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Thread: Boundary Canyon - Down then Up

  1. #1

    Boundary Canyon - Down then Up

    On July 5th, 2016, Steph, Meg, Christian, Cole and I descended Boundary Canyon. But we didn't want to do the stinkin' hot MIA exit in the middle of July! So we fixed a few ropes then jugged back out.

    Descending Boundary required almost no effort. Jugging out on the other hand, was pretty physical. Although we did spare each other some grunt work and took turns enjoying an elevator ride up on a 2:1 haul. FUN!

    In the end, even if I had an anvil in my backpack, jugging out was WAAAAYYYY more fun than the MIA exit! The canyon was cool, the required teamwork was engaging, and the scenery was great the entire time.

    The ropes we used were:

    200 x 2
    100 x 3
    40 x 1
    20 x 1

    We spent the entire day in the canyon, mostly because it was 30 degrees cooler than back at camp, but also because we are slow at ascending. At the end of the afternoon we hiked back to the cars on the old logging trail, mostly in the shade. It was a tremendous workout, and a memorable day with some of the most fun people I know.

    Bob

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    Taking a break at the halfway point.

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    SuperCole, flying up the flute.
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    Meg going up a freehang with prusiks. Now that is a workout!
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    http://amazingslots.blogspot.com/201...n-then-up.html

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  3. #2
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    Agree, the best way to do boundary.
    We called it a yo-yo.
    I was exhausted...
    Boycotting imlay canyon gear because I value access

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    Guns don't kill people--Static Ropes Do!!


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  4. Likes harness man, arnellfam, Slot Machine liked this post
  5. #3
    Nice post - great pictures! Where did you fix the ropes to jug out? By my count you didn't have enough ropes to ascend the same route you descended. Also, Boundary is a 3C canyon, but it looks like it was pretty dry when you went through, correct? Thanks!

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  7. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by arnellfam View Post
    Nice post - great pictures! Where did you fix the ropes to jug out? By my count you didn't have enough ropes to ascend the same route you descended. Also, Boundary is a 3C canyon, but it looks like it was pretty dry when you went through, correct? Thanks!
    Thanks arnellfam!

    We fixed ropes at the top of 7 drops. The drops are close enough together that we used a 200 to combine a couple of drops. Tom lists the canyon as 9 drops, but Shane and Luke list the canyon as having 7. It just depends on how you rig it.

    If you add up Tom's rap lengths you get 610 feet. We had 760 feet of rope, just to be safe.

    It was bone dry, just as we'd hoped. I don't think it would be much fun to jug out when it is flowing. YMMV.

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  9. #5
    From Climb-Utah.com

    The technical section of Boundary Canyon is rather short and the MIA Exit is not really pleasant. Some consider descending Boundary Canyon and fixing ropes as a retreat to be the easiest method of visiting the canyon. To fix the canyon and climb back up your ropes you will need the following: (1) 180-foot rope, (3) 100-foot ropes, (2) 40-foot ropes and (1) 50-foot rope. Make certain of your rope lengths, if they are short you will not have enough rope.

    More here; http://climb-utah.com/Zion/boundary.htm

    The above rope combination works, you can figure out which rope goes where.

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  11. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by arnellfam View Post
    Also, Boundary is a 3C canyon, but it looks like it was pretty dry when you went through, correct? Thanks!
    Boundary is a class 3B canyon at best, often a 3A.

    WATER Volume / Current
    A - Normally dry or very little water. Dry falls.
    B - Normally has water with no current or light current. Still pools. Falls dry or running at a trickle.
    C - Normally has water with strong current. Waterfalls.

    Or at least that's the way I rate them. Climb-Utah.com ratings. As a general rule Boundary doesn't require any special rope management skills, which a true class C canyon does.

  12. #7
    That is..
    Awesome!
    What method(s) /gear were you ascending with?
    Any special issues, like rope damage, or were you padding edges?
    Thanks
    Todd

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  14. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by harness man View Post
    That is..
    Awesome!
    What method(s) /gear were you ascending with?
    Any special issues, like rope damage, or were you padding edges?
    Thanks
    Todd
    Thanks!

    We wanted to try out a bunch of setups, so we brought a few ascenders:

    Ropeman 1 x 4
    BD handled x 2
    Petzl handled x 4
    Prusiks x 2
    Petzl basic x 1

    Method? Top ascender hooked to harness, bottom ascender hooked to footloop. I liked Petzl handled up top, ropeman below. Each person seemed to like a different setup.

