Category Archives: Summer

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

Virgin River Flash Flood Video

Mike and Seth caught some revealing footage of the Virgin River in scary flash flood mode as it carried a huge cottonwood tree down-river like an insignificant Poohstick. See how dark the water is? The color comes from the high load of silt, mud, and rock the river picks up in a flood event. 95% of the erosion in Zion happens in punctuated events like this, where sudden, heavy rains create high-volume, high-velocity river conditions that pick up tons and tons of sediment and move it downstream. Once the momentum gets going, all that debris can scour banks and displace large areas of sediment, replacing ankle-deep shallows with deep pools, and vice-versa. It’s super fun to explore the river after a flood event like this and try to find the best “new” swimming holes the flood has created. The guys filmed this footagee just above the Springdale River Park, where we pick up tubers at the end of their runs. Seems like tubing would be a little extreme with that amount of water and debris in the river, don’t you think? If you want to see a flash flood, I highly recommend a viewing it from a safe place like this, … Continue reading

Posted in Natural History, Safety, Seasonal, Springdale, Summer, The Narrows, Tubing, Weather & Climate, Zion National Park | 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

Lightning Fatality Urges Caution During Summer Storms

While I usually think of lightning incidents as more of an alpine danger occurring in the Sierra Nevada or Rocky Mountains, this is the second lightening fatality this summer in the Desert Southwest (the other was about a month ago at Grand Canyon). While approaching thunderstorms can be thrilling to watch, PLEASE watch them from a safe place. When “very safe” places like vehicles or buildings are unavailable, do your best to distance yourself from high points and trees. If you can, sit on something insulating, like a backpack, sleeping pad, or rope. Canyons are generally safe places in terms of lightning, as you are between two high points, whereas places like Angels Landing are very dangerous in a lightning storm. Look here for detailed information from USFS ranger Melanie Fullman on the science behind lightning and specific recommendations on how to be safe in a lightning storm. Lightning Causes One Fatality in Bryce Canyon National Park An international visitor was killed by lightning along the Rim Trail between Sunrise and Sunset Points in Bryce Canyon National Park on Thursday, August 18. The victim was identified as Volker Kunz, 51, from Hamm, Germany. At approximately 12:20 PM, Mr. Kunz and … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Hiking, In the News, Outdoor Leadership, Safety, Summer, Weather & Climate | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Narrows Injury Highlights Importance of Good Equipment

Picked up this story from Narrows hiker Glenn Jones (below) on the Yahoo Canyons Group. Though Glenn wasn’t intentionally advertising for us, his story tells a convincing story about why proper footwear and a sturdy hiking stick are so helpful in The Narrows. “Do we really need the rent equipment to hike The Narrows?” We hear this question often in our store, and our answer is always the same: No, you absolutely don’t need to rent equipment to hike The Narrows, but investing in gear innovated specifically for The Narrows hike helps you accomplish three key goals: 1. Greatly reduce the likelihood of injuries from tripping and falling. Sprained ankles are the most common injuries in The Narrows, followed by sprained wrists, dislocated shoulders, all resulting from tripping and falling due to poor traction and ankle support. 2.  Hike The Narrows comfortably. Spend your time and energy enjoying the breathtaking landscape, taking pictures, and enjoying your companions instead of staring at the ground, picking rocks out of your shoes, and fixing broken show laces. 3. Save your hiking boots and/or sandals from destruction. If you’re in Zion, chances are you have many more hikes on your vacation agenda. As Glenn’s story reflects, … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, Gear, Hiking, Outdoor Leadership, Reflections, Safety, Summer, The Narrows, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Pictorial Grand Canyon Report from Photographer Dan Ransom

From my favorite canyoneer/photographer, Dan Ransom. Click the image above for the complete slideshow, and check out more of his work on his outdoor adventure photography site. Back to the Grand, finally… I was only a few days removed from the operating room table in early june when an email for this trip came from Slawa. Barely able to walk, I laughed it off. But in the back of my mind I thought “Man, how awesome would it be to make it back by then?” “So, how about some hot, hot Kanab canyons on Aug 5,6 and 7? We’ll meet the night of Aug 4 on the Kanab Plateau. Rich is leading this one. It will be HOT, it will be MISERABLE – 4:00 AM departures to avoid the heat of the day, but it will be sooooooo AWESOME! Dan – honey – I will carry your stuff! And no need to make a decision now. Just keep this on your calendar and let me know when time arrives.” Alas, I’ve been able to get out on a couple overnight adventures in the last two weeks, and figured my fitness to be a bit better than I thought, even if … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Grand Canyon, Photography, Seasonal, Summer, Trip Reports | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

