An East Zion Classic. Fat Man's Misery (West Fork of Misery Canyon) is a canyoneering adventure just outside the east boundary of the park on BLM land. Getting to the canyon and escaping back to your car requires good navigation skills – have a map and use it. Unfortunately, the Trails Illustrated Zion National Park Map does not cover this area, so the USGS "The Barracks" and "Springdale East" quadrangles are required.
A cross-country route is followed to Misery Canyon, then the canyon followed through a series of short, interesting narrows with a few rappels and swims. Misery then drops into the East Fork of the Virgin River through a beautiful grotto – the highlight of the trip. The East Fork is followed briefly, then a steep climb up a ridge leads back to civilization. The climb out can be scorching in summer, so Fat Man's is best reserved for spring and fall. Water can be filtered from the East Fork.
Legend has it, one of the rappels could be avoided by worming down a narrow passage between boulders - thus the name "Fat Man's Misery". This feature has eroded away, but the hike out still provides a dose of misery for those not in top condition.
In several places, single old bolts COULD be used for rappels. These things are dangerous – please admire their antiquity, but rig your rappel off more reliable (typically natural) anchors.
The technical sections of Fat Man's are entirely outside the park, so a permit is not required.
Exiting from Misery Canyon requires a short walk down the East Fork. If the Canyon is in flood stage, this short walk could be difficult or impossible. Check the level of the river before starting on this adventure, especially in the spring.