A Casual Hogwarts Canyon, and more, North Wash, Freezefest

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FF XIV: After a frosty Inferno, came back to camp to find Alane had arrived from Colorado. Next day we joined Ram and others to do a super-duper, double-cross-your-heart secret canyon, which of course was totally wonderful (400 foot rappels next to hot-water waterfalls, dolphins in the pools, a couple 40 foot jumps... you know, all that secret canyon stuff) but I can't show you pictures or even let you know it was over by Bluff. But super-secret was a long cold day, despite the sauna caves and hot tub pools, so we lounged for the next day, the 30th. Deeps had come in the night before and Ramoo had been called home. With a seriously casual start (11 am), Alane, Deeps, Ryan Nilsson went off to do the mighty Hogwarts...

Climbing the approach gully

Climbing the approach gully

We made the long drive, grabbed the gear and were soon making our way up the rocky gully that is the approach. Shady gully led to sunny places higher. Up over the ridge then down the other side into the head of the canyon. Some discussion ensued of where the best place for the first rap was...  Ryan had not used the FiddleStick before and wanted the opportunity to give it a try. We Fiddled the "usual anchor" with a discussion of how to use the FiddleStick to get the rope stuck. We put on big coats and rapped down into the shade.

Ryan rapping rappel 2

Ryan rapping rappel 2

Scuttling over the "Drop-the-Rope Hole"

Scuttling over the "Drop-the-Rope Hole"

A brief stroll took us to the Big Arch rappel, so down we went. I was happy to see the pool below that completely dry. Soon we were at the Scuttle-Over hole, then down to the hueco rappel. None of the numerous huecos were rigged for rappel, so we chose a different hueco and line of rappel than usual; and Ryan got to set it up.

Sunny platform

Sunny platform

Then finally onto the great slickrock platform in the sun. We re-rigged the webbing on the Alligator and descended the final rap; soon walking the line back up to the picnic area.  Roundtrip, 2-1/2 hours.

After a late lunch back at camp, Ryan, Deeps and I hiked up to Sandthrax to take out the bolt at the entry rappel. Ryan and I visited the exit from the canyon, where we found that carving one's name after doing the canyon has become popular with a certain vandal-class of human being. Arghhhh!  We hiked up around, getting the blood pumping again. We looked at climbing down the canyon to the first rap, but it was harder than we remembered, so no one was really psyched to work that hard. We circled back around and I rapped to the first anchor off a equalized meat anchor off Deeps and Ryan. One single bolt and one empty hole find did I. I removed the bolt and tried to fill the holes with epoxy putty, but the cold was not so good for the glue, so it is not sure that it stuck. I'll have to check out this coming spring sometime.

first bolt in Sandthrax

first bolt in Sandthrax

Then back to camp for dinner, then extended campfire time...  bliss.