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Thread: A great weekend for Technical Canyoneering...May 21-22

  1. #1

    A great weekend for Technical Canyoneering...May 21-22

    So the first week of my field camp had ended and we just finished mapping the bedrock right around Delicate Arch and Mill canyon in the Moab area. It actually rained on us for 4 of the 5 days which was a statistical anomaly for Moab but the mapping weather really wasn't that bad. I got to walk all over the area surrounding Delicate Arch and see the perspectives on the arch no one else gets to see when they are only allowed on the trails.
    Here's a few photos from the week while I was out mapping.

    =Delicate Arch from the base of the cliffs=Delicate Arch from the large cliffs to the south. Can you spot the large normal fault?

    =Views near the trail

    =Looking across the valley at the people heading up the trail

    =Mill Canyon panorama.

    For the weekend, four friends in my class us joined me for a fun filled weekend of technical canyoneering. We had to head to Durango Colorado by 8 pm on Sunday so we decided to caravan down to Monticello and all group together in one car and head to the Lake Powell area. By early Saturday afternoon we made it to the starting spot for the first canyon. The east fork of Leprechaun Canyon was the goal and after having a snack, the five of us were off.

    The hike started with the usual cross country desert hiking on the Carmel formation. When we got to the Navajo contact at the upper end of the canyon we dropped in and started through the canyon. Keep in mind I tend to not put photos with people in them in my trip reports so these photos you'll see here may be hard to grasp the scale of these slots.

    For a reference, these slots were on average only a couple feet wide. The walls towered high above our heads and the diffused sunlight lit the walls beautifully.

    We slowly worked our way through the canyons and I managed to get some sharp photos with the point and shoot by holding my breath and standing very still.
















    =Looking down the last rappel where the east fork meets the west fork

    =The last little slot of the canyon can be walked right over

    Once we exited the slot which was only about 3/4 mile long, we climbed up the steep slickrock to the west of the canyon and made the cross country walk back to the car.

    We spent the rest of the evening by taking a short walk to a swimming hole known as Hog Springs and found a great spot to go cliff jumping and cool off.

    =Creek near Hog Springs

    The sunset was spectacular that night and we camped just off Highway 95 at the lower end of Leprechaun Canyon. Cooked ourselves a nice dinner and had a big campfire.

    =Sunset seen from camp

    I slept great despite my sleeping pad not being able to fit in the car with five people and all our gear. Had to leave it at my car in Monticello.

    For Sunday we had a long difficult canyon planned. The Middle fork of West Butler canyon also known as Shenanigans Canyon.

    We woke pretty early and was off back up the Cedar Point Road. This road leads east off highway 95. I have done the upper quarter of this canyon before but was anxious to be able to do the whole thing now that we all had rappelling gear.

    The day started out with the traditional mile or two desert walk. We had to walk around the west fork but we finally made it to the first drop into the Middle Fork after only a half hour. Again, these photos don't have people in them so you'll have to use your imagination. It's cool to imagine yourself in these canyons.

    The lower part of this slot got so narrow (about 10 inches wide) for a 150 foot stretch that even I, at 6 foot 9 inches and weighing only 180 pounds had a VERY tough time getting through. I found myself in one of the most awkward positions ever...turned sideways on my knees with one hand in front of me and the other arm pointed straight up the canyon with my head turned facing the ground.

    In other words, I had to slither my way through. The thought of getting stuck did cross my mind but after enough forcing I made it through. The other guys with me also had some trouble even being a foot shorter.

    Here's the photos from inside this canyon.
















    =This one, although blurry shows an area we had to belly crawl on a ledge with a large drop off on our left. The rappel anchor was located on the other side of the ledge shown.





    =The last 15 meter rappel into a pool that dumps us out into the wide open Butler Wash.

    Once we finished the last rappel out of the slot it was smooth sailing down the open Butler Wash for about a mile until we were able to climb out the exit route, a faultline canyon, back to the top where the car was parked. This climb wasn't easy and it sucked the remaining energy out of us all as it was a difficult class 3 upclimb.

    =Walking through the vibrant Butler Wash

    =Beginning the climb

    =Views as we climb out of Butler Wash.

    This canyon took us the better part of six hours and we got to the car at 3:30 pm...just in the knick of time since we had a four hour drive ahead of up to make it to Durango by 8:00 that evening.

    When we made it back to Monticello we all basically scattered to our own cars in a matter of seconds and didn't even bother to re-claim our gear.

    We made it to class with only a half hour to spare. Out of all the people in the class we had the best weekend (Well, in my opinion). Week 2 of field camp was then underway right at 8. I talked to many of my other friends who spent the weekend in Arches NP or Canyonlands NP and took their time getting to Durango.

    I like the pace we set however on Monday we were all soar and tired and were pretty sluggish during our mapping exercises... lol

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  3. #2
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Lemke View Post
    For Sunday we had a long difficult canyon planned. The Middle fork of West Butler canyon also known as Shanagains Canyon.
    Nice pics, though you might want to get sorta social, at some point, and put some people in em.

    Ain't yu won uh dem Kollage boyz? Seema lak U cuwd a spelt Shenanigans all proper like und al.


  4. #3
    Sorry about the spelling...I'm in college getting an engineering degree. Spelling isn't required!

    As for people in my photos...I'm social about the trips but I just don't like to see anything man-made...including people in the landscape type of photos I enjoy taking.
    Thanks for commenting though.

