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Thread: Black Hole without Wetsuits?

  1. #1

    Black Hole without Wetsuits?

    Is is crazy and dumb to think of doing the Black Hole without wetsuits in the next few weeks? I just don't have any experience with this canyon. Seems to stay warm down there...but I understand the water can be cold.

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Not really, but you might get chilled. Even at age 11 (the first time I did the Black Hole-31 years ago), we didn't use wetsuits in September.

    Lots of people do it without wetsuits. It seems that it is only in the past decade or so that people started using wetsuits in the warm season.

    That said, it will be more comfortable with a wetsuit.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

  4. #3
    I disagree with Scott and consider doing the Black Hole without wetsuits a dumb idea. We also used to drive our cars around without wearing seat belts, but that doesn't mean it was a good idea.

    The canyon is much more enjoyable with a wetsuit and you greatly decrease the dangers of hypothermia. I'm old enough to have done the slot with and without a wetsuit, but these days I'd never consider doing it without one.

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  6. #4
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    I disagree with Scott and consider doing the Black Hole without wetsuits a dumb idea. We also used to drive our cars around without wearing seat belts, but that doesn't mean it was a good idea.

    The canyon is much more enjoyable with a wetsuit and you greatly decrease the dangers of hypothermia. I'm old enough to have done the slot with and without a wetsuit, but these days I'd never consider doing it without one.
    what he said.

    T

  7. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    I disagree with Scott and consider doing the Black Hole without wetsuits a dumb idea.
    X3

    The swim under the rockfall is cold and takes a few minutes. That section is really fun with a wetsuit, seems like it would be miserable without one.
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  8. #6
    You can rent wetsuits form the University of Utah for dirt cheap. Just rent one, it's worth it.

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  10. #7
    I ran the canyon last year for the first time with a group of 5 all without wetsuits. We were all more than happy & pleasant except for my wife who still has not let me live it down (She's 110 lbs soaking wet). We ran the canyon in middle of August & got a early start. We also ran the canyon without any technical gear & made sure we could always backtrack if we wanted. At the time there was not difficult section & we easily passed through the canyon.

    With that being said (Older & wiser now) I would recommend taking at minimum a shorty wetsuit. Swims were extremely long & exhausting. Wetsuits would make this canyon much more enjoyable & allow you to appreciate the depths of the canyon.

    Also if you need a wetsuit Amazon sells a 5mm Neosport wetsuit for ~ $110. Best price & buy I have yet to find.

  11. #8
    Swims were extremely long & exhausting.
    This is true. Although I have done the Black Hole many times without a wetsuit, we have always taken life jackets.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

  12. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dakotabelliston View Post
    Also if you need a wetsuit Amazon sells a 5mm Neosport wetsuit for ~ $110. Best price & buy I have yet to find.
    Let me introduce you to http://www.tommydsports.com.

    Prices begin at $49

    My favorite wetsuit is a 3mm full, which is $65.

    Full 5mm wetsuits are $74.

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  14. #10
    The biggest problem with skipping the wetsuit is you greatly reduce your margins for errors and screw ups.

    There is currently a pretty stiff downclimb that many rappel just after you enter the Black Hole proper, which I would guess many groups could not reverse. What happens if one of your members slips and breaks a leg or tweaks an ankle at that drop? You are in deep water and have a mile of swimming ahead, or you can spend a bunch of time trying to get your climber back up the drop and the one before it. Either way someone is going to be in the water a long time and hypothermia will become a major concern.

    Everything about canyoneering is simple and easy, right up until it's not, at which time you had better be prepared.


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  16. #11
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    The biggest problem with skipping the wetsuit is you greatly reduce your margins for errors and screw ups.

    There is currently a pretty stiff downclimb that many rappel just after you enter the Black Hole proper, which I would guess many groups could not reverse. What happens if one of your members slips and breaks a leg or tweaks and ankle at that drop? You are in deep water and have a mile of swimming ahead, or you can spend a bunch of time trying to get your climber back up the drop and the one before it. Either way someone is going to be in the water a long time and hypothermia will become a major concern.

    Everything about canyoneering is simple and easy, right up until it's not, at which time you had better be prepared.
    What he said.

