Jacob Canyon rebolting in Zion National Park, UT
Shall we give Jacob a visit again? The weather was temperate, but soon would be too hot for this south-facing canyon – yes. One ‘benefit’ of working on the guidebook (Zion, 2nd Edition) which I “have been” for about 5 years (Bullwinkle: “This time for sure!”) is that I feel like certain things need to be ‘fixed’, including the bolt anchor on the penultimate rap in Jacob. I suspect the rap was originally done off a sling around a chockstone in the crack – then someone added a bolt to back that up… and again, again, again… till we have what we had at the start of this day, a mess of mostly bad bolts, all to create an anchor in a crappy location for rope retrieval and/or rope intactness. In addition to fun, this day had relocating that anchor as its main objective.
We wanted an early start, as it could be a long day, and that anchor was going to add an hour. Plus I am an hour slower getting up Lady Mountain than I was 5 years ago. But alas, even Ali, a ZNP employee, could not convince Brad to give up the coveted White Pass. I could rant about this… but let’s not. Needless to say, we tried to the catch the ‘first bus’, and did good.
This year’s Team Jacob is Cassy Brown, Cameron McMillan, Rachel Ross, Ali White and your humble correspondant, me = Tom Jones. Across the river, up the non-trail, scamper up the hill to the base of the chimney, then up the Lady Mountain to the top. We were early enough to avoid the heat. Shenanigans ensued.
Then over to the top of Jacob (direct start). I had forgotten what a friggin’ pain this is. Some sketchy downclimbing, some sketchy ridge following, some sketchy climbing up the superloose rock, some sketchy down steep dirt till finally in the canyon at the first rap. Once on rope, I felt much safer.
A few tree raps and we arrive at the rock narrows. There were more bolt anchors than I remember, but it is always hard to say whether that is a Tom memory problem (likely) or that those were new bolts (possible). We sashayed through the rock narrows and popped out into the lush-foliage section. Thankfully, early enough in the spring that the Poison Ivy was not resplendent, but don’t touch those grey sticks… okay?
We casualled it down the canyon. No big hurry. Smooth sailing with the “A” team. A bit of snowmelt was coming down the side… Cassy and I went down the watercourse and came to a pool. (The others went around on a ledge). We really did not want to swim, and with a little dynamic action and sticky shoe action, we both made it without getting wet.
Soon enough, we arrived at the end of the canyon. A long, exposed, fairly easy downclimb and the work could begin. I found a place out of the flow that looked like it gave a clean line of sight to the bottom of the rap, and started in. Two 1/2″ x 2-3/4″ Stainless Steel Powers Powerbolts and we have a new anchor. Tossed some webbing on it. Got the team heading downward, 240 feet or so…
MUCH less Poison Ivy on the rap this time. Got the team down, pulled the rope clean, sauntered down to the final rap. Did that. Stuffed ropes. Re-packed packs. A bit of bushwhackery, some deer trail following and we were down in the Court of the Patriarchs. Before horsey-ride season, this is a pretty nice place. Back to the bus stop in time for the last bus EASY. 15 minutes to spare.