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Thread: Imlay and lost pack near rap 14ish

  1. #1

    Imlay and lost pack near rap 14ish

    We descended Imlay from Lava Point last weekend. Fabulous canyon. We did have a few glitches in the trip though. It is Imlay and October and what do you expect? We had a team of six, two of whom had descended Imlay and Heaps before. Our team was also notable for a wide age range, 13, 17, 35, 40, 45, 66, which included my son and his grandfather (my father-in-law). Grandpa grew up in central Utah, but didn't discover Zion until about 10 years ago. Imlay has been a dream of his for a long time and we finally organized a trip.

    Day one was fantastic until it got dark and we were still 2 hours up-canyon from the Crossroads. Mostly this was ok. We put on headlamps and kept moving. Canyons in the dark are super cool and the full moon occasionally poked around the bend to reassure us. We neglected to eat and drink consistently in the afternoon/evening and my son started running out of gas and grandpa got a little delirious in the dark. He decided that his pack was weighing him down and left it behind. Not sure where. Somewhere around rap 14. When we realized he was sans pack, we went back to look for it ... couldn't find it, and came back to find him with his harness off (also weighing him down apparently). After a good sit down and snack, everyone started feeling better and we kept a close eye on things until we made camp. We considered camping on a couple little patches of sand before the Crossroads, but they felt cold and wet under a thin layer of dry sand, and the water smelled nasty, so we pressed on for the Crossroads. After dinner, there was a cold night for one of us. Unfortunately, none of us brought an emergency blanket. This was silly, because a couple of us religiously carry one, but we expected that everyone would have a sleeping bag on their back the entire trip and so why would we possibly need one? Silly thinking there. Always carry the emergency blanket. My friend volunteered to sleep in the open. He bundled up with everyone's clothes and a couple hot water bottles, and got through the night ok, although it wasn't very pleasant.

    Looking back, several things slowed us down. We flew into Vegas Thursday night, drove to StG and slept. We arrived at ZAC before they opened, picked up our drysuits and made the trailhead by 10:30. We then futz'd around sorting gear, loading packs, eating lunch, and finally got underway. We had some route finding issues in upper Imlay, which I've had on prior trips and hoped to avoid this time, but a couple of the early drops are tricky to locate. We jammed a rope on rap 4ish where the pull goes through a bush, and we had to belay up to the top and un-jam it. This was bad planning on our part in terms of anchor placement and rope tie-in. We biner-block'ed the prior anchor that was back from the lip and through several bushes. This was not very clever given the pull situation. Also, we were a big group and didn't get into a good groove leapfrogging until rap 9 or so. Finally, we had the delusional memory of making the Crossroads dry, and for several raps we took extra time to traverse the small water holes without getting wet, rather than just suit up and move through quickly. In the end, there were several swims upstream of the Crossroads, and suiting-up was necessary. All this added up to us being slower than expected, and it being October, it got dark early.

    On day two we woke up at 6:30 (in the dark). Got breakfast and assessed the situation. Everyone was feeling much better after some food and sleep and we decided that if we could stay in a good rhythm leapfrogging, we'd be ok. We had two lead people set anchors and ropes, two in the middle shuttle ropes forward, and two in the rear pulling and stuffing ropes. This went really well. We left camp by 8 and we made the Narrows by 2pm.

    The lower narrows were fantastic. Potholes were all full and no hooking was required. There is a miserable log jam below the Crossroads that took some careful working through. When we first started prodding some of the outside logs, a few big logs fell 5 feet or so. Very unsettling, but none of us were under any of it. After that, we gently worked through the Pick-Up-Sticks maze without dislodging anything else. There is a very long log wedged to a couple of high chokestones, and this will be source of log-jam for a long time. Maybe this is the "log soup" I've read about in other reports.

    The pack that was left behind should be somewhere near rap 14 or so. We apologize for the litter. It was rented from ZAC (cuz grandpa left his pack and sleeping bag in his garage instead of loading in the truck ... other than these two forgetful moments involving the pack, he's a pretty high functioning lawyer). The pack has a sleeping bag also from ZAC. The pack is in rough shape because it is the end of the season, but I think the sleeping bag is pretty good. If you find it, and can return any of it to ZAC, that would be great. We had to pay a replacement fee, but they were super nice and understanding about the situation. There is a bike race shirt that might be nice to get back. Mostly we feel bad for cluttering up the canyon with trash.

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  4. #2

  5. #3
    Cool story. Sorry about the missing pack.
    How early in the canyon did you find filterable water? I was there Sept 18th and completely overlooked the fact that it was fall and after running out of water soon after reaching the canyon floor, we did not find good water until shortly before the crossroads.

  6. #4
    I think the first couple pools we encountered were ok. By rap 8 or so, the pools were pretty stagnant and nasty and it wasn't until the Crossroads that we were excited about drinking any of it. Near rap 16 there is suppose to be an alternative place to camp with water. We missed it in the dark.

  7. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jswvi View Post
    We descended Imlay from Lava Point last weekend. Fabulous canyon. We did have a few glitches in the trip though.
    Thanks for sharing. Lots of lessons learned there.

    Surprised you guys didn't rotate the sleeping bags. I would have much rather taken a 2 hour stint without one than had someone go all night.

    Also a good reminder that "if you bring bivy gear, you will bivy." I think I'd rather start at 2 am and move fast than slug a huge pack through the canyon and spend the night, but that requires a team that can pull that kind of day. I suspect you knew you didn't have that team, thus the overnight gear.

    Glad everything turned out all right in the end. Far better to leave a pack than have someone get hurt.

  8. #6
    Pack has been retrieved and returned to ZAC! We may or may not have eaten the granola bars as a tax for carrying the pack through the rest of Imlay.

  9. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 1234567 View Post
    Pack has been retrieved and returned to ZAC! We may or may not have eaten the granola bars as a tax for carrying the pack through the rest of Imlay.
    Think you were more then justified to clear out any food & snacks lol. Glad the pack was returned. I love the canyoneering community & the integrity of its members. Very cool

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  11. #8

    thanks

    Thanks for pulling the pack out of the canyon and returning to ZAC. Much appreciated!

    Hope you enjoyed the snacks that were in it. They shouldn't have been stale yet, so glad you could enjoy them.

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  13. #9
    The comment about going slow trying to avoid getting wet made me laugh. God, that is always the case with the noobs in groups I go with. So important to always move swiftly. Except for photo ops!

    Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

  14. Likes dakotabelliston liked this post
  15. #10
    Yep ... rookie-business there. Last time down we stayed dry and slept on the wetsuits at the crossroads, avoiding carrying a pad (or maybe we got a little wet, but it was summer and the water wasn't too cold and we managed to keep the wetsuits dry to sleep on even if we got a little wet). This time it was October, there was lots of cold water and the idea of staying dry to the crossroads was just silliness. We did have fun setting up a little guided rappel over one swimmer and pretty much gave up after that. Once you hit water, suit up and keep moving.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougrz View Post
    The comment about going slow trying to avoid getting wet made me laugh. God, that is always the case with the noobs in groups I go with. So important to always move swiftly. Except for photo ops!

    Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

  16. Likes dakotabelliston liked this post

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