Spry Canyon Anchor Bolting, Zion National Park, UT
Is it MAY, already? Where does the time go? Elana is back in Springdale briefly between travelling the world (Israel, Jordan, Spain, Portugal, Morocco!) and moving to Silverton to guide for Outward Bound—and with the fine weather, a canyoneering adventure seemed to be in order. With the recent rain, something casual please. How about Spry? We met somewhat early and shuffled cars around, and started hiking. The weather report was a little iffy for the afternoon, but it was plenty hot in the morning! We trudged up the steep, sun-bathed slickrock using a lively, multi-faceted conversation to keep the motivation up, and soon found ourselves at the first rappel.
With just the two of us, I did not really want to carry a long rope for the first rappel (165'), so we didn't. We brought two 120' ropes, a FiddleStick and a 300' superpullcord. The first rap is mostly down a slab that is almost walkable, with a ledge just about 120 feet down. I rapped first carrying the second rope, and it just made it to the pothole ledge. After tying the second rope on I proceeded to the 'ground', Elena came down carefully spooling out the pull cord. A quick yank and both pull and rope were down to us for gobbling*. We worked our way downcanyon, suiting up for the downclimb into the pool, which was swimmer. So much better than going around, though.
With two people, this canyon goes pretty darn fast. We soon found ourselves at the black slot rappel, aka the comb rappel. I had been looking at establishing a bolt anchor in the watercourse rather than where the "comb" is, off to the side. While it would not remove the unsightly rope grooves, at least they would not get deeper, get ropes stuck or otherwise cause folly. So we had lunch and I installed two 1/2" x 3-1/4" Powers Powerbolts up high above the watercourse where they should give a smooth rappel and much less rope grooving. Rigged with webbing and down into the slot we go! (Did not remove the old bolt station. Am interested in whether people think the new station is 'better'.)
After that, I was delighted to not find a mess of webbing around the big tree, but a single, tidy piece well-tied. We went for the rappel under the block, into the pool (full swimmer for sure!), and rigged webbing for that. Down to The Beach. Rapped through The Gate, and walked over to the Second Flute rappel. Downclimbed into the Obligatory Swim. etc.
I'm also thinking of putting in a two-bolt anchor for the last in-canyon rappel, as the tied-off horn is really ugly with webbing grooves, and where the rope crosses the edge is starting to "comb-up". A drilled anchor out near the edge would prevent further grooving...
We skipped down the boulderfield to Pine Creek, and soon found ourselves sipping malt beverages at the Spit and Purr! A fine day out with good company! The 40% change of afternoon showers never really materialized - until I was driving home when a series of thunderstorms moved through the area... good to be lucky!
*Gobbling - kiwi slang for stuffing the rope in the ropebag.