Category Archives: Seasonal

Zion Narrows Forecast for Spring 2012

The Zion Narrows closed last weekend for the first time in 2012; the hike is open again now, but will certainly close a few more times throughout spring. Since we are pretty big Narrows Nerds here at ZAC, I thought it might be fun to provide some “big picture” background info for those  eager to know if The Narrows and other technical canyons will be closed during YOUR visit. Like all things in The Nature, a wide variety of factors influence Spring flooding. But for the most part, spring water volume is determined by three primary factors: Snowpack – The snowpack on the Markagunt Plateau (elevation 8000 ft.) north of Zion feeds the Virgin River as it melts, contributing significant water volume to the North Fork watershed each spring. One year ago today, the snowpack was 112″, while today, the snowpack is only 54″. That’s a big difference. Drive up to Cedar Breaks along Highway 14, and you can see the snowpack for yourself. Daily High Temperatures – When temperatures are really warm, you can almost SEE the snow pack shriveling on the Plateau. Moderate temperatures, however, melt snow slowly, causing a slower, more gradual melt. If you watch the … Continue reading

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Spring Flowers Beginning to Bloom in Zion

Went up Angels Landing twice this last week, so I thought I’d report on how spring is coming along in Zion Canyon. From a bloom point of view, things are getting ready to start. A few plants are currently flowering, but not too many. On the lower switchbacks, I saw a few flowers including: • Zion Milkvetch (purple pea-type flowers, low to the ground, most prominent flower at the moment) • Western Wallflower (cluster of yellow, four-petaled flowers, mostly isolated individuals, some in clumps, second-most prominent at the moment) • Slickrock Paintbrush (red paintbrush, close to the ground. A few here and there) • Yellow sweet clover (I think. Spreading leaves, small yellow flowers pea-like) Driving, on the side of the road near the Museum, there was: • Cliffrose (flowering bush, LOTs of white blooms. Very strong “rose” smell). Then it snowed on Sunday evening, so… Tom

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Zion Narrows Hike Limit Raised to 150 CFS

Shelley called the Park this morning and confirmed a rumor that the Bottom-Up Hiking limit for the Zion Narrows has been raised to 150 CFS. Woohoo! That’s a big deal! But what does that mean, exactly? Until the early 2000s, The Narrows was ALWAYS open, making it a do-at-your-own-risk activity: You looked at the river, maybe you got some advice from the rangers, and then you decided to hike or not. About ten years ago, however, the Park’s lawyers decided the liability of this policy was too great, and ZNP should take measures to protect unwitting Narrows hikers. The Park implemented a system that uses Virgin River water volume (measured in cubic feet per second (CFS)) to determine whether the Zion Narrows is open to hiking or not. The Park set the Top-Down limit at 120 CFS, and the Bottom-Down limit at 140 CFS; if the current CFS is ABOVE the limit any time in the last 24 hours, the hikes are closed accordingly. The upside of this closure system is very few people enter The Narrows when it is unsafe. The downside, however, is The Narrows is closed at levels where athletic hikers could have a lot of fun enjoying … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, In the News, Safety, Seasonal, Spring, The Narrows, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Spring Break Ranger Programs for Kids Visiting Zion

Though Zion National Park staff is still at low-season numbers, the Park has put together a series of programs specifically tailored to kids for Spring Break. If you’re in Zion this week with your kids, check out any (or all) of the three special programs. Canvas of Cliffs Monday, March 12 and Wednesday, March 14 9:30 – 11:30 AM Meet at Big Bend Shuttle Stop Search for peregrine falcons, condors, and climbers and discover their stories Pool Pondering Tuesday, March 13, Thursday, March 15, and Friday, March 16 9:30 -11:30 AM Meet at Emerald Pools Trailhead Uncover unique plant and animal secrets. Stellar Storytellers Monday, March 12 and Thursday, March 15 3:00 – 3:30 PM Meet at the Zion Human History Museum Listen to fun and adventurous stories.

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Ski with a Dixie National Forest Ranger at Brian Head Ski Resort

Yes, there is snow! You can check current conditions on the Brian Head Resort website. We just received this press release from the Dixie National Forest: “Cedar City, UT – Join Forest Service Snow Rangers as they guide tours on the ski slopes of Brian Head Resort. On Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 11:00 am and 2:00pm meet with Forest Service rangers to learn about some of the natural history, cultural history, and geology of the area, and to learn about the public/private partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and Brian Head Resort in providing public recreation opportunities on National Forest System lands. If you would like to participate in the event, skiers or snowboarders must have a valid day pass or season pass to ride the lift, and have at least an intermediate skiing or snowboarding ability.  Youth under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and have intermediate skiing or snowboarding ability. Meet at Brian Head Resort, Giant Steps Chairlift #2.   Please gather at the bottom of the chairlift #2, beginning at 10:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m., respectively.  After a brief orientation at the bottom of the Giant Steps Lift, the group will ride the chairlift … Continue reading

