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Thread: Heaps June 2014 - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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    Heaps June 2014 - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

    Visited Heaps a couple weeks ago with a friend from Vermont who did Imlay with me a couple years ago. It was sweet, mostly. We gave it two full days, essentially, planning on bivying near the end, but were tired enough after the Phantom Valley Narrows to chill out, enjoy the afternoon/evening sun and camp at the Crossroads. A huge flow of clean sand had flowed out of the South Fork of Heaps (which goes up to Isaac Canyon) and provided a veritable clean beach for our camping pleasure. This flow continued down through the crossroads and the Great Sandy Corridor, and into the final narrows of Heaps, smothering the first third, all the way to the Iron Room. It covered up at least two keeper potholes that I was worried about. Past there, Heaps was relatively clean, wet and cold.

    There was one place where bolts had obviously pulled out - hope no one got hurt! This spot was just after the "Devil's Pit" spot, and the challenging climb over the vertical log. 20 feet further is a rap down a short wall into a slot that runs right at a right angle to the previous section of canyon. A small ledge, tiny actually, leads right to where the floor comes up a bit - still to far for the person in this chair to jump. I swam back to the vertical log and climbed back up, ran a rope around the log near its top and used that to rappel. Pulled easily. A very hard climbup on that side, though...

    The Good

    Heaps, of course. What a beautiful canyon. A great pleasure to proceed through it at a slower pace and soak it in. We had at least two somewhat challenging pothole escapes, and I rediscovered a technique Scott Holley had worked out years ago - the pack-shoulder-strap step up. The best way to use your floating pack is to adjust one shoulder strap out to full length, then to stand on it. This got me fully 12" of height easily. Unlike trying to stand atop a floating pack, your foot controls the position of the pack and you can keep it from trying to move away and keep it in tight, thus being able to get the most out of it.

    The Bad

    Lots of trash in the canyon. Bits of candybar wrapper and waterbottles at the suit-up spot. Other little bits of junk here and there. A 60 foot x 10mm rope left at the bottom of the last rappel IN the canyon. A sandal. C'mon folks. Heaps is a sacred place - we can do better.

    The UGLY!

    1. At the crossroads - a firepit with a fire laid ready to be lit and a pile of firewood. (facepalm) - C'mon kids, if you're gonna have an illegal fire, at least remove the evidence when you are done. Laying a fire for the next group - totally uncool. Disperse that sheet, please.

    2. A fixed line at the gully climb-up???? C'mon, please. Sure, fix a handline for your group if you want, but then TAKE IT WITH YOU. Leaving a handline is just leaving trash. You are NOT doing a favor for future parties. I think we can assume that the next group will have the cojones to climb the short 5-easy or 4th class and rather secure chimney.

    3. A pile of human feces where I take off my wetsuit. Unfrakking believable! I like to climb the aforementioned 4th class chimney before I de-suit and repack for the final rappel sequence, and was 'rather disappointed' to find a pile of feces there at the top, where I spread my gear out and re-pack. Makes me cry. Really? A. if you are going to be unloading in a narrow canyon, do so in a bag, a poopbag. Carry one in your pack. B. if you are going to unload somewhere in a canyon and NOT use a bag, please do it in a place where no one will ever find it. But on top of the pillar there - ????%&^&*$^%$&*!!!! And no, it is definitely NOT funny.

    I pitched the feces into the void 3 feet away. We were pressed for weight and space, so I did not, unfortunately, pack out the ropes and shoe. Did collect a ziploc full of small pieces of trash...



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