Tag Archives: Kolob Creek

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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Canyon Video: Kolob Canyon Descent by Nick Como

There are only a few Class C canyons in the Zion area, and Kolob is certainly the most reliable for good water flow. Problem is, most of the time there TOO MUCH agua running through it because Kolob Creek is the outlet to Kolob Reservoir, which the Washington County Water Conservancy District uses control river levels downstream. If the District is releasing water, the risk of drowning in Kolob Creek is high and descents should wait until a safer time. If you’re thinking about descending Kolob, be sure to call the Conservancy District (435.673.3617) on a weekday to get the release schedule. If the Creek is flowing 5 CFS or less, it should be reasonably safe for canyoneers experienced in Class C conditions to descend the drainage. If you have your sights set on Kolob, but the flow is too high, consider Boundary Canyon, a near neighbor, which often has a safe flow in high water years.  

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Big Water Canyoneering in Kolob Creek

Kolob Creek is one of Zion’s most prized descents, a remote canyon falling off the high plateau near Lava Point. Unlike most of Zion’s technical canyons, Kolob Creek flows year-round, fed by the dammed waters behind Kolob Reservoir. This has a nice side and a nasty one. Nice side: the beauty, music, and magic of a flowing canyon is simply wonderful. Nasty side: it is easy to get in over your head (figuratively and literally) in a flowing canyon, as the hydraulic power of flowing water can be tremendous, deadly, and difficult to predict. Due to its high elevation, the descent season for Kolob Creek is relatively small. 5 cfs is the general MAXIMUM recommend CFS for a Kolob descent; finding a time when the flow volume is under this benchmark can be trying. Though snow melt varies tremendously year-to-year, the water volume is usually too high for a safe Kolob descent until at least June. This year, the flow is still dangerous at the beginning of August, an example of how variable snow melt can be. In addition, during dry years, the water district executes regular reservoir releases into Kolob Creek, typically a week at a time. So even … Continue reading

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