‘Tis the Season: Late Summer Adventures in Zion

Ahhh, August is here. The desert is still hot, the thunderstorms are coming and going, and for many it is the last chance for a summer adventure. I offer this post as a guideline on how to maximize this time in Zion and the surrounding area. Climbing, for me, is the most important form of recreation, so I will start there. There are few sports that offer such extreme physical challenge and such inspiring rewards. Even when it is 100 degrees outside, climbing in the shade is amazingly reasonable. Shady cragging opportunities exist all through the main canyon for those who can find the right aspects and times of day. One of my favorite summer climbing areas, Kolob Canyon’s South Fork of Taylor Creek, features cool temps and shade most of the day. Perhaps the most exciting and challenging summer climbing I have done is in Kolob on Huecos Rancheros (5.12c) and Namaste (5.12a). Also, Last Rites (5.10+) is a super-fun single pitch finger crack with a bolted start. St. George also has some fun summer climbing opportunities. Enjoy the novelty of Veyo’s Crawdad Canyon Climbing Resort; if you go, don’t miss “The Fly” (5.11c), right off the pool deck. Snow … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing, Seasonal, Summer, The Narrows, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Trip Report: Zion Narrows Top-Down Thru Hike

I ran (ok, trotted) through the Zion Narrows from the top last Sunday (7/13/2011). Here is what I found: 1. I had never done The Narrows from the top in highish water. It was MUCH more difficult than I expected. There are many obstacles in the upper part of the Narrows (above Big Springs) that require quite a bit of hunting around to find a reasonable route. With water high, plunging into the river was not always an option. 2. There were maybe five required stream crossings that were thigh-waist high with strong current (i.e. where being swept away was a real possibility). 3. I ended up taking about five swims. I would say two were mandatory. The water was nice and warm-ish, so shorts and (Sport Science) tee shirt was fine, and the air temps were high enough to not require stopping and warming up. 4. I was somewhat concerned about the other 11 hikers on the 6:30 am Chamberlain shuttle. But, I guess they did OK. It is a BIG DAY, I hope they all realize it. I was hoping to match my time of 15 years ago, six hours. No way! About 15 minutes of breaks, moving reasonably well, … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Hiking, Seasonal, Summer, The Narrows, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Cold Conditions Persist in Keyhole and Pine Creek Canyons

With high temperatures in the 90s to 100s, Zion canyoneers often expect to roast in the toasty sun. Depending on canyon conditions, however, unprepared canyoneers can be in for a rude and shivering awakening while descending particular canyons. Zion saw a long, cold, and wet spring this year, and as a result, Keyhole and Pine Creek canyons are currently very cold, full, and wet. If you’ve been to Pine Creek before and found the pools shallow and reasonable, odds are it was a “shallow” year, when the pools were filled with sand, and thus fewer and shallower. This year is definitely a “deep” year, with long, cold, deep swims that makes things pretty exciting. It can be difficult to understand the hypothermic risk in there when you’re sweating in the sun at the trailhead, but a few long, cold swims in 60-degree water, combined with a lack of sunny spots and a chilling canyon wind, you can easily find yourself chattering uncontrollably. The past two weekends, all our clients who rented wetsuits for Keyhole and Pine Creek reported were quite glad to have had them. Here were some of their comments: “The water is cold, and there is a lot … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Gear, Safety, Seasonal, Summer, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Lake Powell Boaters’ Update

Wondering what is going on in Glen Canyon? A fantastic winter snowfall in the Rockies is currently melting, and on Friday, July 1 the inflow to Lake Powell measured 78,849 cubic feet per second. At the same time, the outflow of water released down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon to Lake Mead was 24,522 CFS, which is the maximum power generating capacity of the electric station at Glen Canyon Dam. As a result, Lake Powell is currently rising eight inches each day; the Lake level has risen ten feet in the last two weeks. The result for boaters is a myriad of dangerous obstacles barely covered by water, capable of injuring boats and boaters alike. In addition to the rocks, the rising water is floating once-beached logs, bark, and trash, creating additional hazards. Some Specific Lake Powell Notes: • Wiregrass Canyon (behind Lone Rock( currently has at least five rock hazards just below the current water level. • The entrance to Labyrinth Canyon is very difficult to navigate at the current water level. • The camping area at Lone Rock Beach is disappearing daily, as the rising water submerges more of the sandy beach. This is true of … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Lake Powell, Seasonal, Summer, Trip Reports | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments