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Thread: Rendezvous...Fiddle Me This AKA "The Ditch"

  1. #1

    Rendezvous...Fiddle Me This AKA "The Ditch"

    So I finish Mystery on the second day and cruise up to the board to see what has been posted up for the next day.

    Alas, no one has gone balls out and secured a permit for Imlay or Heaps. I swear, next year I'm going to secure a permit for that and hand select a crew of hotshots with the goal of getting through it in time for dinner back at the Rondi. Probably the sneak route...we'll see.

    The board is packed with the usual...Eaglestead, Pine, Birch, Mystery, etc...so I sign up to go through Spry.

    Soon after, I ran into Hank Moon. He asked Scott Card if I was any good, and Scott said "Yeah, he's good". I think that was my vetting process.

    O.K., so...(I'm speaking in hushed tones right now) Hank tells me that he's putting together a group to go through a kinda, sorta secret canyon that is ghosting only. Would I like to come along? Well, hell yeah!!!

    So we hit the trail in the morning. The crew was Felicia, TJ (who, as you can see from the picture below, is just too cool for the room), Wayne and Marlene, who are two good friends from Colorado, Mr. Hank Moon, and me.

    The first rap was a 200'er, from a Fiddlestick. I'd never seen one of these before, and Hank gave us a demonstration of how to (and not to) put it together. I gotta tell you, he's all over that thing. My opinion of it is that it's friggin' bomber...just look at that picture of it below. Actually, that's the (sing it with me, boys and girls) "Smooth Operator".

    As long as you're not the last person down, I think it's great. If I were the last one, I'd want to make sure the rap has a soft landing...one little slip up with the pull cord and you're SCREWED. Hank Moon has balls of steel, by the way.

    The rest of the hike was mostly downclimbs and very small raps. I think the fiddle came out one more time and we also used a sandtrap, another device I'd not seen before. Pretty nifty, I gotta buy one of those. When I say I'm old school, I'm not kidding.

    So let me explain the "naked swim". You know when you get to the first crappy hole that you can't avoid and everyone drops their packs and kinda...start to put on the wetsuits and kinda...look around. Well, I decided to drop a fun bomb on the proceedings and jump right in naked.

    It was hilarious. It looked like a sure swimmer, but I was able to enter with my pack above my head and wade in. Soon, the water got higher and higher, right up to my chin with me giving a progress report all the way: "Tippy toes! Tippy toes! I was laughing so hard I almost fell over. So was everyone else, judging by the riot behind me. Truth be told, I just wanted to see if I could make TJ blush. But really...I'm vain enough to try and make it through the canyon dry. We didn't have any real beta on what lie ahead and in the past, I've been able to stem or ping pong above or around it all (in other canyons) while my friends had to wallow in the muck.

    My hopes for dry shorts were dashed about 15 minutes later, as I and everything I had was soaked and covered in mud.

    So that's it! Lest any wacky rumors get started, I DID NOT GO THROUGH THE ENTIRE CANYON NAKED! I certainly wouldn't have pulled that stunt if there were any married couples or young'uns present...I may be slightly crazy but I'm not creepy. Just for the record.

    Soon enough the drops end and the canyon opens up. Just then, we were hit with a mini epic rain. It came down for 15 solid minutes...hail, too. A big waterfall comin' down the wall, the steam beads below us with a little flash action. We contoured a bit, caught the trail we were on in the beginning and went back up to the truck.

    I was very happy to meet both Hank and Felicia, as I've admired them both here. It was also neat seeing the ghosting tools in action. And I made fast friends with both Wayne and Marla. TJ sold me about $600 worth of swag, so I was certainly happy he was around. Speaking of TJ, he looked like a canyoneering catalog...check out that pack he's wearing. I gotta buy one of those, I reckon if he's sporting it, it must be the shit.

    As for the canyon, I named it "A shittly little side canyon of a shitty little side canyon that leads to something good" It occurred to me that the locals are starting to pick off the drainage ditches around the rim. In other words, pass it up...unless you want to practice your ghosting skills and risk it all on the first rap!!!

    Sorry guys, I can't help myself!

    It wasn't all that bad, there were a few nifty downclimbs in there. I only took three pictures! Probably because of all the mud.

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    Life is what you make it. Everybody knows that...right?

