Saturday, July 23, 2011

Parunuweap Canyon

This week I completed the summer scout trip with our troop. We backpacked into the back country of Zion and rappelled through Fat Man's Misery. We are down to 2 scouts in the troop so we recruited the varsity scouts this year as Andy Powell (scoutmaster) and I (assistant scoutmaster) both have sons in the varsity troop. We had 6 boys and 2 leaders. The first day we canyoneered through Birch Hollow, a side canyon to Orderville Canyon, with 11 raps and a short hike out. We had a lot of fun through the canyon and the boys learned how to rappel from difficult stances. The next 3 days were spent exploring and hiking through the upper reaches of the East Fork of the Virgin River also known as Parunuweap Canyon. This route requires rappels, swims through pools, hiking upstream in a river and steep scrambles up sandy rocky chutes. Hot summer temperatures, bugs, poison ivy and searches for springs and water sources. We saw no other humans throughout our whole trip and we truly felt like we were in the wilderness. Just how I like it. Eric was a great help and partner and my years of taking the other scouts on back pack trips had paid off as they were prepared for this rugged trip. I took the boys to Oscars for a murder burger on the way home. They cleaned their plates, all of them!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Imlay Canyon

Yesterday Eric and I picked a perfect day to canyoneer through Imlay Canyon in Zion National Park. I had wanted to take Eric down this Zion classic as he has matured into a great canyoneering partner and he had yet to experience this very technical slot canyon. The weather indeed was perfect with a cloudless sunny sky, cool morning breeze for the steep hike up and warm temperatures for the cold slot. Even the Virgin River in the Narrows was running clear so we could see the rocks as we stumbled out of the Narrows to finish off the day. Imlay has many rappells and we had the ropes out a lot negotiating the many drops in the canyon. No need to hook out of any pools this time through as the canyon was full of water. However, there was a lot of debris from trees this year left over from the record breaking snowfall and water flows through Zion this year. These logs proved to be our most difficult obstacle in several sections. Many of the slings and rappel anchors were in poor shape this year and Eric and I spent some time replacing and improving a few of them. The canyon took us 11 1/2 hours to complete and of course we stopped in at Oscars before driving back home. Eric was a strong partner and is beginning to remind me of his brother Marty. Another great day in Zion!


I went on a climbing trip to Vedauwoo. It is a climbing area near Cheyenne, Wyoming. Nick has been telling me about it for over a year, so I found the time to drive up there and stay with him. My friend John Tully came with me and we also took our mountain bikes with us. Nick and Emily were great hosts and fed us well while we were there. The Wyoming weather was a bit fickle but in the end we were able to do everything we wanted to do. I will just have to remember to take long sleeve shirts and pants with me any time I go to Wyoming even if it is in the middle of July. The mountain biking at Curt Gowdy State Park was great! I did go down hard once which left me with some bruises. The climbing at Vedauwoo was stout! I had heard about the off-width cracks it is famous for, but experiencing them was another thing. When I go back there again I will take knee pads, thick climbing pants and the biggest cams I can find. By the third day I was beginning to figure out the climbing better, but by then I was bruised sore and quite tired. Tully and I stayed in Midway on the way home and did hit Little Cottonwood Canyon the final day to do a little climbing on a classic Fred Beckey route before driving the rest of the way home.