Paradiso – Dantes – canyoneering- Dec 2013 FreezeFest XII


It is hard to get psyched for FreezeFest, living in a heated house with a plush, warm bed each night. But — certain traditions MUST be followed, and FreezeFest is one of them. After a visit from the Ramoo for a snowy canyon in Zion, all that was left was to avoid packing (one day), pack (half a day) and drive out to Hanksville Utah (half a day). I drove into camp to find a cozy and mellow campfire scene – no jolly elves running around in novelty speedos, no rocket’s red glare, no inebriated wrestling in the snow, no recently de-fellowshipped Members discovering the joys of alcohol poisoning! Practically no conversation even, just a bunch of people staring into the coals and soberly occasionally taking a sip of Utah grocery-store beer. I applied my hard-earned ZAC-guiding skill set and got a bit of a conversation started, but…   but hey! It may be somewhat dull compared to year’s past, but it certainly suited my mood as well as the mood of the many FF veterans in attendance.

Deeps suggested Paradiso would be a great canyon on the morrow, and as I had not done it in a full 364 days, seemed like a good idea. We rallied a crew for a 7 am departure from camp and… Deeps spent the night hugging the porcelain God (in abstentia) due to some probably-tainted road-food… but the rest of us headed off for Ticaboo at too early of an hour, after only 10 hours of slumber.

At Offshore Marina we brewed coffee, made use of the facilities, repacked and generally tried to delay putting on the shoes as long as possible. Thankfully, being my first day at FreezeFest XII, MY shoes were dry and ready to go. We sorted ourselves into fully-capable vehicles and off to Windy Point it was.

Then a remarkable thing happened – it wasn’t windy. Actually, it was quite nice. Clothing was revised downwards; the possibilities of water discussed ad infinitum, rope lengths debated. After not too long, we walked. This year, the “we” consisted of John Diener, Rick Davenport, Adam Winstanley, Kristin Murray, Kevin et Perrin Swanson (representing Canukistan), Jeremy Freeman, TeAhna Harris. This would be my first EVER Dante without Ram!

a familiar downclimb

a familiar downclimb

We walked along the rim, dropped through a weakness in the top cliffband and made our way to the head of the canyon. Still one of the funnest canyons around, lots of moderate action, with gentler options for the chickens like me when the action gets high! We were delighted to find the canyon mostly dry. Some people wore wetsuits, some people (me) carried wetsuits, and some people rolled the dice. Chicken as I am (and seriously, I have not the flexibility to stem over those things), water to the knees was the most encountered. Seriously pretty! Not so seriously fun!

The second to last rappel, in dry conditions, allowed us to see where the bottom of that pothole once bounces over is at. Rick was so kind to rap all the way down in for pictures, then we quickly pulled him out.

Rick down in the hole!

Rick down in the hole!

Blah blah blah. Another delightful yet uneventful canyon adventure. Am I losing my curmudgeonly edge? Wait… OK, I will get my scruff up on one item – the anchor for the last rappel.

Poorly rigged anchor, before.

Poorly rigged anchor, before.

Seriously?  You couldn’t have extended this another 20″ and gotten it over the edge? The result of your (whomever you are’s) short-slingyness are a couple unsightly and un-necessary rope grooves. Needless to say, we rebuilt the anchor with fresh webbing and the ring over the edge. But the grooves … (facepalm)

Then we walked out and it was beautiful. Got back to the cars at a reasonable hour, drank beer and ravished the victory chips. Mission Accomplished!


About Tom Jones

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 Dec 30th, 2013 Anchors, Canyoneering, Ticaboo Mesa, Trip Report

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