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Thread: Canyon progression - looking for my next few slots

  1. #1

    Canyon progression - looking for my next few slots


    I live in the UK, but am looking at heading to the US this summer to tackle a few more slot canyons with a friend that lives out in Cali. In the past we've done the following:

    Trip 1: Round Valley Draw (with a small handline), Zebra, Tunnel, Spooky, Peekaboo
    Trip 2: Diana's Throne Canyon, Subway, Keyhole
    Trip 3: Benson Creek, Birch Hollow, Egypt 3, Goblin Valley, Tenaya Canyon (Yosemite)

    Anyone have any suggestions as to what might be a good next step in terms of canyons? I've been looking at Pine Creek, Mystery Canyon, Das Boot and also potentially a few of the slot canyons in the Grand Canyon (although there seems to be a lot less beta and discussion on Arizona canyons versus Utah canyons).

    My friend and I have zero experience in terms of keeper potholes, for instance, but perhaps there's a few canyons where gentle partner assists suffice (we're miles off anything like potshots, etc).

    Anyways, any suggestions on what might be good next steps up in terms of canyon progression would be v much appreciated!

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  3. #2
    Any thoughts, anyone?

    I figured Das Boot would be a bit of a step up from Subway, while Pine and Mystery are both a bit of a step up from Keyhole/Birch. But I'm still looking out for a few more canyons - maybe max raps around the 150-200 mark, but not anything that involves anything like dead man anchors, etc.

    Also keen just to see some of the most spectacular canyons, irrespective of whether they're not really a step up - only get 2 weeks in the US each year so keen to take advantage as much as possible!

  4. #3
    Moderator jman's Avatar
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    If you can get a permit for Mystery, then I would suggest that since they are very hard to come by and packs a punch of variety in like 5-6miles.

    Das Boot is a little challenging but I wouldn’t call it a destination, and more of an add-on if you are already doing the Subway.

    Misery is a fun one and a slight step-up from what you are use to.

    Echo canyon is a step-up from Keyhole, but I would wait until Late-June to attempt this one as there could be a bunch of snow in there still.

    If you are going to the Swell, I think you would like Eardley (but do the ‘shortcut’ route) and Zero-Gravity.

    Moab while not slot-canyons can have some challenging features that you would enjoy...

    I guess it depends on when you arrive and which areas you would like to visit. That way we can refine it a bit more for ya.

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  6. #4
    Thanks jman, that's super helpful.

    In terms of dates, it would be August. I know that's not necessarily advised as a time of year but we did Egypt 3 in August last year and while it's obviously hot, it wasn't a problem. Location-wise - we'd be heading to Utah (and Arizona) specifically for slots, so we're not restricted - wherever we can get some great routes in, we'll go!

    Zero Gravity - the only possible factor there was the keeper pothole (which looks like its why Zero G is an R rating) - it would be the first time we've tackled one. That said, it seems like its stemmable and so presumably isn't the most intimidating one to try first... (?!)

    Thats good to know about Das Boot - I was viewing it mostly as a destination, as much as I enjoyed the Subway there's enough other canyons out there that I don't need to double up on the Subway yet.

    Echo Canyon is one that I'd looked at before but was slightly concerned by the write-up of the keeper pothole here and, in particular, the fact we're going in August which I guess is going to mean pretty low water conditions.

    Any can't-miss canyons in other areas such as Robbers Roost, the Swell, etc. that might be a manageable step up (slightly longer raps, longer days, I guess keepers that can be done with an easy partner assist, etc)...?

  7. #5
    Zero Gravity doesn't have a keeper pothole. When I originally betaed the slot I called it a semi-keeper because it could be hard for a beginner to defeat if solo. Two people should never have difficulty defeating the semi-keeper, and if they do you can simply reverse out and escape the slot by numerous weaknesses in the rim.

    Zero G gets its R rating for the bomb bay finish, which has caused several search and rescues.

    FYI - I just wrote the following up about the first documented descent and naming of Zero G... enjoy...

    Why Zero Gravity

  8. #6
    Thanks Shane - am reading up some more about the bomb bay. If I've understood everything right - you stem up and over a chockstone (unless you're tiny), go further than you would necessarily think before you drop down, and if you've dropped down far enough alone, you don't get stuck in the narrow slot beneath the bomb bay, that about right?

    Have also just signed up to the members' area of your site to help me with planning the next few routes....

  9. #7
    You have the bomb bay figured out.

    If I were a beginner and doing Zero G I would also do Goblins Lair which is not far away. It's one of the most unique routes I know of and has one rappel that is easy to rig and pretty straight forward. Goblins Lair should be on everyone's must do list because there is nothing else like it.

  10. #8
    I've actually done Goblin's Lair (on my most recent trip) - agreed, it was amazing and I'd love to find something similar! Albeit I haven't yet found anything that seems particularly close to it (apart from perhaps part a little section of Chambers which looks almost 'enclosed').

    High Spur is one I'm currently looking at - it doesn't seem any step up in difficulty but with the right lighting it looks pretty photographic and so that might be one to throw onto my list for the next trip.

  11. Likes Iceaxe liked this post
  12. #9
    High Spur is one of the prettiest slots on the Colorado Plateau and is about as easy as a technical canyon can get. Lots of ways to escape back to the rim if you run into difficulties. The only real downside is it's a long dirt road in.

  13. #10
    High Spur looked promising but wasn't sure on that long drive in, felt like we'd have to do a fair bit in the area to make it worthwhile.

    I'm currently looking at tackling:

    -Pine Creek
    -Mystery Canyon
    -Leprechaun Canyon (left and right forks)
    -Blarney Canyon
    -Garden Creek [Grand Canyon]

    That felt a good mix of wet and dry canyons, a few we can rattle off quite quickly and easily alongside longer routes, etc. Any thoughts?

    I haven't done any mae west canyons before - it seemed like Leprechaun (right) was a gentle introduction to them. Does the middle fork require much in that regard (if you need to go over in places)? If I made it through Egypt 3 without much difficult is Leprechaun middle likely to be the same, or something of an increase in tightness?


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