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Thread: The Subway - Zion

  1. #1

    The Subway - Zion

    I plan to apply for a Subway permit in mid-June and have a few questions. I have read in two places that a 60' rope is needed and in another article a 100' rope is necessary. Which is it? I noticed some picture that looks like a single side of the rope goes through the ATC. I'm more familiar with putting both sides of the rope through the ATC to rappel. (we will be taking a two day canyoneering course before attempting the Subway) I am also debating on whether I should purchase an 8mm or 9mm rope. I'm thinking the 9mm rope but I don't like the idea of carrying that much weight and I also think the 9mm might have better friction for the ATC. QUESTION #2 In addition to the discrepancies in the rope length, I have read where the trail is pretty well marked and another article states the trail takes some really good route finding skills. QUESTION #3 Which is better for the Subway, a wet suite or dry suite? I read wear someone wore a jacket and long johns under their wetsuit. What kind of jacket? Will all that thick clothing actually keep you warm when the water seeps into the wetsuit? We will also be applying for a walk in permit for the Narrows and I'm thinking dry suit. Any suggestions/opinions out there? Thank you for your advice. Donna Gail

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  3. #2
    60 foot rope. Stop by Zion Adventure and pick up a Canyon Fire 8.3 mm. You will love it.

    Use both sides of your ATC. Also known as 'rapping double'.

    The more you prepare for the route, the easier it will be. If you just wing it, it will be quite hard. Use a GPS. Or, even better, recruit someone experienced from Bogley to go with you.

    I hate carrying crap through the Subway. Especially a wetsuit. Splash... scream... warm back up. Repeat. Painful, but waaayyy better than lugging a wetsuit for 9 miles, IMO.



  4. #3
    First off. Good luck getting a permit for June. Then follow Bobs advice. No wetsuit generally needed. Harnesses aren't needed but do make it easier so that is a personal choice. If you want people familiar with the route it won't be hard to recruit somebody but it isn't really necessary

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  6. #4
    1: Here is a video of the one "rap" in Subway, or some call it navigating a steep rockface. Only the end is really tricky. Skip to 4:48. a 2 day course is way overkill IMO, but still cool since you might want to do harder future canyons that actually do have raps in them.
    2: Here is a map. It's not super hard navigation. just have a general "heading" of where you are going and follow the rock cairns til you get in the slotty part.
    3: It will be 100 degrees outside, but the water will be freezing cold. Very light wetsuit, or nothing. Like others have said, kinda a toss up of carrying the extra weight 10 miles in 100 degree weather, or being cold for short durations while you traverse pools.

    Have fun! And remember, if you can't get permits for Subway. Orderville is just as gorgeus (ends in the narrows) and much easier to secure. :)
    Your safety is not my responsibility.

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  8. #5
    We did Subway in April with a 50ft rope. It was a little short on one of the raps so I ended up rigging it for a hanging disconnect. Luckily there was water below otherwise I would have had to dig out some webbing to lengthen the rope. So 60ft will be perfect.

    We had dry suits, but that was only because we went through Das Boot first. In wet or dry suit.

    Make sure you have a variable speed ATC if you are going with the thinner ropes. All my climbing friends freak a little the first time they rap on a 8 or 8.2.

  9. #6
    60' Rope.

    Everything you need to know about the Subway is here:

    Subway Route Information

  10. #7
    Thanks for all the tips. We do have one person in the group that has done the Subway several years ago so we won't be totally green. As the group organizer, I personally feel the need to be as prepared as possible. As far as the 2 day canyoneering course I requested an advanced course since the group is already familiar with single rappels, climbing and mountaineering. So hopefully, we will just spend 2 days exploring some awesome canyons with less instruction. The video links sent are helpful. We plan to be in front of the office June 13 & 14 weekdays for a stab at a Narrows permit. If we can't get the Narrows the first day, we will try for the Subway and have another chance for the Narrows and/or Subway. And if someone from Bogley wants to join us, feel free to invite yourself. Thanks for your help!

  11. #8

    The Subway - Zion

    What dates? I might be interested in tagging along.

    Edit- 13,14 June ... Didn't read the whole post. Unfortunately only weekends work for me.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  12. #9
    More FUN in a 3 mm wetsuit, you can enjoy the watery spots

  13. #10
    My husband and I just got back from Zion. We took a 1 day canyoneering course through Zion Adventure company and it more then prepared us to do Subway from the top on our own a couple of days later. Since we took the course through Zion Adventure Company, they rented us all the gear we needed to do the subway including the ropes. We had wetsuits, which made it more comfortable. I just wore my 2 piece bathing suit under my wetsuit. The water levels are pretty low compared to what I had read about and there was really only one place where we truly had to swim. So if you don't mind being cold for a short time, you probably won't need a wetsuit especially if the weather is hot. is a good website for information. The longest repell is 30ft. A significant amount of the approach is over rock. There are plenty of cairns to keep you on the right path.

    There is a lottery online for last minute permits for Subway. You can sign up for the lottery starting 7 days before the date you want. The lottery closes 2 days before at noon. According to the NP website, walk-up permits are only available if all available spots were not taken in the last minute lottery. We ended up getting our subway permit through the lottery

    You don't need a permit to do the narrows from the bottom up. It you go up as far as you are allowed from the bottom, to Big Springs, it will be just over 9 miles. Hiking the narrows from the top down in 1 day doesn't seem like much fun. Its almost 16 miles and most of it is in the river. Everyone I've talked to says its much more enjoyable as an overnight trip from the top down. You won't need a wetsuit to hike the narrows. We saw some people wearing dry pants, and you can rent these at Zion adventure company. We both wore five ten canyoneering shoes with wetsuit booties, and I would highly recommend renting them for hiking in the river.

    Hope this helps!

    Have a great trip

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