    Bring a rope. One time we went through the Black Hole and found a wood pile we climbed up, then rapped 40 feet off the back end. OK, only 30 feet. But still.

    Yes, this is unlikely. But it only has to happen once for you to be dead dead dead.

    A rope is also useful for pulling weak swimmers through cold swims. WAY faster than swimming.

    A wetsuit adds buoyancy. A pack with a drybag or empty water bottles adds buoyancy. I like buoyancy when I swim.


    Tom

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  18. #12
    Anyone not carrying 60' of rope through the Black Hole is an idiot. That canyon has massive flash floods which often completely rearrange the problems. Usually the problems are easy, but sometimes they are difficult. Sometimes the new problems require ropes. And we are again back to why a wetsuit is a good idea. What if you encounter massive logjams and log soup which turns your 30 minute swim into a 3 hour swim?

    Below is a picture of a flash flood in White Canyon so you can get a true understanding of the amounts of water and debris that can rearrange the canyon. This canyon has the ability to quickly rearrange itself faster than just about any slot I know of.


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  20. #13
    What if you encounter massive logjams and log soup which turns your 30 minute swim into a 3 hour swim?
    A wetsuit adds buoyancy. A pack with a drybag or empty water bottles adds buoyancy. I like buoyancy when I swim.
    So why no life jacket? In summer with hot temperatures, a life jacket seems equally important as a wetsuit would be. It doesn't weigh much either. Years ago, a lot more people would wear life jackets in canyons than they would wetsuits, but most people don't seem to bring a life jacket anymore. I would think that a life jacket probably saved my life at least twice in a canyon.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

  21. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott P View Post
    Years ago, a lot more people would wear life jackets in canyons than they would wetsuits, but most people don't seem to bring a life jacket anymore.
    Scott, why are you still living in 1973?

    We used to do a lot of things in the past that we don't do now. And the reason is we found better/safer ways. But if you want to scale Everest in your hobnail boots and tweed jacket go for it. It's not how we do it these days, but if you want to go old school more power to ya.

  22. #15
    And the reason is we found better/safer ways. It's not how we do it these days, but if you want to go old school more power to ya.
    When it comes to buoyancy, a life jacket is just about the safest thing to have in the canyon.

    Plus, this is my skin after wearing a wetsuit (actually photo of my skin last time I wore a wetsuit):



    I believe that a life jacket saved my life in two canyons, a wetsuit wouldn't have had the same result in one of them. I can think of other fatal canyoneering incidences when a life jacket probably would have save someone's life.

    Personally, in the summer months and during hot weather, I find that a life jacket is adequate (for me at least) for canyons such as the Black Hole, but I agree that wetsuits are a good idea, especially for the reasons you listed and a necessity when it isn't hot out. Other people have various levels of cold tolerances as well.

    Still, bringing a life jacket is never a bad idea and always adds a margin of safety on long swims. Even on flat water, most rafters wear life jackets.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

  23. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott P View Post
    Plus, this is my skin after wearing a wetsuit (actually photo of my skin last time I wore a wetsuit):
    You should probably stop peeing in your wetsuit.


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  25. #17
    Thanks for all the thoughts and suggestions. Rope will be packed and wetsuits will be rented or bought. Now, only if we can find a ride to the trailhead. Flying into Hite:)

    I know it's all dependent...But, time for 4? Thanks

  26. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    You should probably stop peeing in your wetsuit.

    I fail to see why it is so funny. I get the same skin reaction almost every time I wear a wetsuit (even when I have worn pants and a shirt). So do several other people. Rather than being funny, it is extremely painful and itchy for days or weeks. I have probably worn a wetsuit no more than a dozen times in the canyons. I however don't tell other people that they shouldn't wear one and think that they are a good idea.

    Wetsuits are a good idea. For me though, I find a life jacket to be adequate in hot summer weather in the Black Hole (though wetsuits are still a good idea). Obviously you and Tom disagree.

    I know it's all dependent...But, time for 4?
    I have heard of people taking two hours and I have heard of some groups taking 10. Five is probably average, but allow at least an extra hour or two just in case.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

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