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Thread: Wetsuit or technical drysuit for mid November?

  1. #1

    Wetsuit or technical drysuit for mid November?

    Hi group,

    I have permits reserved for the Subway and Orderville Canyon the week of November 13th and was wondering if we can just get by with wetsuits or is it typically too cold for that at that time of year? I've skied in wetsuits at pretty low temps but you're not in the water very long doing that and knowing both of those hikes are all day and mostly wet I wasn't sure.

    I've done the Subway before in the summer but not Orderville so other than what I've read online, I don't have too much to go on regarding my question above so it would be nice to get the take from someone who's familiar with hiking these canyons at that time. I realize it's just past season for those hikes but living in the midwest doesn't allow me to head to Zion as much as I'd like so November is our month.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you!
    -------
    Jeff

    "Be who you are, say what you feel.
    Because those that mind don't matter and,
    those that matter don't mind"

    ~Dr. Suess~

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  3. #2
    Moderator jman's Avatar
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    Wetsuit or technical drysuit for mid November?

    I have done it both in November with a wetsuit and not a wetsuit. Letís just say that I while I wasnít completely miserable it was not fun without a wetsuit.

    And while shivering while in the Subway without the suit, once you start the hike out, the ambient air temps and you moving over the boulders warms you back up and even makes you sweat again!

    The problem though is that late in the year, colder water, shorter daylight hours, means another thing going wrong (aka, the odds would be against you). And so taking a wetsuit is strongly recommended.

    My advice is to bring a minimum of a suit of 3mm and neoprene booties.


    Although the water will be colder, October and November in Zion I have found are actually quite enjoyable.

    November in Northern Utah, most trees have lost their leaves and Southern Utah has about 1/2 of their leaves remaining. Itís a unique experience.

    And a suggestion with Orderville would be to start early! Especially with it being dark by 5:30 or so. An depending if you are being dropped off vs doing a shuttle and picking up your car - earlier is better!


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  4. #3
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    In both the case of the Subway and Orderville, the section with water/swimming is short (compared to the overall day). Yes to wetsuit. No to drysuit.

    In both cases, also, most of the water is spring-fed. At that time of year, that means the water is warmer than you might expect. The exception in the Subway is the first swim (triple pools), which is not springfed, and that water is cold. Then the next pool, not so much.

    Tom

  5. #4
    I'd probably wear my drysuit that time of year in both Subway and Orderville, as I prefer the drysuit over the wetsuit when I have an option. Zion is one of the few places that doesn't destroy drysuits. I also like that my drysuit weights next to nothing compared to a wetsuit, especially when the wetsuit is wet. I also find my drysuit easier to hike in and easier to adjust my body temperature by just unzipping between sections of water. If I had to actually go rent or buy a drysuit I would wear my wetsuit.

    Your Mileage May Vary...


  6. #5
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    I also like that my drysuit weights next to nothing compared to a wetsuit, especially when the wetsuit is wet.
    Wetsuit: 2 lb 12 oz (Hyperflex Cyclone, 4/3mm, size Men's Large)

    Drysuit: 3 lb 2.5 oz (Kokotat ZAC special build, size Men's Large)

    Please note, using the drysuit often involves the addition of fleece clothing, not included in the above.

    Your Mileage May Vary.


  7. #6
    Exactly the information I was looking for, thanks all for your advice as it's much appreciated!

    We're flying out so won't be bringing that gear with us and will have to rent so that is a factor.

    Last time I did the Subway was in 2010 and I read that the Bowling ball chockstone now has a log jamb you have to climb over as well as the last down climb has moved because the log jamb that you used to walk over to get to it is now gone?? Is this true now and if so is the last drop more than 30 feet? Need to decide how much rope to bring.

    Thanks again!
    -------
    Jeff

    "Be who you are, say what you feel.
    Because those that mind don't matter and,
    those that matter don't mind"

    ~Dr. Suess~

  8. #7
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p40whk View Post
    Exactly the information I was looking for, thanks all for your advice as it's much appreciated!

    We're flying out so won't be bringing that gear with us and will have to rent so that is a factor.

    Last time I did the Subway was in 2010 and I read that the Bowling ball chockstone now has a log jamb you have to climb over as well as the last down climb has moved because the log jamb that you used to walk over to get to it is now gone?? Is this true now and if so is the last drop more than 30 feet? Need to decide how much rope to bring.

    Thanks again!
    Your rumor mill is being effective. Both statements are true.

    Last Rappel is now less than 30 feet. It is basically vertical, so challenging to handline.

    New Full description available at Canyoneeringusa, however, not updated this year... so does not exactly match current canyon conditions (as expected).

    http://www.canyoneeringusa.com/utah/...zion-top-down/

    Tom

  9. #8
    Fwiw, we did the Subway the day after Thanksgiving last year in wetsuits and were fine.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    Fwiw, we did the Subway the day after Thanksgiving last year in wetsuits and were fine.
    Taylor, I'm jealous! We were there over Thanksgiving last year and I had Subway permits for the following Monday but my group was afraid the water would be too cold and wouldn't do it. I love this time of year there but we're coming in a bit earlier this year and I have some people that are willing.

    I'm looking forward to it!

    Tom, Thanks for the update, I was on your site looking at gear but didn't think to check out the route descriptions.
    -------
    Jeff

    "Be who you are, say what you feel.
    Because those that mind don't matter and,
    those that matter don't mind"

    ~Dr. Suess~

  11. Likes Taylor liked this post

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