Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Three Grand Daddys

So far I have had a very active canyoneering season.  Very low snowpack and now clear blue sunny skies and long summer days.  This has contributed to ideal conditions to venture into the slot canyons of Zion National Park.  There are 3 canyons in Zion that stand out as being difficult and challenging.  I call them "The Three Grand Daddys".  I have been down all three canyons multiple times over the past decade, but I have never canyoneered down all three in the same year.  I started out with a very early descent of Imlay canyon back in April.  I then made a quick trip down Kolob with Marty just a few weeks ago.  Making a trip down Heaps was not high on my list of things to do this year.  Although it can be a fun canyon, it is very challenging and strenuous, therefore, I usually go 2-3 years in between descents.  Being so early in the canyoneering season and having already completed two of the three canyons I shared my desire to make a trip down Heaps this year in order to do all three of the Grand Daddys in the same year with my ranger buddy, Andrew Fitzgerald.  Yesterday was the day to do it.  A perfect forecast, nice hot temperatures to endure the cold slot and a long day of sunlight.  Andrew, myself and Tully started hiking at 6:30 am and after 3 grueling hours of steep hiking we began our descent into Phantom Valley.  We had the canyon to ourselves and enjoyed the challenges of this canyon.  All three of us are experienced climbers and canyoneers and in good physical condition. We made it back to our truck in exactly 12 hours which is a fast time for Heaps.  Now I have completed my goal of descending all three Grand Daddys in the same year.  Cool!