Trip Report: Zion Narrows Top-Down Thru Hike

High water makes for exciting times in The Narrows

I ran (ok, trotted) through the Zion Narrows from the top last Sunday (7/13/2011). Here is what I found:

1. I had never done The Narrows from the top in highish water. It was MUCH more difficult than I expected. There are many obstacles in the upper part of the Narrows (above Big Springs) that require quite a bit of hunting around to find a reasonable route. With water high, plunging into the river was not always an option.

2. There were maybe five required stream crossings that were thigh-waist high with strong current (i.e. where being swept away was a real possibility).

3. I ended up taking about five swims. I would say two were mandatory. The water was nice and warm-ish, so shorts and (Sport Science) tee shirt was fine, and the air temps were high enough to not require stopping and warming up.

4. I was somewhat concerned about the other 11 hikers on the 6:30 am Chamberlain shuttle. But, I guess they did OK. It is a BIG DAY, I hope they all realize it.

I was hoping to match my time of 15 years ago, six hours. No way! About 15 minutes of breaks, moving reasonably well, 8 hours 9 minutes.

Tom

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About Tom

Tom Jones is an inventor, author, entrepreneur, gear tester, photographer, and, first and foremost, a canyoneer, living in the hamlet of Mt. Carmel, Utah, on the east side of Zion National Park. Tom is also a valued member of the ZAC Guide Corps, weaving in numerous training and guiding days amongst his myriad adventures and responsibilities.
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