulations on your anniversary and here’s to the wonderful adventures that still lie ahead! Chris & Steve Sponagle

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Guest Blogger Myra Yanke: Adventures in Zion and Beyond

Once upon a time, I thought a Rick Steves guidebook was the key to adventure.  This is the story of how my horizons have broadened since then. August 2007: I come back to America from my second trip to the Jungfrau region of Switzerland and rave to my parents about the fabulousness of my trip. I shake my head sadly when they counter with descriptions of their second trip to southern Utah. Why are they so insistent on staying in America, land of Wal-Mart and McDonalds? There’s a whole world out there! August 2008: I come back to America from hiking the Haute Route, Chamonix-Zermatt, and rave to my parents about the fabulousness of my trip. Glacier hiking! High-mountain hostels! I shake my head sadly when they repeat that I really should try Utah. Staring at a bunch of rocks? I think not. May 2009: I board the plane to Las Vegas with my parents, hoping I won’t be too bored over the next 17 days. The itinerary: Bryce – Moab/Arches National Park – Havasupai – Zion. I reason that by going, I’ll be strengthening my position that my parents should get passports. I’ll be able to say “I’ve been … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Escalante, Guided Events, Reflections, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

3DBs Help Regular People Become Able Canyoneers

Empowerment is the hallmark of any Zion Adventure Company course. Spend some time with our instructors on a technical course or a guided trip, and you leave more capable than when you arrived. And the more time you spend with us, the more able you become… which is why our Three-Day Basic Canyoneering courses produce some amazingly capable canyoneers, problem-solvers, and outdoor leaders. I’m highlighting our Three-Day Basic courses in response to a recent Yelp review on the course. The impact this course had on these guys is amazing, yet honestyly, this type of response is pretty common for a 3DB group: I am a frequent visitor to Zion National Park and I have always rented my gear and sought advice at ZAC. I recently took the three day basic canyoneering course and it far exceeded my expectations. I learned much more than I anticipated and all six members of our group went from knowing little-to-nothing with respect to technical canyoneering to being able to handle canyons on our own with complete confidence and proficiency (Mystery and Pine Creek). I can’t say enough about the level and breadth of instruction in this course (raps, anchor building, problem solving, sequencing, gear set up, … Continue reading

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ZAC Memories from The Lexington School!

Few clients have been with us as long as The Lexington School, who celebrated fourteen years in a row with us in May. Long-time TLS leader, Frank Hardesty, is one of our very favorite school administrators, and blessed us with fantastic opportunities, even when we were small, broke, and without much experience. Thanks to Frank for believing in us, and for bringing so many great Lexington kids to Zion year after year! Jonathan, Lots of special memories with you guys and The Lexington School over the years. If it is fifteen years in business, TLS must have been in on the fledging of the company. Been a long time… and a good time. You guys have been great and have inspired me… and many of our eighth graders. Thanks for safety, for inspiration, and for creativity. I would love to be at Springdale for your celebration. However, I am invited to raft Green River (Lodore Canyon) with my son and grandson and others the last of September, and twice to Utah in such a short time is a stretch for my retirement budget. I know you will enjoy a big party. Give Catrin and Massi big hugs. I am officially retired … Continue reading

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ZAC Memories in Verse from Bob Shear

Bob Shear was kind enough to send us this EPIC poem, written in antiquity, describing the adventure he and his brothers had with us in early 2000. Thanks, Bob! My brothers and I went to ZAC in March 2000 for a half-day training and a self-guided descent of Keyhole Canyon. Though we were all in our 50s, we had never really done anything together, and it became quite an adventure. Two of us, myself and Dick, continued on with canyoneering for quite a while. I still have my gear, and hopes to return to Zion some day soon. Anyway, in the fall of that year, my brother, Chet, and I got into a little poetry competition, and I wrote the story of our Zion Adventure in (not very good) verse. Here it is: It started in March, Millenium Year Phone call from brother: “Hey, come on out here.” “We can hike canyons and rap off the cliffs. Come on you sissies, no buts, ands, or ifs.” So onto the planes got two city Shears Not been together for so many years. First came the elder, a poet to some. Then came the younger, least athletic one. Slot machine airport, crude … Continue reading

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ZAC Memories from Ellen Comiskey

Hi Jonathan, Our family spent a good part of one of our greatest vacations with you. In April 2004 (when your wife was pregnant with your first child), our kids were age 10, 13, 14. We came out to Utah (from Wisconsin) in early April for a week. We climbed in St. George, and went canyoneering with you and Dwayne. Today the youngest, now 18, left to go to Peru for a year, and as I think back to the wonderful times we had together, I am glad we had the opportunity to spend time doing great, fun things in the natural world under the guidance of fun and knowledgeable people like yourselves. We never could have done that on our own. The whole family remembers the great time we were able to have because you were able to take us there. Thanks. We will be back, eventually… I hope you are well. Congrats on your 15th anniversary! Love, Ellen Comiskey

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ZAC Canyon Courses: Becoming a Critical Adventurer

When people register for a canyoneering course they expect to learn how to become proficient canyoneers. In their minds, they may imagine a list of knots, equipment, and technical skills. As an instructor, my motives are slightly different… My last Three-Day Basic canyon course was a great success, but not because everyone learned how to tie knots, set up anchors, and rig a variety of rappels. While technical skills are important, they are only a small part of my course goals. We attacked the prescribed technical curriculum early on, and it served as a foundation for the true art of canyoneering. By the second day of our course last week, people had reached at important threshold. There is a point where learning new material complicates the decision making process. It is also challenging to help people feel confident in what they know and to continue introducing rope skills. To simply move through a canyon, doing the same thing at each rappel, seems practical and safe, and can build great confidence, but it is also a pitfall. The breakthrough moment is when people recognize each decision is complicated, but they have many tools they can apply to myriad situations. Canyoneering is … Continue reading

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Memories from ZAC Client Jerry King

Few clients have accrued more stories with Zion Adventure Company than Jerry King. Jerry’s been adventuring with us for the better part of a decade, annually bringing neophytes to Zion for their canyoneering baptisms. When Jerry saw we were looking for 15th Anniversary stories, naturally he jumped right in. Thanks for sharing your time and passion with us, Jerry. ****** HOLY COW! THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS…. ONE-DAY BASIC PROGRAM, OCTOBER 2005 After treks into The Narrows the previous couple of years, it was time to step up my game, so I signed on to a basic canyoneering course by the good folks at the ZAC. I anticipated a simple program… perhaps some white-board talk and a gear review in the ZAC shop, and maybe a little time in the field. Wrong! Our group of four neophytes headed out at 7:30 am for a Class III slot canyon. OK…so this might be a bit more serious than I thought. Oh… but I didn’t know how right that observation was! After a 45-minute drive into the backcountry, we hiked a couple miles to the head of our canyon “classroom”. After practicing some important knots and a reviewing the equipment we had been given, … Continue reading

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