Cassidy Arch Canyon has gotten rather popular, of late. The Park has become concerned about the wear and tear in the canyon, including on the tree used for the first anchor. We had been telling people to use a retrievable anchor system so as not to leave a sling for the hiking visitors to fret over, but…
With increased traffic, slings left on the tree were a regular thing. The Park permitted a local guide to install bolts next to the tree, but he put them in a place where they were hard for the ordinary Cassidy visitor to use… so the Park asked the Coalition of American Canyoneers to consult, and Dean and I came out to look the place over with Josh, the lead Canyoneering Ranger at Cap Reef.
July 7th: Dean and I ran up there and, with Josh, put in the first anchor, rigging it with webbing. Eventually it will have color-matched chain. Length of the rappel is the same as before.
Setting up the first rap
July 17th: Cassidy Brown from ZAC and I went up to work on the lower-canyon anchors. Bruce Wilson had reported that the new rappel was even better than the original. I agree. We got what we wanted: easy access to the anchor. Space for two people. Easy start of the rappel. Down 6 feet to a small ledge, allowing readjustment. Then free rappel to the ground, right next to the arch. Wonderful!
Cassidy Brown on Rap #1
Measured the 2nd rappel at 120 feet, if anyone is interested.
two stages of Rappel 3
We put in two two-bolt anchors at the “third rappel”. The tree that anchored the third rap was looking rather stressed – replaced with hardware. The second stage of that rap was developing deep rope grooves – we installed a bolt anchor above this part. All bolts are 1/2″ x 2-3/4″ Powers Power-Bolt +. The rock is quite soft.
Tom on Rap 3, top
I created a new, Rappel 4, replacing the second stage of R3. Unfortunately, the webbing I had was a bit short and it needs to be re-rigged with a 9 foot piece of webbing. I re-used the bolt hangers (with two rings) used by the local guide, which is why those somewhat odd hangers are in there.
Cassy on Rap #4, formerly Rap #3, second stage
I’m still planning to put bolts in for the last rappel, which is currently off a small, stressed tree. Also considering applying for a permit to replace one of the other anchors, which is old, suspect bolts down in the flow. Maybe. I hope to get to these before the fall canyon season takes hold.
Tom on rap something or other…
On the way home, I stopped for a burger in Escalante, and got talking to a guy who told me about the bridge and steps near the end of the canyon. He said these were remnants of a polygamist hideaway developed for when the feds came by making trouble. Interesting!!
Tom is the progenitor of Tom's Utah Canyoneering Guide, Utah's premier canyoneering information resource, and Imlay Canyon Gear, America's #1 maker of canyoneering-specific gear. If he's not canyoneering, he's probably snuggled up with a good book.
Posted on Jul 19th, 2016
Canyoneering, Capitol Reef, Trip Report