Tag Archives: Imlay Canyon

Imlay Canyon Trip Report, 9.2.2012

Went through Full Imlay Canyon with Steve Brezovec and Kelly Birdwell – to enjoy the canyon, of course, and to work on the anchors. Found some interesting things. We started the canyon from Potato Hollow, from the very tip-top there, a few hundred yards higher than I had before. We used a retrievable anchor off a tree in order to not leave a sling visible to the public. Downcanyon a ways, we found a tied off rock for the third stage of a rappel that can be done as a three-stage rap. This rock as cleverly wedged in a slot, but was tied off with some cord which was quite pretty, but had a core of paper (indicating that this cord was never intended for any purpose requiring strength). Further down, we found an anchor tied with a non-knot (versus a Water Knot)… but I guess it held for whomever tied it. Quite a few anchors in the canyon were tied with the Minnesota-clip style of equalization – especially scary since on a lot of these two-bolt anchors, one bolt is an ancient eroded stud-type bolt (very unreliable). We re-rigged 4 or 5 anchors usually with fresh webbing. The upper … 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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Icy Winter Potholes Lead to Shattered Dreams

You might think winter canyoneering would be a breeze. You might think the water freezes in all the potholes, creating little ice rinks you can slide effortlessly across. You might think the frozen water would leave your ropes dry and supple, and your hands warm and gloved. But you’d be wrong. Even now, after I’ve seen dozens of canyons in the winter, I still feel hopeful when I reach the first frozen pool. “Fantastic,” I think, “Maybe the ice is strong enough that we can just walk across it.” I take the first step tentatively, testing the ice. It shifts slightly, with perhaps a slight groan and a bit of watery pulse somewhere deep underneath. By the second or third step, visions of grandeur start to form, and I think I might actually make it across. And then, on the fourth or fifth step, it all falls apart, the ice breaking in large, clean sheets, all at once, opening up for my plunge, hitting the pothole walls, then sailing back at me with sharp, jagged edges. I sputter, try to use the floating ice for support, but realize the futility as ice shards splash my face and threaten my cozy … Continue reading

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Imlay Canyon Anchors In Poor Shape – Bring Webbing!

Descended the Imlay Sneak Route yesterday with Julie from Australia, Anna and Phil from ZAC/Springdale, and Shaun Trackrunner from… Salt Lake? Still a grunt climbing those hills. 5 am start worked well. My main point is the anchors are in horrible shape. We replaced only two; 4-5 more need re-rigging. If you’re going in, please bring plenty of webbing. The anchor for the second-to-last rappel blew out. There were some giant Ponderosa logs in there that are gone, gone, gone. My two bolts on the left are still there, as are the aluminum hangers, but the webbing was pulled from the hangers – without breaking, leaving a slit in the hangers. Wow! Some fools have been rappelling off of the old bolts on the floor – also WOW! Those things are J I n G u S ! ! ! We rigged a long sling back to a log back aways, using the last of our available webbing, just long enough. The canyon was full, full, full, and there were only two pothole escapes. Water was clean and not all that cold. Some Log Soup near the beginning. Near the end of the first narrows, the stump in the V has … Continue reading

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Autumn in Zion: Adventure Season

The season for adventure is ripe in Zion right now. The weather is ideal, crowds have thinned out, and permits are readily available. A huge rainstorm just came through the area, which has cooled things down, and filled the canyons with fresh water. This is the season for frolicking, splashing, and exploring.This month I have had the opportunity to descend Cave Creek, Imlay (via the sneak route), the Subway/Das Boot link up, Echo Canyon, and the daily canyon guiding outside the park. These routes represent the full spectrum of technical canyoneering in Zion. Each descent is unique, beautiful, and remote. I find release in this terrain because it lends itself to creative problem solving and having fun. Descending the Subway with a wetsuit, for example, allows ample opportunities for slipping and sliding, swimming, playing in waterfalls, and enjoying an enchanting natural playground. This is the ultimate form of recreation. Canyons are a medium for play, and while there is a certain risk associated with canyoneering, the exercise of exploring, of flirting with danger, and the unknown satisfies a primal desire. My conversation with guided clients often touches upon the need for recreation. It seems that the average American is overstressed … Continue reading

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Imlay Conditions and Trip Report, September 25th

Did Imlay/Sneak yesterday with Evergreen Dean and a couple of his friends, and Elisa from ZAC and Tim who works at the Lodge. For the first time EVER (well, almost, one odd exception) I encountered another group in Imlay – 4 nice people doing the Full. Imlay Canyon is full full full. Of both water and sand. Only one pothole exit required an assist, others were just ‘beached whale moves’. Okay, the pothole near the end (3rd to last rap) required some log manipulation and difficult climbing supplied by Tim. Some of the pools were skanky skanky skanky… We replaced 3-4 pieces of webbing around logs. Out in the Zion Narrows hike about 6 p.m. A good time had by all. Tom Editor’s note: Find the full trip report and pictorial essay on The Latest Rave.

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