Lodge Canyon & Mountain of the Sun Summit, Zion National Park, UT


The season is over, right? Well, not for a few die-hards. Comes 'round the first weekend of December, and folks were jonesin' for a canyon fix. It was pretty cold out, and Zion got a dusting of snow, so... We wanted to do Imlay Canyon, because a friend had had a senior moment two weeks before and left his pack in a dark little pothole. Would be nice to retrieve his pack for him (otherwise, it would be destroyed in the first good melt), but Imlay is a bit of an undertaking in the cold, and it did not fit most people's definition of 'fun'. We settled on Spry Canyon. The crew is: Tom Jones (me), Hank Moon, Denise Manweiler, Malia Msmnificent and Bruce from Bryce.

Photos this Rave are from Malia, Hank and I. (Uncredited photos, if any, by Tom). I've got a new, bigger screen, and the photos are really good, thus images are bigger, and you will want a high-speed connection this time around, or a lot of patience.

A cold morning start.

Climbing up toward the pass, Hank and Tom

Malia and Bruce at the “Tree with handy root”

Getting near the top of the pass.

Hank wandered off to the side to take photos of us on the approach. Here he is, off in the distance, across the marvelous slickrock waves that lead up to Deertrap and the East Temple.

Denise practicing her luge technique, with some concerns about tagging the Yucca…

Ah, success. No Yucca spines.

Ice formations provided opportunities for interesting pics. This by Malia.

And this photo by Hank, photoshopinization by Tom

Malia and Hank spent a few minutes grooving on the cool ice formations and taking pictures while the rest of us headed down towards the first rappel in Spry. There was a bit of an ice flow to cross to get to the first anchor – didn’t look too bad – and an arctic wind blowing up the canyon. After a few minutes hanging out waiting, we were chilled. Hmmmm, maybe a bit too cold to plunge into the darkness of Spry Canyon today.

“We’re cold! Let’s go do Mountain of the Sun”.

So, up we go, to the pass over into Lodge Canyon

Taking note of a debris flow, not unlike the one in Mystery.

Malia at yet another photo op.

mmmmmmm. Ice!

The merry Hankster, photo-opping da ice.

Bruce al Bryce, nimbly passing the ‘pool traverse’. Hankster ready to lend a hand.

This was a trip that involved a lot of up and down. In fact, up, down, up, down, up to the top of Mtn of the Sun, then down, up, down, up and down to return. Wheww! Here, Denise is climbing up the ramp to the Mtn of the Sun / Twin Brothers Col.

Then up toward the top of Mt of the Sun. Hank demonstrates his very best slab climbing technique on the slab-crux of the climb.
The climb was actually a little desperate. The steep, loose, exposed section had a layer of snow on it, and required care to wipe the snow off the holds and your feet, before moving up. Tedious and a bit scary.

Really good views were to be had. This is the Majestic/Cathedral massif, with Spearhead Canyon coming right towards us, Behunin Canyon to the left.

This photo shows some of the exposure we were starting to feel…

Past the first dicey crux, a little playing around was called for.

Almost to the summit, the north face of Twin Brother facing us.

For Bruce and Malia, their first Zion summit.

Views from the top: The weird hoodoos that mark the summit of the Great White Throne.

Looking into the Court of the Patriarchs, and Birch Creek.

Looking south towards Springdale and the West Temple.

Time to head back down. On our side, it is a bit snowy, and treacherous!

Hank found some cool wood on the way back down.

And Malia shot that cool tree.

Slab crux: stimulating on the way down, too.

Denise crankin’, downclimbing the 5.10 sports-climbing crux…

Oh, well, maybe not really that steep.

Cool arch and textured slab on the hike out.

Sunset from Spry pass, looking through the notch at Mt Spry and the West Temple.

And a final sunset shot, still half an hour from the road. Nice shot, Ms. M.
Then we went back to my place and par-teed!