Category Archives: Spring

Gray Fox Kits Emerge From Their Dens in Zion Canyon

Noticed this photo update on the ZNP Flickr page. The little foxes are getting big and bold enough to get out of the den and into adventures outside. Not sure where this is… but it’s somewhere in Zion Canyon. Let us know if you see one in the Park!

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Alternatives to Hiking the Zion Narrows During Spring Flood

Extraordinary precipitation this winter/spring has resulted in high water levels in The Narrows this spring, closing the world-famous hike for the last two months. Since the snow pack remains significant in the watershed’s higher reaches, we expect The Narrows will remain closed another 2 to 4 weeks. So many Zion visitors plan to hike The Narrows, and we have the ugly job of telling all these folks, day after day, they can’t explore this place they’ve heard so much about and have travelled so far to see. Visitor reactions fall across the board: mad, sad, frustrated, crestfallen… a few hesitant hikers are even glad to have an convenient excuse to miss The Narrows. But the upside of this whole situation, the thing we try to help everyone see, is there are TONS of world-class activities in Zion that can be just as rewarding as The Narrows hike. If you are bummed to miss The Narrow on your current or upcoming trip, please peruse the following ideas for ways to turn that frown upside down and make the most of your visit. Fabulous Day Hikes 2- to 4-hour hikes like Angels Landing, Observation Point, Emerald Pools, and Hidden Canyon offer breathtaking views, great … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Families, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing, Seasonal, Spring, The Narrows, Weather & Climate, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Access West Rim Trailhead Via Wildcat Canyon While Snow Melts

It may be dry and balmy in Springdale, but there is still a lot fo snow in the highcountry above Zion. While the big snow pack works on melting away, hikers planning routes starting at the West Rim Trailhead may be better off starting at Wildcat Canyon, rather than tromping a couple miles through 6″ of snow. While a Wildcat start adds four miles to the West Rim, it’s a beautiful and mild way to begin a stunning hike. Below are two separate updates from ZAC shuttle drivers, Steve Woodford and Bill Westerhoff, who drove shuttles up to the Lava Point turnoff yesterday (5/11): I dropped a couple off at Wildcat this morning then took a German hiker up to the turnoff to Lava Point. There is fresh snow(maybe 6″). The dirt road is impassable to drive with a Sprinter. I also gave the hiker trail info and pointed out the knee deep lake inundating the road about 300 yards down.I gave him the option of returning to Wildcat and informed him that Wildcat would be an extra 4 miles more than if I dropped him off at the asphalt edge at Lava Point. He was happy with this option and … Continue reading

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Quick Birch Hollow Trip Report

Descended Birch Hollow yesterday. Still flowing. Water flows right over the downclimb routes at the early down climbs. We were able to avoid getting in more than knee deep. Got wet from pools and spray from waterfalls. Didn’t use suits. High temp was 80 in Springdale. We were a bit cold at times, but not drastically uncomfortable. Water below knee in Orderville. Winter mudslides have made the early part of the steep ascent to the Orderville meadow a bit arduous and difficult to follow. Dave

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Video: Subway Hikers Rescue Three Overdue Hikers

In a collection of close events, adverse high-water conditions in The Subway caused three separate canyoneering parties to spend unplanned evenings in the canyon two weeks ago. Two of these parties, a couple who had spent 3 nights out and a single man who spent one night, were helped out of the canyon by a party hikers who have been generous in sharing their experience with the larger community. Below is a video account, in two parts, of the group’s experience in Subway on April 19th. Thanks to Anthony Dunster for recording and editing the team’s adventure.

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, In the News, Outdoor Leadership, Seasonal, Spring, Trip Reports, Videos, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Prime Spring Canyoneering Conditions in Fat Man’s Misery

One of my favorite things about canyoneering is the living, changing nature of the canyons themselves. By visiting canyons across the seasons, we get to see all the different personalities they can take on, which create really fun reactions inside US. I noticed this great example on the Yahoo Canyons group of a guy who visited an “old” canyon and found something completely different from his expectations. This in from canyoneer Mike Schasch, via the Canyons Group: Was in Misery yesterday with a shortie wetsuit. 4th time in there and it was the most full I’d ever seen it. 4-5 swims, lots of deep water, very cold. Full wetsuit is ideal. The river looked doable, levels have been dropping, but we took a gully to the right at the confluence so we didn’t have to go down it. Mike Canyon conditions continue to be wet and cold, but don’t let that stop you from heading to Zion for some great fun. Prepared with a good wetsuit or drysuit, a flowing canyon means great adventure. Flowing water provides great canyon “music”, fun challenges, interesting obstacles, and plenty of opportunities to splash around like you’re a kid again.

