Tag Archives: Steve Ramras

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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Merry Men of Murray Rescue Chuckwalla in Glen Canyon

On September 15th, the crew of the Merry Murray Men and Associates, observed some flooding out in Glen Canyon… Some of us, up close and personal… So when we descended a canyon on September 16th called Maiden Oil, we found much flood debris at the reservoir-canyon meeting spot. Jenny was swimming about when she came upon Godzilla (actually they had another name for he/she, but I can’t recall it right now) among the flotsam. She kindly brought her new friend over to a log. Cold and apparently water logged (swollen belly), our hero was not moving about much. When Drue came along, he told Godzilla, in reassuring tones, to trust him. Godzilla then embarked on a 150 yard voyage in Drue’s helmet, to the waiting boat. I hope Godzilla didn’t have to pee ;-o. After a mile-long boat ride, we were on sun-soaked slickrock, at water’s edge. Jenny took our hero out and placed he/she on the rock. Feeling better, Godzilla headed for the shade, right away. All said our farewells. The next AM we stopped to check in on our new friend and he/she was gone. Off to seek a new home? In the belly of a raven? We shall never know. So I am left thinking that this lizard had been … Continue reading

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Canyoneer Steve Ramras Offers Perspective on “127 Hours”

I think the big question in the outdoor community over the upcoming canyoneer misadventure-epic “127 Hours” is, “Of course the masses will buy Hollywood’s take on canyoneering… but can you sell US?” Early reviews and interviews have offered encouraging promise, but I had yet to hear from a serious member of the outdoor community regarding the film’s authenticity and value. Canyon diehard Steve “Ram” Ramras DID get to see a preview screening with the Ralston family, however, and recently offered this opinion piece on the Canyons Group forum. Interestingly, Ram seems to find the film strong enough that real-life canyoneers will actually get more out of the film than the lay person, a strong testament to both the story and its telling. Thanks to Ram for offering thoughts in his usual down-to-earth style. 10/31/10 I’ll have to admit that the experience and several images impacted so largely, as to still be with me 4 weeks after seeing (“127 Hours”). There is a hand and a Swiss army knife doing a dance early on that had me doing a knowing chuckle. But how do you really display thirst to people fed, watered and comfortable in lounge chair? They succeeded by taking … Continue reading

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Gear Review: Ram Opines on Imlay Canyon Gear “Spry” Pack

Steve Ramras, known as “Ram” in the canyon world, does more canyoneering than anybody I’ve ever met. This guy regularly puts together 14 – 21 day canyon trips, pieced together with partners from his incredible multi-state social network and canyon routes from his vast prior experience and his highly topographic imagination. First descents, 20th descents, returning-after-15-years-away descents… Ram regularly combines them all in one trip. With that kind of mileage under his belt, it’s easy to imagine he has learned a thing or two over the years. So when Ram offers thoughts or advice on gear choice, I’m always interested to hear what he has to say. Ram is a guy with ample access to gear. Each morning, he has the freedom to pour over a full quiver of packs, bags, ropes, carabiners, etc. and choose his plan of attack, a la carte, for the day. (Well, at least at the BEGINNING of his 3-week trips, he does…) Which pack is big enough, but not too big? What combination of ropes will be both high functional, but reasonable in terms of weight and volume. Etc, etc… So when Ram says he finds himself using the same item over and over … Continue reading

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Trip Report: Spearhead Canyon, Zion National Park

Spearhead Canyon, Zion National Park, Oct 14 and 15, 2010 Second descent (probable) by Steve Ramras, Jenny West, Pascal van Duin and Tom Jones Prior History Brian Cabe and I ascended Hook Canyon to the Majestic/Cathedral pass and summit plateau in October 2000, and descended the canyon the next day. We found no evidence of descents in the upper canyon, but the final chimney section (below The Spearhead) was bolted for descent. Steve Ramras and Steve Brezovec made an attempt a few years prior, but were defeated by the incredibly thick Manzanita thrash-fest on the summit plateau, and descended via Hook Canyon. In July 2009, after extensive fires burned off the Manzanita, Luke (Bluugnome) from Las Vegas and companion climbed the Behunin Ridge for an attempt on the canyon, but did not proceed past the summit plateau, exiting via Hook Canyon. Spearhead has substantial logistical difficulties. How do you get to the head? How much rope to carry? Where is there water? Because it is about a day and a half long, perhaps one should do it in high summer with the long days… then again, since it lacks significant water, maybe that is not such a good idea. We … Continue reading

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Pothole Escapes: An Introduction

I recently ran across this highly illustrative portrait of a pothole escape from a Lake Powell canyon in Spring 2009, and I thought it a good example of this infamous canyon character, the Pothole. Potholes have a grand reputation in canyoneering for being some of the most intimidating and diabolical characters around. Back when Imlay and Heaps were scary, don’t-go-there canyons, tales of the freezing, dark, unknown potholes left many canyoneers (including me) more than nervous to go see for themselves. So… what exactly IS a pothole? As seen here, a pothole is basically a big hole in a canyon, drilled out to large proportions by gritty water over hundreds of years. In this particular case, the pothole is about 15 feet deep and perhaps 20 feet in diameter. Because the walls are very to completely smooth, it is typically impossible to climb your way out, leaving your creativity to overcome what brute strength and agility cannot. And thus comes forth the barrage of tricks: pack tosses, sand bags, partner hoists, stick clips, and other techniques ranging from medieval to genius. All the tricks and tools have one simple goal – getting out of the hole safely and efficiently. In … Continue reading

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