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Thread: Zero G with Varsity Scouts

  1. #1

    Zero G with Venture Scouts

    Sorry peeps. No photos which I realize renders this useless on this forum. But for those who read.....

    It has been a long time since I have been on a rope. I was glad to be asked to
    help a buddy with his Varsity Scouts in a canyon. E-canyoneering isn't the

    I rarely go out to the Swell this time of year but due to my buddy's group plans
    and travel destinations, Zero Gravity was really the only option for this group
    of 16-18 year old scouts. Spidey and I were summoned to help this group
    through. My high school buddy is a Venture Scout leader who is wise enough to
    know the benefits of canyoneering for the boys but also his own limitations in
    canyoneering. Early yesterday morning, Spidey realized that he left his gear in
    his other car which had been lent to another person who was many miles away.
    But hey, it is only Zero G that we were going to right? I had a bunch of rope
    for a zip line, pull cord and a hand line if needed. We had a bunch of webbing
    and I had a bunch of biners and other stuff. I tend to pack for bear
    particularly when going with a group that consists of noobs. I also had a good
    sharp knife for amputation purposes if needed. (The boys and leaders always love
    to hear that just before a new adventure. ;-))

    Despite the shaky beginning of the day with Spidey piece-mealing it with gear,
    we left Mapleton to meet the boys and leaders who had just experienced a sunrise
    at Delicate Arch (lucky) and who would meet us on highway 24. We met them at
    the turn off and ditched their trailer of bikes from their Moab rides and went
    to the trail head. The first question posed to us was from a leader, "Hey
    Scott, this kid just had knee surgery a month ago. However, he was on a wake
    board a couple of days ago. What do you think? Should he go?" Now I am
    sensitive to knee issues since this was my first stemming/rapping canyon since
    my little knee procedure a year ago. I asked him what hurt. He told me that it
    hurts to go down hill. No biggie, that hurts me to. Then he said it hurt to
    put a lot of direct pressure on it or to bend it all the way back in a squat or
    to pull the knee to his chest. Not good. Stemming ahead. Then he said he was
    a starter on this Varsity basketball team - a former life of mine. I
    recommended that he not go. Knees on walls, stemming, elevators.... nope. Don't
    go. I told him he had a long life ahead of him and to get the knees back into
    shape first. The canyon wasn't worth screwing up his surgery, basketball
    career, or knees. Good call???? I hope so, I think so. Next kid to deal with
    was shirtless and had a bit of an attitude. He said he was "good" with a little
    one liter bottle of water. His leader told him to get his camel pack and he
    again insisted he was good. I reinforced the leaders advice by saying that
    where Spidey and I had been asked to help lead a canyon he would not be going
    with us unless he got more water. Harsh? Only as harsh as the desert. Spidey
    took this opportunity to teach all the boys about the desert and water
    consumption. I also recommended a shirt to this kid and others. He begrudging
    got one and stuffed it in his micro Camel pack. Others did the same (remained
    shirtless that is). Next kid in the bunch has some Autistic issues and we knew
    him from Pine Creek last year where Spidey did a great job of helping him to
    overcome his fear of heights and to gain a little confidence and trust. Another
    kid had stitches in his forearm from a wipeout in Moab, one kid said he suffered
    from heat issues the day before. The other kids were just good typical teens.
    Hmmm, an interesting, but a fun group nonetheless. Two of the scout leaders
    would not be going with us so it was Spidey, me and my friend to lead eight boys
    through Zero G. Doable. Before we left, Spidey cut a length of webbing for
    each boy and taught them the water knot. We would use that sling for the zip
    line at the end.

    Our first concern as we started the hike was the heat, and at 10:45 a.m. it was
    already plenty hot. I would estimate mid 90's. Second, was whether there
    would be any water in the canyon. Our third concern would become the bombay and
    the lack of any climbing or canyoneering experience of the boys which became
    obvious as we went through the canyon.

    Off we went. The one kid who had previously complained of heat issues started
    to complain of a stomach ache and heat issues. (Come to find out later he had
    been quite coddled in his life) Ahh no. He was fine. We were only a few
    hundred feet from the trucks. Fortunately my buddy is also a doctor. We
    proceeded and I started to descend into the canyon. I got the "earlies" and
    almost went in too soon which would have resulted in skipping the first set of
    narrows. It had been years since I had done Zero G. Steve, who had been there
    just a few months ago, corrected our course and we arrived at the right spot.
    To my relief under the little arch was still a small pool of water. Whew --
    good sign for the canyon to come. We went in and rather than trying to have the
    boys stem the very first narrow section over the water we went low and into the
    water to not only avoid the weird stemming angle but really to cool off. Did I
    mention it was really hot? As I led out I looked up and there was Spidey,
    calmingly perched on the walls in one of his Spidey poses making sure all was
    well. The first comment I heard from the boys was an irritated "ouch" from my
    shirtless friend. Nothing like a little 120 grit elevator-down climb to make a
    kid want a shirt. Are we building trust yet? I forgot to mention that I had
    more than a few weird looks from the shirtless crowd when I showed up in my long
    sleeve shirt and my knee pads. I told them it wasn't for sun protection. At
    the first down climb into the water I think some understood my long sleeve shirt
    and knee pads. The water was soooo refreshing and frankly it was needed in that
    heat. After more splashing, down climbing, a few choice words from those losing
    skin, we arrived at the nice big open pool. It was at least 10 feet deep still.
    The boys had a great time jumping and goofing off at that spot. We even got a
    few thank you's for us taking them there. Nice. We then pushed forward and got
    to the little keeper. I helped one kid up and out and he sat up there wondering
    what to do. Another kid who was catching on to the canyoneering thing went and
    forged down the little "v" slot into the water and showed the way. Soon all the
    boys were helping each other up and out and down into the water. Team work?