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Trip Report: Imlay Canyon on Christmas Day

The question has been asked: Why descend Imlay in the winter? A wonderful canyon maybe, but it’s hard enough during the warmest times of the year. Why build in extra suffering and risk? There are a few reasons really, but paramount is I am competing. Competing with who? For what? Competing for time with my son, Aaron. His options for adventure are great and varied now that he is an adult on his own, with great skills and many talented partners. He likes FreezeFest. He has attended six straight years, but North Wash fare doesn’t move him anymore. So Imlay on Christmas sparks the man-child’s desire for challenge and I am rewarded with time. Time with the man. Last year, the idea was Christmas in Choprock/Kaleidoscope… that was something for him sink his teeth into. This year it was Christmas in Imlay, and I upped it with a plan to climb Ancient Art and Castleton Towers on the following days. He owes me more climbs than canyons anyway, and it is a chance for him to show me his fine skill set. He is on board for this. If I don’t come up with the goods, he will go elsewhere. … Continue reading

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Zion Park Winter Updates

For many people, the winter months are their favorite time to visit Zion National Park. Moderate temperatures, mostly sunny days and no crowds create the perfect conditions for awesome hiking and sightseeing. For some great recommendations on how to make the most of your winter visit, read Sarah’s article on making the most of Zion’s winter months. Here is the latest 2011/12 winter update from the Park: “December signals the beginning of a quieter time in the park with fewer visitors and increased opportunities for solitude. Due to decreased visitation, some services will be reduced or ended for the winter season, announced Superintendent Jock Whitworth. The voluntary shuttle service that provides transportation to the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive on weekends in November has ended operations for the season. The Zion Canyon Shuttle and the Springdale Shuttle will resume regular service on April 1, 2012. For visitors interested in spending the night in the park this winter, the Watchman Campground and Zion Lodge are open year-round. During a trip, the public is encouraged to visit the Zion Canyon Visitor Center for information on park activities and trail conditions. This facility is staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The Kolob … Continue reading

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Mountain Top Reflections: Desert Oasis

My first draft of this blog post was a detailed description of my recent Red Rock climbing trip. The salient points were, a) I am good at climbing rocks, b) I know some good places for Asian cuisine in Las Vegas, and c) I am moderately witty. Realizing I spent far too much time coloring such a story, and valuing your time, dear reader, I will spare you my narrative of rock climbing heroism, and ask you to trust me on these points. What I would rather illustrate is the notion of finding one’s self through suffering. By “one’s self,” I mean some greater understanding of who I am, or what I’m capable of. Whilst climbing last week, on the side of an obscure rock, miles from anybody besides my climbing partner, I found myself fully panicked and hyperventilating. Tiptoeing and thrutching up the face of a mountain, I surprised myself by resisting gravity over and over again. The route (Time’s Up, 5.11d) had an exclamation mark next to it in the guide book; I interpreted this as a sign of exciting climbing, and it certainly delivered. The climbing itself was not unique or terribly difficult, but the protection was … Continue reading

Posted in Autumn, Rock Climbing, Spring, Trip Reports, Uncategorized, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Annual Thanksgiving Blow-Out Sale This Weekend

Though we are open all winter long, Thanksgiving weekend is the final hurrah for anything resembling “crowds” in Zion, so we always hold a sale on Thanksgiving weekend to liquidate the bulk of our store inventory in preparation for winter. This Friday, November 25, through Sunday, November 27, take advantage of huge savings at Zion Adventure Company most of our inventory. We’ll be open all weekend, 8 am to 7 pm. 50% OFF: ZAC logowear, including t-shirts, hats, & visors 40% OFF: Assorted outdoor accessories, like dry bags, Teko wool socks, maps, books, headlamps, and camping gear 30% OFF: Technical gear (harnesses, carabiners, etc.), neoprene socks and gloves, 5.10 footwear Additionally, we are selling off our entire fleet of custom Kokatat Gore-tex Guide drysuits for $199 each! Selected items are excluded from the sale, including Imlay Canyon Gear products, winter fleecewear, & rope and webbing by the foot. With forecasts calling for good weather and temperatures in the high 50s and lower 60s this weekend, it should be a wonderful time to enjoy a few days in the Park. Come to Zion for the weekend, visit our sale, and treat yourself to quality time with friend and family in one of … Continue reading

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October in The Narrows Video

One of my very favorite things about hiking The Narrows this time of year is the incredibly clear water. Unlike April through September, when the Virgin River can be silty or muddy from recent rains, the fall/winter season typically features crystal-clear, blue-green waters… you can see straight through to the myriad river rocks below. The above video, sent to us from a couple recent Narrows clients, shows a glimpse of these conditions, as well as great examples of the deep wades, river crossings, and general splendor a Narrows hike brings. Enjoy!

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