    Issues? We are not great at freehanging ascending. We can do it, but it is ugly.

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  16. #9
    An Arhart clan lead team did this 10 years ago with 9 ropes, I'm sure using fewer ropes eliminated some of the sketchy transitions from ascending rope to solid ground above the anchor, going back up. BTW the next day we moved over a canyon and did the same thing in the South Fork of Oak. In full flow. Suffice it to say the water added some interesting new wrinkles. good times with great people.

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  18. #10
    Thanks everyone for the details on jugging out!

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  20. #11
    When I ran boundary a month ago when it was flowing I had to ascend 2 rappels. Not because I wanted to, but because I made some rookie mistakes lol. First time I ever had to ascend up a little waterfall. The water pounding my face made it like working in the dark lol. Looks like a good day.

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  22. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by rick t View Post
    An Arhart clan lead team did this 10 years ago with 9 ropes, I'm sure using fewer ropes eliminated some of the sketchy transitions from ascending rope to solid ground above the anchor, going back up. BTW the next day we moved over a canyon and did the same thing in the South Fork of Oak. In full flow. Suffice it to say the water added some interesting new wrinkles. good times with great people.
    @rick t , going up in full flow sounds BURLY. I'm curious, could you elaborate on the wrinkles? What setup did you use to ascend? Pictures?

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  24. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by harness man View Post
    Any special issues, like rope damage, or were you padding edges?
    I am also interested in this, especially if you have any pictures of systems used to mitigate potential rope and/or rock damage (i.e. padding, creeping, etc.).

    Thanks

    hank

  25. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by hank moon View Post
    I am also interested in this, especially if you have any pictures of systems used to mitigate potential rope and/or rock damage (i.e. padding, creeping, etc.).
    Sorry Hank, I've got nothin' for the caver part of your brain to geek out on.

    There were no issues to be had, even though we were looking. The drops in Boundary are smooth, polished by the water. No rope damage, no rock damage.

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  27. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Slot Machine View Post
    Sorry Hank, I've got nothin' for the caver part of your brain to geek out on.
    What a gyp

  28. #16
    Bob, others ( Hank is already dialed up in all/most of this)

    It's a bit of a siren sound when pictures, reports and details of a canyon are posted - particularly the down and up is involved with Boundary.
    I'm happy you made it up and down, without "damage" to anyone's body or ego.

    I've done that venture 6-7 times, and the best I can say is, it's nice to leave Lava camp at maybe nine and get back around 3 or 4, with the MIA NOT in the rear view mirror.

    We'd done "some of the Oaks and then back up Middle Oak (many years back) with climbing harnesses; that venture (ouch) caused us to research, research and then to recalibrate completely the "planned" multiple raps and ascending game.

    For those of you that have NOT done it, if one ascends, in dry conditions and are NOT carrying back up heavy/wet/dry ropes, then there are arguably a number of methods that can successfully be used by the ascender. And if trained properly and you are fit, it's not that exhausting.

    But practically, if you have 6-8 raps in a canyon, you (someone) are going to have to pack and carry back up all of them,except the first rap, which you can pull up after you finish. And with extra weight and some tricky up climbs, exhaustion can be factor. I would never go up a canyon moving prussic; long ago used rope man, and other "small devices". And have used handled ascender (wrist and arm get sore on long ups). I know what exhaustion is about in canyons. That's why WE researched and then changed "the full process."

    Or you set ropes (elsewhere) and after descending, you ascend at spot A where fixed ropes are set. Still in this circumstance someone has to pack and carry back up a (200ft. rope for example) when you are ascending.

    Add 6 - 8- 12-15 - 18 pounds of dry/wet rope, or a wet wetsuit for an ascent and the game really changes - and if one does not have an efficient practiced method it can be exhausting and in some cases dangerous if folk suffer extreme fatigue (I've seen it happen); originally with a climbing harness, I experienced extreme exhaustion, going up Middle Oak twice in an afternoon. Down once to set ropes, back up, then down XYZ canyon and then back up Middle Oak. ouch, ouch, ouch!

    Ropes; all ropes are not created equal, particularly when it comes to ascending; and some ropes when wet are OK and/or bad. And often on many raps, rope protectors need/have to be set up at the rap station and in in some cases slings or small ladders set out for when one comes up. Folk that go into canyons and plan to ascend and don't have the right ropes or protectors can potentially get into big trouble. If a rope is wet and it see saws up and down on a ledge as one ascends, it can quickly come apart.