    We soon came to the bombay. My shirtless friend with the typical teen attitude
    mentioned that he had left his sling in the car. He thought we were just
    teaching him a knot. Dude.... I gave him one of my extras. I checked all
    the slings, retied some knots, checked all the harnesses and refreshed them on
    some rapping techniques while Steve quickly set the Zip line. It truly is
    amazing how quickly he got through the bombay, wrapped the cottonwood tree swam
    the pool with a rope and climbed back up through the bombay to start the boys
    through. I was at the first chock stone down climb/rap in that last section to
    help the boys at that spot. Steve was giving instructions at the bombay. It is
    amazing how quickly the boys listened when faced with the down climb and then
    the stem-out over the bombay. It is also amazing how quickly the boys quieted
    down and attitudes changed when faced with the `R' rating of the canyon. It
    became painfully obvious who followed Steve's directions. Those who went low
    paid the price of having to grunt their way back up. Lesson learned? Those who
    stayed high and followed Steve's directions did great. My shirtless friend
    really struggled with trusting Steve and wouldn't follow directions, hence, he
    took a very long time and swore he wouldn't ever canyoneer again. Interestingly
    enough, on the hike out he was heard to say that he wanted to get better at it
    and wanted some more. Sounds like his pride was the only thing that took a
    little beating. Anyway, all safely slid into a gentle splash down in the pool
    prior to the cotton wood tree and we had a great time. I will give one
    testimonial for my helmet. As I dropped from the bombay onto the zip line like
    a large albino missle, my head scraped one of the walls. Glad for the helmet.
    I made a couple of minor mistakes. I attribute them to rust and not having been
    in a canyon for over a year. Probably the worst mistake was pulling the
    handline in the last section before the bombay chock stone. When doing so, a
    small overhand knot formed on the end of the rope that I didn't notice. Oh ya,
    I forgot I had to watch that when pulling a rope. Rust. "Oh Steve" I called.
    He quickly up-climbed and freed the rope. Dang it is good to have him there.
    Oh well great day in the HOT desert with nice cool water. I do really enjoy
    taking teenagers into the canyons. I love the macho attitudes that seem to melt
    away with the challenges. The boys all seemed to have had a great time at one
    time or another. ;-) One father, that of the coddled boy, was particularly glad
    his boy did the canyon. He was beaming. So was his son. The boy who was
    autistic was perhaps the biggest surprise to me. Steve has become somewhat of a
    hero in his eyes from last year's Zion trip and anything Steve told him to do,
    any technique he recommended, this kid did without hesitation. Very cool to
    watch. My what overcoming a fear and challenge can do for a kid!

    One side comment/reminder/warning. The R rating in Zero G is warranted. I had
    forgotten just what a challenge the bombay poses particularly to those who have
    little if any canyoneering experience. Spidey and I had never done Zero G as a
    destination canyon but it was perfect for this group. It was all they wanted
    and more.

    And I finally got back on a rope and I have raspberries on my elbows to prove
    that I still stink at down climbing. I loved being with the boys and watching
    them progress, struggle and overcome. Good day.
    Life is Good

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  3. #2
    As if this wasn't long enough. I forgot to mention, if it isn't obvious, don't bother with a wet suit. Water is refreshing and even warm. I would think a wet suit would be come a death suit this time of year in Zero G.
    Life is Good

  4. #3
    Well, I did miss having pics, but great write-up, Scott! Sounds like a great experience for all concerned.

  5. #4
    I sure think you are awesome Scott!
    "My heart shall cry out for Moab..." Isaiah 15:5

  6. #5
    Thanks guys. I am so awesome that I screwed up the thread title. It should be "Zero Gravity with Venture Scouts" oops.
    Life is Good

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Card View Post
    Thanks guys. I am so awesome that I screwed up the thread title. It should be "Zero Gravity with Venture Scouts" oops.
    You can edit the title when you "Go Advanced".

  8. #7
    Thanks Beech.... "I love technology but not as much as Beech you see... always and forever."
    Life is Good

  9. #8
    Sweet report. Great description, didn't need pics. Mabey someday I can canyoneer with the Mapleton Boys!
    The man thong is wrong.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxx View Post
    Sweet report. Great description, didn't need pics. Mabey someday I can canyoneer with the Mapleton Boys!
    Thanks Jaxx. I hope we can hike a canyon or two some day. Spidey mentioned on Thursday that you two had met a couple of times. I will say one thing for the Mapleton Boys, we're not much to look at but we have a blast canyoneering. Oh, and we know how to cook/eat too.
    Life is Good

  11. #10
    Nice TR. Enjoyed reading it. And I too would like to share a canyon (and a few more meals; you're not kidding about the cooking) with the Mapleton boys.

  12. #11
    Love to share a canyon, Don. However, no biking or swimmin in your B-day suit. We have some standards you know...
    Life is Good

  13. #12
    Moderator jman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Above you and looking down
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Card View Post
    Love to share a canyon, Don. However, no biking or swimmin in your B-day suit. We have some standards you know...
    ●Canyoneering 'Canyon Conditions' @
    ●Hiking Treks (my younger brother's website): hiking guides @
    "He who walks on the edge...will eventually fall."
    "There are two ways to die in the desert - dehydration and drowning." -overhearing a Park Ranger at Capitol Reef N.P.
    "...the first law of gear-dynamics: gear is like a gas - it will expand to fit the available space." -Wortman, Outside magazine.
    "SEND IT, BRO!!"

  14. #13
    Wuh? Mmeeeeeee?

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