  5. #4
    Your photos are killer, as usual. But I'm with Tom, occasional photos with people in them can be very powerful and do wonders to put the viewer into the experience. I've been scanning thousands of photos of my grandfathers from back in the 50's. He travelled a lot, all over the 4 corners area and it's made me think a lot about my own style of photography. The conclusion I've come to is that in 50 years, no one really cares about the pretty landscape shots unless there's someone in them. Just thought I'd offer my opinion, not to derail the pure awesomeness of this trip report of course.

  6. #5
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Lemke View Post
    Sorry about the spelling...I'm in college getting an engineering degree. Spelling isn't required!

    As for people in my photos...I'm social about the trips but I just don't like to see anything man-made...including people in the landscape type of photos I enjoy taking.
    Thanks for commenting though.
    People are not man-made, they are woman-made!!! OK, a man had a TINY part in the process...

    T

  7. #6
    I understand your opinions and I actually do take lots of photos of people in them with my cameras but I typically don't include them in the TR's I post on the internet.
    I have lots of people pics on my computer to keep the memory of the trip alive. I just frame and posted the landscape ones for the internet.

    Would people also like to see the pics with people in the TR's? I would imagine it bringing up debates with some of my friends who don't want pics of them on the internet which has been another reason I usually avoid people pics.

  8. #7
    It's no biggie. A sweet TR is still sweet regardless of people in the pics. Personally, I prefer to see some people, but I say do it how you like to do it. You can't go wrong with pics like that.

  9. #8
    Thanks for the nice comments...you can look at this album if you wish to see perspective within the canyon. There's people in some of these photos.

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...743.1617101963

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  11. #10
    Zions the "s" is silent trackrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Lemke View Post
    As for people in my photos...I'm social about the trips but I just don't like to see anything man-made...including people in the landscape type of photos I enjoy taking.
    don't worry I also don't post helmet-less pictures for Tom to see.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by trackrunner View Post
    don't worry I also don't post helmet-less pictures for Tom to see.
    FaceBook does serve a purpose. ;-)
    Some people "go" through life and other people "grow" through life. -Robert Holden

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  14. #13
    First, nice shots. You have some great stuff.

    Second, I have to disagree with the idea that nobody cares about landscapes without people. I prefer them without, although maybe I'm just a closet hermit. It takes some skill to shoot landscapes with people without having the resulting photo become either a portrait (and not a landscape) or that horrible "I was here" shot so common on blogs and the like. My own experience is that people tend to ruin landscape shots unless a) the viewer personally knows the subject(s); or b) the subjects are unidentifiable, as in a silhouette.

    Either way, hope you post another one of these.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jb View Post
    First, nice shots. You have some great stuff.

    Second, I have to disagree with the idea that nobody cares about landscapes without people. I prefer them without, although maybe I'm just a closet hermit. It takes some skill to shoot landscapes with people without having the resulting photo become either a portrait (and not a landscape) or that horrible "I was here" shot so common on blogs and the like. My own experience is that people tend to ruin landscape shots unless a) the viewer personally knows the subject(s); or b) the subjects are unidentifiable, as in a silhouette.

    Either way, hope you post another one of these.
    I tend to agree. There are landscape shots, people shots and people shots in a really pretty landscape. To me people are the focal point in a landscape shot therefore it becomes a people shot. I don't know if that makes any sense but I too like a clean landscape shot. Don't get me wrong, I like people shots in pretty places too.
    Life is Good

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    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Card View Post
    I tend to agree. There are landscape shots, people shots and people shots in a really pretty landscape. To me people are the focal point in a landscape shot therefore it becomes a people shot. I don't know if that makes any sense but I too like a clean landscape shot. Don't get me wrong, I like people shots in pretty places too.
    like....

    (sorry, a bit over-sharpened).
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  17. #16
    Yep. That is it. The people mess up the landscape shot.
    Life is Good

  18. #17
    Beautiful! So does the Grim crawl in Shenanigans now have a fixed anchor? When I did it last our most experienced down-climber was meat for the rest of us. Or did you just find a good natural anchor? Love those canyons. Hate the Monkey Business/Shenanigans exit. But worth it.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by phinux View Post
    Beautiful! So does the Grim crawl in Shenanigans now have a fixed anchor? When I did it last our most experienced down-climber was meat for the rest of us. Or did you just find a good natural anchor? Love those canyons. Hate the Monkey Business/Shenanigans exit. But worth it.
    If everyone does the crawl, there is a chockstone with webbing on it, though it could be down climbed, it's safer to rap. It's a long fall if you eff up the DC.

  20. #19
    When we went through Shenany we found a scary little deadman that was usable. However, if you farm rocks from below the Grim Crawl you could build a pretty beefy deadman. IMO the safest spot would be upcanyon a bit and require a fair amount of webbing, perhaps 30-40 feet. One would have to take care not to groove the wall when farming rocks and pulling ropes when doing things that way. Very soft stone right there.
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  21. #20
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slot Machine View Post
    When we went through Shenany we found a scary little deadman that was usable. However, if you farm rocks from below the Grim Crawl you could build a pretty beefy deadman. IMO the safest spot would be upcanyon a bit and require a fair amount of webbing, perhaps 30-40 feet. One would have to take care not to groove the wall when farming rocks and pulling ropes when doing things that way. Very soft stone right there.
    Or, one can complete the Slightly Intimidating Crawl of Mild Discomfort, and toss a sling around one of the many chockstones on the other side. It seems unlikely that a group in Shenanigans would not have someone in the group capable of doing the downclimb safely. We went through last weekend and removed a sling on one of those chockstones - it was blue.

    Tom

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