    Gear, methods. Cavers, rock climbers are the predominant crowd involved with descending and ascending. And in both cases, methods and gear often differ. Serious cavers in S America (Mexico) may go thousands of feet down, they often use chest "boxes" and often have both feet in stirrups and have a most efficient and safe ascending process. In American canyons the frog, modified frog, Texas style and whatever style are used by cavers; serious ones often use boxes, chest harnesses, full dry suits or "suits" and then a variety of stirrups. Climbers have a multitude of different styles depending on circumstances and needs.

    Once again if you are just pulling yourself up, with no extra gear, then that is one thing. If you carry heavy ropes and for example a wet, wetsuit, that is another. Going back up Middle Oak, where a guide is setting and pulling the ropes and "guests" are taking themselves back up, well some/many have done that, without much problem. If though, 10-15 lbs of weight is been added to their tow, the game would have been different.

    In normal (going down) canyons, I carry a system that I can go back up (in an emergency), using a climbing harness (what I use in technical canyons). A ladder for a foot loop, a Petzl Basic and a Croll plus slings, I can arguably set the system up for "most" sized people on the spot.

    In down and up canyons, 300-60 ft. it's an XYZ stirrup, a caving harness (low attach point), chest strap and Croll and then a Petzl Basic that attaches to the foot stirrup.I can put either had on the Basic and use the full arm in the up mode. Most of the time ONE foot is placed in the stirrup and the other leg/foot bounces on walls; on big ups with walls, a Petzl XYZ attaches to the "other" shoe/boot (not in the stirrup); this does not work though in the free hangs.

    Finally: I'd not do an ascent canyon with anyone that has not practiced the process on a big tree and on a wall in a canyon. Some people are not built physically or emotionally to do the process. Please, trying to be kind here. If folk are not trained properly and practiced, exhaustion can be a tipping point. It's simply not fair to some folk.

    And be careful about attracting people into some corridors. It may be dry and semi-easy one day, and wet another, or impediments may arise one day and not another. And the rope you planned on using in ascending falls apart or was not protected properly. Some ups are easier for a shorter person, more difficult for a normal sized or larger person. Some people always "take" small packs and will never assist in carrying ropes back up; cold water canyons, coming back up, the risks and rewards. Once again, practice, learn methods (muscle memory) an art, rope protectors, tools, devices, the correct type of ropes. And all the years we did it, big effort to keep it off the radar. But then lips move, even mine......at times....

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  30. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by reflection View Post
    Bob, others ( Hank is already dialed up in all/most of this)

    It's a bit of a siren sound when pictures, reports and details of a canyon are posted - particularly the down and up is involved with Boundary.
    I'm happy you made it up and down, without "damage" to anyone's body or ego.

    I've done that venture 6-7 times, and the best I can say is, it's nice to leave Lava camp at maybe nine and get back around 3 or 4, with the MIA NOT in the rear view mirror.

    We'd done "some of the Oaks and then back up Middle Oak (many years back) with climbing harnesses; that venture (ouch) caused us to research, research and then to recalibrate completely the "planned" multiple raps and ascending game.

    For those of you that have NOT done it, if one ascends, in dry conditions and are NOT carrying back up heavy/wet/dry ropes, then there are arguably a number of methods that can successfully be used by the ascender. And if trained properly and you are fit, it's not that exhausting.

    But practically, if you have 6-8 raps in a canyon, you (someone) are going to have to pack and carry back up all of them,except the first rap, which you can pull up after you finish. And with extra weight and some tricky up climbs, exhaustion can be factor. I would never go up a canyon moving prussic; long ago used rope man, and other "small devices". And have used handled ascender (wrist and arm get sore on long ups). I know what exhaustion is about in canyons. That's why WE researched and then changed "the full process."

    Or you set ropes (elsewhere) and after descending, you ascend at spot A where fixed ropes are set. Still in this circumstance someone has to pack and carry back up a (200ft. rope for example) when you are ascending.

    Add 6 - 8- 12-15 - 18 pounds of dry/wet rope, or a wet wetsuit for an ascent and the game really changes - and if one does not have an efficient practiced method it can be exhausting and in some cases dangerous if folk suffer extreme fatigue (I've seen it happen); originally with a climbing harness, I experienced extreme exhaustion, going up Middle Oak twice in an afternoon. Down once to set ropes, back up, then down XYZ canyon and then back up Middle Oak. ouch, ouch, ouch!