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Snow Almost Gone Throughout Zion’s High-Country Trails

This from Buzz Burrell. Trans-Zion is from Lee Pass to the East Entrance, via the West Rim Trail, East Rim Trail, and a number of others. Sounds like the TRAILS are pretty much snow-free at this time. Not sure about the road to Lava Point.   Re: LA VERKIN CREEK TRAIL A bunch of people ran Trans Zion last Sunday; they said it was easy, and in fine shape except for a touch of snow. Trans-Zion probably gets run a few times a month nowadays, with the main season being from now until the end of May; by June it’s too hot. * La Verkin Creek will be fine in late May; you’ll get your feet wet for 10 seconds a few times. * Trail running shoes are BY FAR the best choice for canyon hiking because the water drains out in seconds and they dry out entirely shortly after; boots are horrible for the reverse reason: they will get really heavy and will stay wet. * Some people try sports sandals because they drain water the best; this is a terrible idea as they actually weigh more than running shoes, provide far less support, have pressure points to develop … Continue reading

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Wet Spring Conditions in Birch Hollow

A few interesting things to glean from this video of a recent (4/29) Birch Hollow descent: • Birch is still flowing (2 -3 cfs, from the vid?), which makes for a fun and interesting decent of a usually-dry canyon. Birch is NOT somewhere I’d want to be in a flash flood, but the relatively constant nature of spring melt makes for great wet conditions. • These guys demonstrate a nice variety of assisted-downclimbing and rappel techniques, along with the benefits and detriments of each. Definitely entertaining and educative to compare. •  The author notes that while the canyon was fun, it was also cold and slow. The entire party was numb halfway through, which probably decreased the fun value. Bringing wetsuits or drysuits would have likely made things a lot more comfortable.

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Two More “Overdue” Subway Hikers Emerge

Two more overdue hikers, Matthew Files, 35, and Nate Simon, 22, both from Massachuetts, found their way out of The Subway area yesterday morning after spending an unplanned stay overnight. From this report from Fox Channel 13, it’s unclear exactly where they were or how they got there. Evidently, they were separated from their party, but details are murky. I like how the reported spins it as an “unplanned overnight adventure” rather than something like a “near-death experience”.   All this overdue hiker business is causing a stir, and the St. George Spectrum called us yesterday to discuss the route and conditions. Our resident Outfitting Diva, Shelley Buckingham, offered reporter, Scott Kerbs, some thoughts on Subway planning and preparation for spring conditions in general.

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Recent Zion Canyoneering Conditions Report

We’ve been talking to canyoneers coming through the store lately, asking about conditions in the popular technical canyons. Here are a few recent briefs: Pine Creek (4/16) “Water flow heavy. A LOT of swimming and a lot of belaying to get folks to anchors. Not recommended for folks without flowing water experience.” “Class C the whole way. First rappel: Flowing water will push you immediately into the  second section, must be ready for it with slack on your line. 3rd rappel: Must be on belay to safely set rope for the descend (we used a line from someone still on the log overhang prior to entering the pool before the drop. Swimming all the way to the 4th/5th rappel, which were no problem. Don’t bring beginners at this time.” Keyhole (4/16) “Water flowing but still fun and straightforward if you are prepared for cold water.” Birch Hollow (4/?) Recently reported as flowing. Little detail available. Fat Man’s Misery (4/16) “Much cold water in the slot sections… protection recommended. Heavy flow in Parunuweap forced us to use the loose gully exit, which kinda sucks, but not too bad. Flowers just starting to bloom… should be fantastic in a couple weeks.”

Posted in Canyoneering, Safety, Seasonal, Spring, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , | 1 Comment