Tag Archives: Keyhole Canyon

Great Video on The Narrows & The East Side

The LiveWell Network produced some great introductory videos on Zion last year, but I hadn’t seen them until recently. This segment focuses first on the Riverside Walk and The Narrows, then later on exploring the East Side. The “little slot canyon” Greg pokes into briefly is Keyhole Canyon, one of the easier slots to find and explore in the Park, but you can’t get very far without getting wet, and you can’t do the lower half without rappelling skills and gear. LiveWell taped their segments in November, a great way to find a virtually empty Park AND some of the best light you’ll find in Zion all year. To get a sense of November is Zion, you can watch all four segments of the LiveWell “Zion National Park” program on their website.

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‘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

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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

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Trip Report: January Descent of Icy Keyhole Canyon

As a year-round resident of Springdale and Zion, I can say yes, sometimes even WE take our surroundings for granted! Winter often brings mud, rain, and colder temperatures to the Canyon, making canyoneering more challenging to enjoy in frigid water. For me, winter is primarily for down jackets, skiing, and staying DRY. So, in the midst of my winter canyoneering sabbatical, my friends from Cumberland Transit in Nashville called and said they were visiting mid-January, before hitting the Winter Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City. They had all seen the movie, “127 Hours”, and wanted to have a similarly epic experience. Hmmm, I thought, this might be tough. So, we thought about the North Wash area, thought about Blue John Canyon, but snowy conditions in Southern Utah prevailed, so my friends decided to come to Zion, which would provide great hiking, even if a canyon wasn’t do-able. When they arrived, the weather was nice and warm, but I knew the canyon would be frigid and icy, so we decided on an afternoon descent of Keyhole Canyon, a short-ish 2-3 hour canyon on the Zion’s east side. Another group I knew had descended Keyhole the previous week and said they wish … Continue reading

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Exploring Zion from the Inside Out

If you asked me a year ago how I would want to spend my days off, “rappelling down canyon walls” probably wouldn’t have been my first response. Being 45 years old and xxx pounds, rappelling into dark, wet canyons wasn’t the first thing in my mind. Yes, I was adventurous. And yes, I loved to find activities that blended body, mind, and spirit. And yes, I was always looking to explore new things. But going into places that require me to trust ropes and anchors with my life, where there is no option to turn around and go back, where I must work my way through canyon walls without being able to put my feet on the ground… no, that was not the way I hoped to spend my free time. Now at 20-something and 120 pounds, when I could make my body do just about anything, this type of adventure would have been just what I was looking for. But at 45…? Let me give you this warning: once you have tried canyoneering, you will keep looking for the next slot-shaped fix. In March of this year, when I was informed that I would be doing a 60-foot rappel … Continue reading

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