Tag Archives: canyon conditions

Recent Conditions for Boundary Canyon and Heaps Canyon

Descended Boundary Canyon and Heaps Canyons this past week (June 23rd and 25th respectively). Both are in OUTSTANDING conditions. Boundary Canyon – Flowing about 5 CFS – enough to be intimidating and a little pushy, but not enough to be dangerous to canyoneers with Class C experience. Wonderful waterflow. Amazing canyon in near-solstice light.  Be careful setting anchors to avoid sticking a rope, and bring an extra rope or two just in case.  The walk-out down Kolob was an hour slower than usual because of the 15 cfs flow in Kolob – slow going, but not difficult.  The MIA trail is a little spotty in places (more than usual) after a big, wet winter. Heaps Canyon – Filled to the brim and cold. Lots of water, but also plenty of sand washed in over the winter, eliminating at least one long swim near the end. Still very physical and demanding. Excellent solstice light made it brighter and prettier than usual.  For the first time in 10 trips, I encountered another party in Heaps at the final raps, which delayed us 1-1/2 hours.  We hiked from West Rim Trailhead starting at 5 am – this was at least one hour too … Continue reading

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New Website Reports Canyon Conditions Via Crowdsourcing

Wondering if the snow has melted out of Echo Canyon yet? Or maybe you want to know if conditions in Pine Creek still warrant a wetsuit? While you can always query canyon forums like the Yahoo Group or Bogley, it still may take 24 hours or so to get an answer… and the answer may not be too fresh. To remedy this glaring hole in the world of canyon adventures, the new site, Candition, aims to serve the sole purpose of collecting and reporting canyon conditions so you can know what’s happening in your descent of choice. Though I can’t say I understand the system completely, the concept is pretty simple. Canyoneers set up an account, then create a trip report, including notes on the descent and a rating of 1 -5, indicating whether conditions are prime (5) or blah (1). Candition averages the last five ratings, then shows the score with the canyon name as you browse. Scores are color coded, making it easy to sort the “perfect” conditions (purple) from the “terrible” (red). When a rating becomes more than 2 weeks old, it “expires” and doesn’t count any more. So I’m wondering: How useful is the rating? While … Continue reading

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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.”

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A Day in the Guiding Life

My day today begins as many have over the past few months. Greeting clients, directions to the restrooms, overview of what our canyoneering trip will likely entail. As we chat, I am attempting to distill insights into their desires and motivations from seemingly idle chatter. At no point in the day will I have less information than I have right now and yet I must make decisions that will determine the outcome of our day. The pantheon of the winds have been particularly irascible of late; the last three mornings have dawned angrily, like an old man trying to send back cold soup in a deli. Zion has no care for my schedule or your vacation plans. I decide to take advantage of this morning’s remarkably clear and cool skies and head down to Water Canyon; it has flash-flooded since the last time I have been there so I anticipate deeper pools, and some mud and sand lining the canyon walls but I still feel as though I am visiting an old, familiar friend since I have been denied access to this particular location on several of my last trips. My clients and I are becoming very well acquainted by … Continue reading

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Canyon Condition Report: Echo Canyon, 7/19/2010

I meandered up to see how the melt-out was progressing in Middle Echo Canyon this morning. With all this hot weather, seems like it should be getting close to ready to open up soon. Arriving at the canyon crossing on the trail, I was not too surprised to find the pools full and flowing slightly (maybe 1/10 cfs). I pulled on a wet suit and plunged in to the cooling water. Seemed to go pretty well with only one largish snow chunk up into the “Echo Chamber”, and then after about 30 minutes of climbing upcanyon, I encountered the first serious obstacle. In a narrow section, several very large chunks of snow/ice were pinned 20 feet above the canyon floor, dripping furiously, and perhaps 50 feet long. Passage beneath was easy. A few minutes past that, a 20-foot-tall plug of snow on the canyon bottom blocked the way; it was broken into chunks and had re-frozen. I considered climbing past this section, but could see some broken down trees in the canyon above this, and felt I was still quite a ways from the last rappel. I was also solo, so pushing the envelope was not in the equation. I … Continue reading

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