I was hoping. Hope springs eternal and looking for new canyons involves lots of hope. This one…
Robby, one of our ZAC tubing staff members and a new-to-canyoneering enthusiast, joined me for a little exploration out near Mystery Canyon. Google Earth and the map showed some good possibility.
We spotted a car at Canyon Jct and drove up to the Ponderosa. Walked in to the Mesa, short of Mystery, then bushwhacked out to the end of that. Pretty OK out to that point, due to controlled burns that had removed much of the fuel load. “Fuel load” is a code word for nasty bushwhacking brush. On top of the mesa – burned off. Over the edge, looking for the canyon – very thick, and steeply downhill. We whacked downward, looking for the rim of the canyon. Brush was so dense that we were about 2 feet off the ground, holding onto bushes. Taking any line other than directly down the fall line was not working. So down we went, found the crease of the watercourse and this was rather clear(er). We followed this down to the rim.
Quite a view, straight down into the canyon. 800 feet. Sure, some of it was brushy, but… my best guess is that from that big tree down there to the canyon bottom was probably 350 feet. We had some lunch.
We have ropes. One 300-foot rope, one 110-foot rope and one 200-foot pull cord. A bolt kit with two bolts. Lots of webbing. A fiddlestick. Okay, MAYBE we had the gear to go down there, but… the HOPE was that the canyon fell steadily from our location on the rim to its intersection with Orderville – a HOPE that could have produced quite a nice canyon. The REALITY was that it did most of the drop right at the top, and then was relatively flat out to Orderville. So… not much chance of any nice canyon, down there, IF we could even get there.
Considering how gnarly the bushwhack down was, the decision to turn around was made reluctantly. Up that stuff? Yikes! So we went up the clearish drainage, then followed some clearish type stuff to the side, but eventually fairly steeply uphill, fighting for every inch. (Thought of you, Kip). Eventually we made the crest. Ahhhh. Walked back to my station wagon. Went home. Long cool shower. A nap. Plenty of Dr. Pepper…
Exploration depends on hope. Not all turn out good – this canyon, which we did NOT do, and which seems destined to never get itself done, I am christening “No Good”. It is a “Tell, don’t Show”. If you want a burly Zion First Descent – all yours!
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 25th, 2012
Canyoneering, Exploration, Tom Jones, Trip Report, Zion, Zion Adventure Company