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Thread: Cow Tank (Canyon) route to Big Man panel in Grand Gulch, Cedar Mesa

  1. #1

    Cow Tank (Canyon) route to Big Man panel in Grand Gulch, Cedar Mesa

    I am looking at taking Cow Tank (Canyon) route to Big Man panel in Grand Gulch, Cedar Mesa- there is nothing on line about this route, and my guide book says there is a 10 ft ledge (drop) 0.2 miles upstream of the side canyon's confluence with Grand Gulch..

    Do any of you have first hand experience with this "ledge"?

    This is a shorter alternate to the Government Trail approach.

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  3. #2
    Cow Tanks might be shorter but I'd be surprised if it were faster, especially if you have to deal with any obstacles. The government trail is fast and easy hiking down a well maintained trail.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    Cow Tanks might be shorter but I'd be surprised if it were faster, especially if you have to deal with any obstacles. The government trail is fast and easy hiking down a well maintained trail.
    Maybe - but we will have already hiked Gov't trail for a different reason - so it would be nice to do something different. Sort of like our prior escapade in Snake Gulch (via a sort cut, which ultimately worked out very well), but this time we would like to succeed on the first try. And it would be more adventurous than the Gov't Trail route - which is why we venture outside the box in the first place.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    Cow Tanks might be shorter but I'd be surprised if it were faster, especially if you have to deal with any obstacles. The government trail is fast and easy hiking down a well maintained trail.
    The only referenced obstacle is the 10 ft pour off 0.2 miles up the side canyon (Cow Tank).. Since we are approaching the pour off from the top - its not really a big deal. We have rapped into alcoves from greater heights, and ascended back out of them without incident.

  6. #5
    Entering through Pollys Canyon is an option if your interested.

    Pollys Canyon
    http://climb-utah.com/CM/pollys.htm

    That's a big step up from the gov trail. Pollys is also the reason I know other routes can be slower. I'll try to remember and check my notes Monday and see what I have on Cow Tanks. I have gigs of data on Cedar Mesa, in fact I was just thinking yesterday I need to get back down there.


  7. #6
    Pollys is a good choice.
    Edin Na Zu !

  8. #7
    I would take a rope for Cow Tanks. It's not a good idea to jump that ledge. It's not that far, but if you broke an ankle, there's no easy route to escape in the vicinity and it would be a disaster. Cow Tanks itself has pictograph panels.

    How long do you have? Going down Cow Tanks and out Collins would make a great trip, but one day isn't enough for most.
    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.

  9. #8
    Wife and I are trying to do one-day hikes in and out for a total of 5 whole days and two partial days. I have more potential day trips than I have days to do them.

    But in order to get more time in canyon, to look around, it really makes more sense to go down Government trail and spend a night at the mouth of Polly's Canyon. But part of me wants to do one day via Cow Tank just because no-one else does!

  10. Likes Iceaxe liked this post
  11. #9
    Just curious what guidebook you are using for Cow Tanks? Tassoni's Hiking Guide to Cedar Mesa has a route description for Cow Tanks that you might find useful.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    Just curious what guidebook you are using for Cow Tanks? Tassoni's Hiking Guide to Cedar Mesa has a route description for Cow Tanks that you might find useful.
    . We are not using Tassoni's guide - it got some lousy reviews. We do have Joe Berardi's guide - its only so-so. He mentions the 10 ft ledge (as he calls it) - which is named as a pour-off on at least one web site. After detailed calculations, my starting pack weight for an overnighter is 30 Lbs, so that's OK for an overnight trip via Government Trail (a good chunk is camera weight, including 2 camera bodies [identical bodies]). Wife's pack will be 20Lbs tops. Beer gets left in the car.

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    Just curious what guidebook you are using for Cow Tanks? Tassoni's Hiking Guide to Cedar Mesa has a route description for Cow Tanks that you might find useful.
    Well - the guidebook arrived - and its silly - this guy parks at the Highway and makes the trip longer than if he had driven to the regular trailhead. His trip descriptions are a bit hit and miss - he talks about Road Canyon with no mention of Fallen Roof!

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi_outdoors View Post
    he talks about Road Canyon with no mention of Fallen Roof!
    You have to understand the history of the Tasonni book. It came out when GPS was relatively new and no one would publish the book if he provided waypoints to ruins or mentioned them by name. Tassoni was forced to rewrite the book and remove numerous waypoints and mentions in order to get the book published.

    Anyhoo... I've often used the Tassoni book useful and worth the $10 I paid for it. YMMV

  15. #13
    You have to understand the history of the Tasonni book. It came out when GPS was relatively new and no one would publish the book if he provided waypoints to ruins or mentioned them by name. Tassoni was forced to rewrite the book and remove numerous waypoints and mentions in order to get the book published.
    I don't know if the Tasonni book is that useful for the Cow Tanks route. I also believe it to be in error when it says that the "impassable drop" is 25 feet. I'm pretty sure that it's shorter than that, though I still wouldn't jump it (we came up to there from the bottom). I looked through my photo folders to see if I could pull up a photo of the drop, but unfortunately, I didn't take one of the drop. I did take several photos of the really nice rock art in Cow Tanks though.

    I'm not really a fan of the Tassoni book or the Berardi book. For Cedar Mesa, I'd go with Kelsey (even though he does give a lot away) or climb-utah, though climb-utah doesn't have Cow Tanks.
    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.

  16. #14
    Name:  Cow Tank pour off maybe.jpg
Views: 220
Size:  81.0 KB Is this the "ledge" - it ain't much - if it is - I can see why some folks said "don't jump" - because its just low enough to be tempting to the foolhardy

  17. #15
    well, we hiked down the watercourse and hit a tall pour-off (photo attached) long before the referenced ledge. Later, the ranger said that there was an old cowboy trail that would have taken us to the pour off, but its not on our Topo.

    UPDATE:

    got home and checked TOPO - there is definitely some confusion about naming the drainages in the guide books vs the USGS Topo. The USGS topo has Cow Tank feeding in to Dripping Canyon!

    Tassoni may have been referring to "Cow Trail" canyon (we hiked down its southern neighboring un-named drainage).
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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