FreezeFest V: Chambers Canyon, Robbers Roost
Photos of this Canyon by Malia, with a few by Hank as noted. Processing and captions by Tom.
The gang assembles: Herr Ram, Martina Centava, Young (cute) Ram, Hankamo, Wyoming Dave (reclining). Malia taking the pics.
Dave Pimental, in recline, with a big smile, as usual.
The canyon starts out as a very narrow slot, too narrow to enter. Ram traversing over the top, using the Galumphing method.
RAM: In November, Amy and I had missed the canyon. It was the exploration of undetermined difficulty. We had been cautious. When they returned, they were an energized group. The canyon was a good, nay a great one. No need for a harness. No need for a rope, but don't underestimate it. And better bring your climbing shoes and stick to that diet!
Knowing my daughter, she would remain focused on the place, until such a time as she could descend it. The word was that it was pretty stiff, even if not a big dropping affair. I thought it prudent to take a trip down it, before bringing Amy in the spring. You know, mark all the spots that would challenge her, in my mind. Aaron told me "Watch out for yourself, big guy. It is a tight affair."
I mention to the November crew that I plan to do it on the first day of FreezeFest. To my surprise, everyone one who went the first time, wants back again and only a month later!! Must be real good, this canyon.
The tribe gathers the next AM, the day after Christmas. Aaron and I start our drive at 1:50 AM, hook in Hank and meet our buddies before 9 AM. It's canyon time. I spy a world, half white and half the various shades of slickrock. We will be tested. The snow covered slickrock, even at the lowest of angles is not Terra firma. Worth avoiding at all costs. We weave our way in, every corner a mystery as to whether it can be crossed.
We rest right as the canyon turns challenging. Tradition gives that those who have not been before, get to go in front. A good tradition, so says I. Especially today as I am the only fella who hasn't been. First we stem, then some elevators and soon we are low and is it ever tight. Aaron offers to go in front, to model...as if...his 5'10". 135 pound frame is going to create great insight for me. "Just wait, boy, your day will come." Maybe I can stay on the ground, but in 2 places, I feel safer going up 5-10 feet. The place is nearly as tight up there. Glad to return to the ground. Then we enter the Chambers. A whole series of subway rooms. The canyon overhead is less than a foot wide. One could imagine, looking up high, a series of features conspiring to make a section that would not be human friendly. But this is not one of them. We can go low. Winter light filters in and it is magic.
And the rest of the crew. First decision – where to drop down.
Skinny little Aaron went down here…
Hank goes down
Hank slips down inside…
…and down into it. Off to the races.
A bit of a narrow slot…
What it looks like, peering down in, trying to figure it out.
Yah, I think I would fit, um, about there…
Martina and Dave, about to drop in.
Dave being the steady hand at the stern.
Martina sliding down into one of the canyon’s many chambers.
Looking up. The canyon is narrow, the light interesting.
Hank, Martina and Dave in the middle of it. Whole lotta squeezin’ going on.
In the gloom…
After the super-narrow slot, this wonderful subway section.
A tiny bit of sunlight at the break. A bit of lunch.
RAM: We rest and and wait for the picture takers. And wait, and wait and.....its cold. Up on the wall a patch of sun shines, just out of reach. Some of us climb, hard moves, no real exposure, to be in the beams. It is hard to balance there and even when you succeed, your feet grow weary. We eat and go to walking around and we wait and we wait and we....Finally, we are together. The picture takers want to eat now. Sorrie Charrie, I'm outta here!!
A boulder field divides the canyon cleanly. tight above, potholes and ups and down below. One particularly hard up climb challenges everyone.....except perhaps Aaron. Others say "No Big" but it sure looked like they were working hard to me!! This type of climbing is a delight. The canyon shows me that it can hold water. A lot of water, but today it is dry. Hard climbing does warm you up, I'll say that for it. Soon, we squeeze out the final slot, into a huge ballroom. Chambers slot is a done deal. I consider the place. Amy will laugh at me, during the first half, she will wipe that smirk off her puss on the second part, but I think she can handle it. We will go this spring.
Downslide to the lower section.
Malia thrutching up the hard upclimb, lower section.
Malia, Martina and Dave-of-the-inscrutable-smile-fame galumphing along.
The end of this slot is very interesting. Ram at rest, before being birthed.
Coming out the end of the lower slot.
A bit cold, down here in the shade.
Hiking out the end of the canyon…
Sunny sandstone walls.
RAM: The exit out the bottom is busy. Snow on the ground, a huge overhang, complete with icy seeps and then sunshine, with a little kick this time. We must gain all the altitude we have lost and so we trudge, up the hill. We hit a spot where the snow blocks the way. In places, it is only 20 feet to sun baked and dry rock, but one can't get there. A big long detour and climb is the alternative. Martina and Dave take off for it. I look over to the left. Could. Maybe. Ummmm. Must check. Kookie here!! A spot only 12 feet to dry rock....But steep....and smooth. "Hey Aaron, come here. You think you could slide that and then spot me? Sure he says and so we take the WEEEEEE and cut the corner. Later, a low angle snow crossing is forced on us. I pick a near flat spot. It may be flat, but I go splat, right on my butt of fat!! I dust off the snow and my pride and climb to the rim. The sun in getting lower, but it enters our bowl directly. Off with the shirt and I lay back, spying Malia and Hank across the distance, heading our way. And yes, they did find our little snow slide. A great day. One must seize the day, for tomorrow you might be in Limbo.
Sandstone domes and winter snows.
And back to sitting around a warm campfire, the main event of Freeze Fest.