Tag Archives: pine creek canyon

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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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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