Pine Creek on Ice – Zion National Park – Feb 2013

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Finally, a storm brought moisture upon us, first time since New Years. Not the best timing, however, as Ram was just blowing into town. Kip had proposed snowmobiling up to Chamberlain’s Ranch and descending The Narrows as his final Zion blast before he moves his family to The Big Apple for a few years, but a bit of snow made that untenable. They did Englestead Canyon instead, and it was divine, but kinda long in the snow and cold and short days of February.

I declined The Narrows and thus also the Englestead venture. But was given front for the next day, when Dean Kurtz would be joining us, if he could find a babysitter. We considered Spry Canyon, but ended up choosing Pine Creek as the best available given current conditions. Dean’s babysitter fell through, but he brought his two wonderful boys down to Deep Creek Coffeehouse in Springdale to have breakfast and socialize with Ram and Jenny. And by default, me too.

Heading into Pine Creek, Feb 2013

Heading into Pine Creek, Feb 2013

Dean gave us a car shuttle (thank you Dean) and snapped our picture as we entered. We dropped down into the snow under the bridge, and finished suiting up. We used the SAR anchors to rappel into the pool before the “first rappel”, and immediately found out how well we had dressed (well enough, but still). The ramp up to the first anchor was snowy AND icy – Jenny crawled up this on-belay. And off we went!

Jenny crawling up to the first rappel anchor

Jenny crawling up to the first rappel anchor

Pine Creek was very full of water, but also full of sand, so many of the pools were less-deep than expected. But it was really cold in there, especially with the snow and ice making our progress slow and careful. Fingers and toes became slow and stiff. Not many pictures were taken, and I certainly did not take the time to make adjustments, given the difficult light. At the end, we tossed a big sling around the top of the rock, rather than try to climb up the slab to get to the bolted anchor. We took the upper trail out as hopping down the boulders in the streambed would have been both difficult and dangerous. A big burger at Oscar’s, and an extra sleeping bag on the bed that night and… well, really, I’m STILL cold!

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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 Feb 11th, 2013 Canyoneering, Jenny West, Pine Creek, Tom Jones, Trip Report, Winter, Zion  ,  ,  ,  ,

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