Constrychnine & Slideanide Canyons, North Wash, UT
Sunshine, canyons, fun people. Jane, Roger and Deb were down for a weekend of slot-thrashing, and had invited their friends Jane and Steve for their first Sandthrax weekend. They invited me too, and I invited Dave, and we drove over and... Morning found us over near Poison Springs Canyon to do a favorite - Constrychnine Canyon, aka Project X.
I had not been here for 5 years or so, when Ryan had lead us on an early descent. Ryan had called it Project X, but eventually Shane found it, yada yada yada, and came up with a great "Poison theme" name. It became Constrychnine, and popular.
Fun to see how the anchors were. Much was the webbing was stuff I had put in 5 years before, but there was a lot of webbing added. With 5 additional years of putting in anchors, my style has evolved to minimize the intrusion (while maintaining safety, of course). Natural color webbing is important, as is extending the anchor far enough to minimize rope grooves. Leaving a minimum of webbing behind is also part of the mix, so we ended up taking away quite a bit of "double" and "triple" backups that did not contribute to safety, but tried to leave double independent strands where the webbing gets abraded.
This picture: the anchor as we found it: A. two strands of webbing go all the way around the big rock (new anchor: one strand around the pinch on the front end of the boulder); B. anchor extension ends 3 feet from the edge of the drop... resulting in rope grooves (new anchor, extended over edge past grooves). C. bright colors replaced by dull more-natural colors.
It IS a difficult start, especially since it is a beginner-ish canyon. But using the infamous "courtesy anchor" technology, only the final, most-experienced person need do the very awkward start.
Jane (2) on the first rappel (108 feet).
The anchor, as used. Blue backup to a boulder. White primary to a pinch under the front of the huge boulder. Tied back several feet so everyone (but me) can get on rappel easily (still an awkward start).
The anchor, as left. Single strand of 1: tubular webbing for most of it. Double independent strands where it crosses the edges.
Rap ring extended over the edge. Tom gets an exciting start out of it!!
Jane (2), model for the day, on Rappel 2, 180 feet from a long sling on a tree in the watercourse,
down into a slot (don't throw the rope, it might get stuck).
Nice canyon, eh? Big raps, big walls.
Looking down into the abyss.
The next rap gets your attention, too. It goes down into a dark slot and chamber, off a single drilled angle piton. Lots of chatter about the piton flexing, but it seemed pretty good to me. We meat-anchored a backup for all but the last. (There is a slung chockstone up and right - might be more secure).
Dave Buckingham going down! Big smile as usual.
Hiking out the bottom of the canyon.
Big beautiful walls. (with a little help from photoshop)
Dave and I, the canyon anchor Nazis (mostly me) removed quite a bit of extraneous webbing from the two canyons. Here's the pile!
Dave and I exited Constrychnine swiftly in order to get a lap in on Slideanide. A little slickrock-stairmaster, and in 45 minutes we were at the top of Slideanide, cleaning webbing off an anchor at the top, from people who had not looked too hard (for an easy downclimb to a lower shelf and a shorter, cleaner rappel). My original webbing from March 2004, backed up with another white/tan piece.
With our casual start in the morning, it was maybe a bit later than prudent, so we moved off expeditiously. Slideanide is good for this, as it has a lot of fun downclimbs, not really very hard, and few rappels. Top of first rappel - 2:55 pm. End of canyon - 4:12 pm.
Davy anxious to charge downcanyon.
And we got out to the top right at dark. Back to camp for (a bit late), "Happy Hour", and good eats from the Arhart's Kitchen of Delights!!!