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  3. #2


    Byron, thank you for your discretion in posting photos. May the canyon gods flush the pot hole that you entered in the buff before I get there.
    Life is Good

  4. #3
    nice TR.

    I have done LAPAR on the Smooth Oporater many times and it is not sketchy at all if set up correctly. Heavy folks rapping first tighten the rope a lot on the stick and proper placement of the pull cord is important. Also, you probably don't want flowing water pulling on the cord. The fact that the stone knot gets tighter with each rappeller helps a lot and also that you don't have to reset the knot for LAPAR.

    It's great that more people are getting over the fear (due maybe to unfamiliarity?) with these new techniques since they lessen our impacts on the rock. It really helps avoid rope grooves.

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  6. #4
    Damn you Byron. Had I known you were coming down...
    !!!CORONAVIRUS PSA!!!

    • Toilet paper won't save you from Covid-19.

  7. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by rockgremlin View Post
    Damn you Byron. Had I known you were coming down...
    You missed out, it was a LOT of fun. Perfect location, too. I was hoping to see you and Slotmachine and Tom, mostly.
    Life is what you make it. Everybody knows that...right?

  8. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by deagol View Post
    It's great that more people are getting over the fear (due maybe to unfamiliarity?) with these new techniques since they lessen our impacts on the rock. It really helps avoid rope grooves.
    I can dig it. It's just that it seems a bit too sketchy...and I actually like sketchy. Too me, it's a last resort kind of thing, unless somebody else wants to risk their neck, of course.
    Life is what you make it. Everybody knows that...right?

  9. #7
    the first "big" (not as big as some raps, but easily big enough to kill) rap I did as LAPAR with the Smooth Operator was the first drop in lower Granary Canyon. There is a little "pucker factor" but it is mostly in your head, assuming of course, everything was set up properly. I've done a good amount since then and it gets better.

    I was very releaved to see just how much tention was needed on the retreival line to pop it out after I was down. I think LAPAR should always be the one to rig it...

    If you want a place to practice near Denver, Staunton might be a good option, although it is a bit of a drive. To bad Red Rocks is illegal.... it would be perfect.

    Oh, and I DON'T like sketchy ....

  10. #8
    PMing you my cell so you can keep me in the loop.
    !!!CORONAVIRUS PSA!!!

    • Toilet paper won't save you from Covid-19.

  11. #9
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron View Post
    You missed out, it was a LOT of fun. Perfect location, too. I was hoping to see you and Slotmachine and Tom, mostly.
    I was sad to have missed meeting you.

    but I was here:
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #10
    I reckon that's Redwall Cavern. Great shot!
    Life is what you make it. Everybody knows that...right?

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  14. #11
    Small world. I just met Wayne and Marlene last week in the N. Wash Sandthrax campsite. Cooool! Thanks for sharing.

    Sent from my HTC6525LVW using Tapatalk

  15. #12
    Byron - you rock!!!! Great trip report and awesome memories!
    Some people "go" through life and other people "grow" through life. -Robert Holden

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  17. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by WorkBad View Post
    Small world. I just met Wayne and Marlene last week in the N. Wash Sandthrax campsite. Cooool! Thanks for sharing.

    Sent from my HTC6525LVW using Tapatalk
    Did you hike with them? Wayne has climbed all the highest points in all the National Parks. He only has one left on his list...Mt. St. Elias. Marlene is a great hiker, too. She was out in front on this trip and I gave her a little lip about it (for getting out ahead of the group) until she showed me that she had the rope.
    Life is what you make it. Everybody knows that...right?

  18. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Felicia View Post
    Byron - you rock!!!!
    Oh...you rock too, don'tcha know!
    Life is what you make it. Everybody knows that...right?

  19. Likes Felicia liked this post
  20. #15
    Here's a few more pics from the ditch. I shouldn't have bagged on it that much...it was fun. We burned more than half a day in there.

    When the beta on this one gets "published", I think it might be worthy to combine this with the more well known canyon it leads into making a full day for a fast/fit group. Photos courtesy of Wayne.


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    Life is what you make it. Everybody knows that...right?

  21. Likes Felicia, hank moon liked this post
  22. #16
    Scott, the view you've been waiting for!

  23. #17
    Oh God! Please don't encourage him!
    Life is what you make it. Everybody knows that...right?

  24. #18
    Life is Good

  25. Likes Felicia liked this post

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