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Thread: Zion: Deadeye Dick and Right Fork Direct

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    Zion: Deadeye Dick and Right Fork Direct

    Jayson and I headed down to Zion a week ago and did Deadeye Dick on Thursday. We then crossed the park to do Right Fork of North Creek and finished Saturday afternoon. My goal was to do some less traveled canyons so we didn't have to see the Zion crowding issues and that worked out - didn't see anybody except on trails and in the narrows on our way out of Deadeye. It ended up being a lot of hiking and we were pretty tired by the end of the trip.

    Deadeye Dick

    We got up early Thursday and started down the narrows from the top. The hike was pretty easy going, on a road for most of it. The area is being developed and so some landmarks are a little different than route descriptions explain. The gate is moved back farther and there is a little canal, flume thing on the side that someone is digging. The old cabin is still up and that is as good a landmark as any. We found the side canyon to go up pretty easily and worked our way up that. One of the up climbs was about 20 feet and was a little trickier than some may prefer. Jayson gave it a shot but was a little nervous, so I went up first. There was a deadman at the top so I clipped into that and belayed Jayson while he went up and he did it like a champ - amazing the confidence a rope will give you. At the top of the slot we made our mistake. I believe you immediately exit the slot where it stops being a slot and turns into a drainage. We kept following the drainage and ended up going up a pretty crappy hillside to get to the top of the ridge. When we looked back we could see our error - our punishment was some extra crappy bushwhacking but we got to the top fine. We dropped down the other side, climbed over a bunch of fallen trees and got to the canyon.

    The canyon was lots of fun. The rappels are easy and slick, so you feel like your skiing or surfing down the thing. It was pretty fun with one swimmer pool at the bottom of a rappel. We eventually dumped into the narrows and headed up. We found Mighty Mouse canyon on the other side of the narrows and hiked up it a bit, but decided to save that one for another day since it was already pretty hot. It was the hottest part of the day, all the clouds in sight chose to not go in front of the sun, and it was a pretty miserable slog out to the car. We hopped in and drove to the others side of the park to do right fork.

    Here are some pictures of Deadeye Dick. The first ones are from the night before where we camped near the trailhead to the narrows. Then some pictures of Jayson on the tricky upclimb. The next few are of rappels in the canyon and then the narrows.


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    Right Fork of North Creek - no pictures of this one because Jayson's camera died unexpectedly and I had left mine behind because it's not so waterproof.

    We parked at the bottom trailhead and hitch hiked to the wildcat trailhead. We hiked about 4 miles on Wildcat which is a beautiful trail. Lots of meadows and flowers. We camped near the top of Wildcat canyon and got ready for the next day. We were pretty tired because we had already hiked about 10 miles in Deadeye Dick in hot weather and now had gone 4 more. If we could have come down the West Rim trailhead I think it would have made a nicer day. We saw two rattlesnakes on the trail, one medium and one bigger. Both let us know they were there and we steered clear.

    The next morning we hiked to the top of Wildcat canyon and dropped down it. I do not recommend going down this route. It is very very bushwhacky (better choice would be little blue or even better probably, the hammerhead). It took awhile to get down to where it joins Little Blue and then the going got better. We had to jump out of the wash eventually and follow some faint social trails along the side. We eventually saw the confluence with Left Fork and dropped down into Wildcat before we hit it. We probably dropped in a little early but got to hike through some nice slot for a bit before it got to Left Fork. We walked a bit down left fork, saw some pretty gnarly log jams downcanyon and were glad to save that adventure for another day. We climbed up a steep slope around the top and made our way up a valley which was easy to navigate. After a long hike in the sun, we got to Right fork, dropped down a side drainage into the canyon (the one we chose had a 40 foot rappel to get it, but it worked fine) and worked our way down canyon. It felt like a very long hike to get to Right Fork and we were happy to finally be in it.

    Potholes: the Direct route

    We got to the potholes, pumped some water and kept heading down. We were pretty tired, but I figured the chances of me coming back anytime soon to the is canyon were low, so I wanted to get in as much as I could and Jayson was alright with it - so we went down the Direct route. We had some fun partner assists, two small weird looking grayish snakes with orange bellies we worked around, and a baby rattle snake swimming in one pothole. That was a hard one to figure out but we were able to sneak around him. There wasn't anything long enough to use to help him get out of the pothole so we had to leave him behind.

    We then came to a very tricky pothole for me. It was a swimmer with about a 6 foot lip on the other side. I think a stronger climber could have pulled himself out because there was a small crack you could grab, but I wasn't strong enough to make the move. I ended up setting a hook with a foot loop and pulling up and out, then pulling Jayson up. You could probably make a raft out of your packs and toss a pot shot over as well. The angle was tricky to get a potshot from the other side but it may have been possible. It was too deep to stand and there were no footholds down lower. We were grateful we had thought to put our wetsuits on because that water was chilly and it took a bit to figure out a solution. There were no other major challenges in the direct route.

    Right Fork

    We got to the regular section of the canyon, took off our wetsuits and moved down canyon. Honestly, this section of canyon wasn't particularly challenging or incredible in any way. It was a pretty slot which we moved through fairly quickly. We had one swimmer near the beginning for about 15 feet but nothing else notable. We kept looking for the black pool swim but it never happened - and eventually arrived at the Grand Alcove.

    The Grand Alcove is beautiful - amazing to see. Clean water coming down the walls, green plants up the sides. Awesome. We found a nice camp site near the beginning and settled in for the night. We were beat tired, a very long day. I was disappointed to see that someone had made a campfire where we camped and I spent about a half hour picking up pieces of coal that ha been scattered across the sand. I got most of it but if someone goes near here soon, take a minute to see if there is any left. Pack it in and pack it out please, and I don't think a fire should ever be made there anyways - leave it nice for everyone.

    We checked our route description and saw that we only had 4 miles left - yes! we thought we were almost through. But no, it took 6 to 7 hours to get through those next 4 miles. It was consistently boulder hopping, stream walking, navigating through brush, etc.. It was a lot of work and all the landmarks seemed to take forever to show up. There were some beautiful subway sculpted parts, some pretty waterfalls, and boulders, boulders, boulders. We arrived at the exit at the hottest part of the day and got to the cars at about 2 pm. Our feet were blistered, legs tired, and we had seen some awesome things. One of my canyoneer shoes fell apart by the end and my backpack needs some new load lifter straps - it is a very exhausting adventure I would say, but the Grand Alcove is beautiful and I'm glad we were able to be there.
    - Gavin

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  3. #2
    Looks like a good weekend !!! Hope you had fun !!!

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