Tag Archives: subway zion

Trip Report: Russell Gulch and Subway, 9/9/2011

With beautiful weather and the upcoming ACA Rendezvous, many people may be planning a visit the Subway soon. The following trip report details the conditions I found on last Friday, September 9th. Springdale Forecast: Partly Cloudy, High of 90, 30% chance of Scattered afternoon thunderstorms. Group Size: Two 10:30: Started hiking at Wildcat (would have liked to start earlier to avoid afternoon rain) 1:30 Arrived top of Subway Slot (where Russell Gulch meets Left Fork) 2:30 Arrived Red Cascades at the end of the “technical section” 5:05 Finished Hiking at Left Fork We started with the Russell Gulch Variation at the beginning. There were 5-10 wades and one short swim in that section, before the “Subway Proper.” In the Subway itself, we encountered 5-6 swims. The swims were not that long (some as short as 3-5 feet long). We waded up to the waist at least 8 more times. The water was significantly colder for the first half of the hike, up until near Rappel 2 where the black bowling ball chockstone is. This is also where the water begins flowing in the canyon (no flowing water, only still pools up to that point). The water was a bit warmer after that … Continue reading

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A Portrait of Zion’s Dramatic “Subway”

ZAC client, Felicia Bicknell, was kind enough to send a few photographs along after her Subway descent last weekend, and I thought this image was exceptional. Her well-placed panorama captures both the micro and macro beauty of The Subway; from the marvelous “subway” tunnel to the clear, green pools and subtle cascading ripples, this canyon holds true magic. Felicia notes the spring floods have washed an enormous degree of sand from North Creek, making for much deeper and dramatic pools than has been typical in recent years. If you are planning to make photography a priority on your Subway descent, it’s a great idea to leave the trailhead early (5 – 7 a.m.) to get your best shot at having the canyon to yourself. Light conditions vary greatly during the day and with the seasons, however, so anyone serious about nailing the right conditions in The Subway might have to visit a number of times to get things just so.

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“The Subway” Is Open For The 2011 Season

As of noon yesterday, The Subway is open to both Top-Down and Bottom-Up hikers. Remember, whether you do the technical descent (from the top) or the scenic hike (from bottom), you’ll need a permit from the Backcountry Desk. If you’re interested in the Top-Down route, make sure you have the skills and equipment for a safe descent. Don’t know what skills or equipment I’m referring to? No problem… you can learn everything you need to know with our Half-Day or One-Day Basic Canyoneering courses.

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Video: Subway Hikers Rescue Three Overdue Hikers

In a collection of close events, adverse high-water conditions in The Subway caused three separate canyoneering parties to spend unplanned evenings in the canyon two weeks ago. Two of these parties, a couple who had spent 3 nights out and a single man who spent one night, were helped out of the canyon by a party hikers who have been generous in sharing their experience with the larger community. Below is a video account, in two parts, of the group’s experience in Subway on April 19th. Thanks to Anthony Dunster for recording and editing the team’s adventure.

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Two More “Overdue” Subway Hikers Emerge

Two more overdue hikers, Matthew Files, 35, and Nate Simon, 22, both from Massachuetts, found their way out of The Subway area yesterday morning after spending an unplanned stay overnight. From this report from Fox Channel 13, it’s unclear exactly where they were or how they got there. Evidently, they were separated from their party, but details are murky. I like how the reported spins it as an “unplanned overnight adventure” rather than something like a “near-death experience”.   All this overdue hiker business is causing a stir, and the St. George Spectrum called us yesterday to discuss the route and conditions. Our resident Outfitting Diva, Shelley Buckingham, offered reporter, Scott Kerbs, some thoughts on Subway planning and preparation for spring conditions in general.

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Recent Subway Trouble Highlights Dangerous Spring Conditions

While there are LOTS of fantastic ways to enjoy Zion right now, hiking The Subway is not one of them. Due to dangerous high water conditions and a flurry of “lost hiker” reports in the last two weeks, the Park Service has closed The Subway until further notice. While nobody has been seriously injured or harmed, this story from KSL Salt Lake City features video from the crew that helped out hikers who spent four days stranded in the Subway last week. While The Subway has a reputation as a moderate, beautiful hike which is appropriate for families and kids, risks involved in The Subway are VERY contextual. In mid-June, when rain is rare, temperatures high, and days long, The Subway can be exceptionally hospitable. Even then, however, you still need to have proper equipment and knowledge to manage short rappels, downclimbs, and cold water. During periods of heavy rain or snow melt, however, The Subway quickly becomes an intimidating and life-threatening place. Though some canyoneers do have proper equipment, experience, and training to descend The Subway in high-water conditions, most use good judgment by going elsewhere to better conditions, and returning on a better day or season.

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Trip Report: Winter Conditions in The Subway

For all those hardy folk interested in the Bottom-Up Subway hike in January, we had two customers try it yesterday. They mentioned a LOT of rockfall out there and they had to climb over boulders to get down to the river. They reported about 10″ of snow along the river banks, as well as ice, some of which is “black ice”. They also mentioned plentiful pine trees in the drainage, which looked like they had come down recently. It is slow-going out there; they said in order to have any time at the pools, they suggest an 8 am start time. Jesse

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The Subway: A Classic Canyoneering Route in Zion National Park

I came across some wonderful images of Zion’s Subway route the other day, and the photographer, Daniel Peckham, graciously granted me permission to display them here. Above is the climactic “subway tunnel” after which The Subway takes its name. The colors in this section are dazzling; it looks like someone dumped a truckload of gasoline in the water, creating the shimmering, iridescent colors typically seen in oil or fuel. I asked a local botanist about this once, thinking the colors might be from a bacteria in the water. Turns out the colors come from chemical leached by a few different plants in the area. Either way, it’s nice to know these sorts of visual effects are completely natural (and nicely captured by Mr. Peckham). A little ways past the classic subway section, this micro slot creates a gorgeous whitewater flume and showcases the fault-induced nature of The Subway. The canyon, properly called the Left Fork of North Creek, runs directly above a minor fault line, creating the weaknesses that the water follows downcanyon. Over millions of years, water followed the narrow fault cracks through the harder Navajo sandstone and reached the softer Kayenta layer, below. Since the Kayenta layer erodes … Continue reading

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