Category Archives: Trip Reports

Trip reports from our staff and clients

Trip Report: Misery Canyon, March 3rd

March 3rd, 2012 proved to be a beautiful day. Stetson, Ben, Zach, Jake, Brandon, and I starting off through the pass west of Checkerboard Mesa around 8am. We had snow here and there, with the occasional posthole-worthy pile. The backside of the pass was sunny and dry. At the start of the canyon, we waded through pools with 1/8″-thick ice on top. The water splashed up on the walls of the canyon would usually freeze before the next person went through. We also enjoyed a few swims, breaking the thin ice as we went. Most wet sections ended in sunny exits that helped you forget how cold they were, right before you got to the next one. We got into the grotto section around 1pm and the canyon was beautifully lit with the little light that was able to get in. We had a nice cold swim under the natural bridge and welcomed the warm spring just below. The East Fork of the Virgin River was flowing just enough that we were able to float out when we stayed in the main channel. The canyon was gorgeous and made for a wonderful day not to be forgotten! Dustin Hymas

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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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Trip Report: Prime Winter Conditions in Pine Creek

We went through Pine Creek last week on 1/9 with four people. We were thinking of doing the Subway, but heard that two people doing it the weekend before had lots of trouble and it was an ice rink. So, on to Pine Creek! I am not a fan of cold + water + winter + neoprene, so when I say it was really nice, it probably means it might have been the BEST winter conditions ever! The first downclimb is all dry, a 10 foot drop, then just some ankle deep water to get to the first anchor station. The first rappel lands you in water about chest deep. Then, dry, dry, dry… The Cathedral room has a dry landing, but a crux-like way out with a little swimming and muscling out of the lip. Then, dry dry dry… Then… a huge, fresh, dead bighorn sheep! It must have fallen from the top, and it spans the canyon right before a climb down the ledge-y log. Ewww… that thing is going to start smelling soon. I’m used to seeing legs, random rib cages, etc., but this is a full-size, fully bloated bighorn. So, check it out, and have fun. We had drysuits, … 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

Yankee Doodle Canyon Video by Jeff Guest

Canyoneer and budding movie-maker Jeff Guest, who won our 15th Anniversary Video Contest earlier this month, recently posted another fun adventure video, this one featuring a fairly large group descent of Yankee Doodle Canyon. My favorite sequences are the ones where Jeff uses his camera boom to self-film (isn’t it weird how his wrist stays still while everything else moves?), and the ones where the guys run down the canyon in fast-forward, creating some serious blitz speed. While I’m not sure I need to see every single person descent every single drop, Guest keeps the pace pretty brisk, and the music and his occasional speed variations do their part to keep my interest. If I’d never been to Yankee Doodle before, I’d probably think it’s about 4x longer than this video makes it appear… nothing like the power of modern media to distort reality, for better (in this case) or worse. Nice work, Mr. Guest.

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Canyoneering Images from Garden Creek, Grand Canyon

Mr. Ransom and his camera have been out of house again, much to the delight of armchair canyoneers everywhere. See what where he went in his gorgeous pictorial trip report. After you’ve whet your whistle, plan a trip to Garden Creek Canyon yourself, with beta from Todd Martin’s new Grand Canyon canyoneering guidebook, Grand Canyoneering.

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Trip Report: Russell Gulch and Subway, 9/9/2011

With beautiful weather and the upcoming ACA Rendezvous, many people may be planning a visit the Subway soon. The following trip report details the conditions I found on last Friday, September 9th. Springdale Forecast: Partly Cloudy, High of 90, 30% chance of Scattered afternoon thunderstorms. Group Size: Two 10:30: Started hiking at Wildcat (would have liked to start earlier to avoid afternoon rain) 1:30 Arrived top of Subway Slot (where Russell Gulch meets Left Fork) 2:30 Arrived Red Cascades at the end of the “technical section” 5:05 Finished Hiking at Left Fork We started with the Russell Gulch Variation at the beginning. There were 5-10 wades and one short swim in that section, before the “Subway Proper.” In the Subway itself, we encountered 5-6 swims. The swims were not that long (some as short as 3-5 feet long). We waded up to the waist at least 8 more times. The water was significantly colder for the first half of the hike, up until near Rappel 2 where the black bowling ball chockstone is. This is also where the water begins flowing in the canyon (no flowing water, only still pools up to that point). The water was a bit warmer after that … Continue reading

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Canyoneering Trip Report: Kolob Creek, 9/8/2011

Descended Kolob Creek last Thursday with Carol Petrelli, Heather McIlvenna, Kev Swanson and Dan Ransom… Releases from Kolob Reservoir: They are alternating weeks of zero release and 3.5 cfs release. This was a week of zero release. Looked like about 1 cfs under the bridge, was about 1/2 cfs at the first rappel. Tame as far as waterflow. The water was clear and cold, of course. Most of us were comfy in 4/3 wetsuit with some booster type stuff. Most anchors in good shape. There are new bolts since last time I was in there (which was a couple of years ago). The chilliness convinced us to stay down in Springdale, so we got a little bit of a late start. Left the West Rim TH at 8:30, first rap at 10:00. Finished the last rappel about 1:00, to the MIA about 5 pm, up to the road in an hour and a half, another hour to the car. 11 hours total at a casual pace. A wonderful canyon. Nice that the irrigation schedule allows us to get in there this year, this early. For some good photos from our day, check out Dan Ransom’s pictorial trip report. Tom

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ZAC Memories from John Heusler

This in from John Heusler, a guy who’s been with us since the beginning. Thanks, John! Wow… so much to say about Zion Adventures. Jonathan is without a doubt hugely knowledgeable and insightful about his craft. Besides being a great businessman, he is a heck of a nice guy to boot. We first met just about 15 years ago, when the company was in its infancy, on a cold February day. Jonathan outfitted us with dry gear to hike up the Narrows. He warned us of all the dangers and also pointed out the details of what to look for in terms of beauty. Things like “pictures in the rocks.” Keep your eyes peeled for lots of subtleties that are, in themselves, breathtaking. Ice was everywhere, but it didn’t stop us. We hiked all day and arrived back just in time for them to close the shop. What a trip it was! Since then I have hiked just about every single hike there is in Zion, and every time, I stop in for gear and help from the helpful staff at Zion Adventure Company. NEVER will you find a more accommodating group than this one! Kudos my friends! Congratulations on … Continue reading

Posted in Hiking, Reflections, Seasonal, The Narrows, Trip Reports, Winter, ZAC Events | Tagged | Comments Off

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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