    Ropes; all ropes are not created equal, particularly when it comes to ascending; and some ropes when wet are OK and/or bad. And often on many raps, rope protectors need/have to be set up at the rap station and in in some cases slings or small ladders set out for when one comes up. Folk that go into canyons and plan to ascend and don't have the right ropes or protectors can potentially get into big trouble. If a rope is wet and it see saws up and down on a ledge as one ascends, it can quickly come apart.

    Gear, methods. Cavers, rock climbers are the predominant crowd involved with descending and ascending. And in both cases, methods and gear often differ. Serious cavers in S America (Mexico) may go thousands of feet down, they often use chest "boxes" and often have both feet in stirrups and have a most efficient and safe ascending process. In American canyons the frog, modified frog, Texas style and whatever style are used by cavers; serious ones often use boxes, chest harnesses, full dry suits or "suits" and then a variety of stirrups. Climbers have a multitude of different styles depending on circumstances and needs.

    Once again if you are just pulling yourself up, with no extra gear, then that is one thing. If you carry heavy ropes and for example a wet, wetsuit, that is another. Going back up Middle Oak, where a guide is setting and pulling the ropes and "guests" are taking themselves back up, well some/many have done that, without much problem. If though, 10-15 lbs of weight is been added to their tow, the game would have been different.

    In normal (going down) canyons, I carry a system that I can go back up (in an emergency), using a climbing harness (what I use in technical canyons). A ladder for a foot loop, a Petzl Basic and a Croll plus slings, I can arguably set the system up for "most" sized people on the spot.

    In down and up canyons, 300-60 ft. it's an XYZ stirrup, a caving harness (low attach point), chest strap and Croll and then a Petzl Basic that attaches to the foot stirrup.I can put either had on the Basic and use the full arm in the up mode. Most of the time ONE foot is placed in the stirrup and the other leg/foot bounces on walls; on big ups with walls, a Petzl XYZ attaches to the "other" shoe/boot (not in the stirrup); this does not work though in the free hangs.

    Finally: I'd not do an ascent canyon with anyone that has not practiced the process on a big tree and on a wall in a canyon. Some people are not built physically or emotionally to do the process. Please, trying to be kind here. If folk are not trained properly and practiced, exhaustion can be a tipping point. It's simply not fair to some folk.

    And be careful about attracting people into some corridors. It may be dry and semi-easy one day, and wet another, or impediments may arise one day and not another. And the rope you planned on using in ascending falls apart or was not protected properly. Some ups are easier for a shorter person, more difficult for a normal sized or larger person. Some people always "take" small packs and will never assist in carrying ropes back up; cold water canyons, coming back up, the risks and rewards. Once again, practice, learn methods (muscle memory) an art, rope protectors, tools, devices, the correct type of ropes. And all the years we did it, big effort to keep it off the radar. But then lips move, even mine......at times....
    @reflection

    Great post, Steve! Thanks for the info! I'm looking forward to improving my ascending skills, but don't see myself going UP Boundary again anytime soon.

    I'm thankful we didn't have any rope wear, rock wear, flowing water or exhaustion issues. We keenly watched for those things. We were prepared to abandon the whole operation if needed, go out of the MIA, then come back and get the ropes the next day. Glad we did not have to do that!

    Curious, do you recommend PMI ropes for this? We had 9mm and 11mm PMI ropes in the mix, and they worked great. If there is something better out there, I'd sure like to know about it.

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  33. #19
    @Somebeech , ^looks like spam, or mabye a great way to get a Russian bride^

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  35. #20
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slot Machine View Post
    Thanks arnellfam!

    We fixed ropes at the top of 7 drops. The drops are close enough together that we used a 200 to combine a couple of drops. Tom lists the canyon as 9 drops, but Shane and Luke list the canyon as having 7. It just depends on how you rig it.

    If you add up Tom's rap lengths you get 610 feet. We had 760 feet of rope, just to be safe.

    It was bone dry, just as we'd hoped. I don't think it would be much fun to jug out when it is flowing. YMMV.
    I go down the watercourse in Boundary. 2 x 100 ft rappels get you to the same place as the 150' over the side. Jugging those should be easier and faster. Puts the longest rap in Boundary as 100 feet.

    Partly I do that because I want to carry less rope up the MIA.

    Tom

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