Lodge Canyon and a New Anchor, Zion

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Working on the 2nd Edition of my Zion Canyoneering Guidebook, one of the 'benefits' of due diligence is that I 'get' to do all the canyons again at least once, to see how they are doing. Lodge Canyon was never a favorite, but, after two trips this spring, it is not so bad, really. Aniko The Hiker brought a gang up from the Phoenix area to do a few canyons, and invited me along for Lodge Canyon for their Sunday, get-away canyon. Last time I did the canyon, maybe 10 years ago, we used a small, not-long-for-this-world tree for the first rap... what was being used now? Bo at The Desert Rat had mentioned a 'cave' he always visits and I was anxious to find this interesting feature, too.

The "Cave" - a treat on the approach

The "Cave" - a treat on the approach

We hiked in, me taking notes via the camera and my seriously-no-so-good memory. We visited the Cave - a nice feature especially on a hot day, and only a 15 minute side trip. At the head of the canyon, we found the easy downclimb in, snuck right to avoid a drop, then came to the place where the small tree had died. A boulder pinch had a few slings around it, a bit messy but not terrible, and we rigged that with a FiddleStick to avoid a possible tough pull; then rapped 30 feet. A second rap was made off a tied-off chockstone, where we met up with other members of the party who had chosen a more-dramatic rap-in point.

Bill and Aniko, Rap #1

Bill and Aniko, Rap #1

The next rappel, #3, was a problem before and was a problem now. There used to be a small tree at this point, then a bolt was added to back up the small tree. I added another bolt to solidify the anchor about 10 years ago, hoping to save the tree (no such luck), but really, this anchor was in a sucky place. A low-angle slab leads to a sharp edge and a 130 foot vertical rappel. If you extend the anchor with webbing a long way, then the pull is good but the start is difficult (for the last person, assuming you set a courtesy anchor for all but the last). Or you could set the webbing short and have a difficult pull. Not good.

Aniko starting rap #3, old position, Lodge Canyon

Aniko starting rap #3, old position, Lodge Canyon

So I came back with other friends a week later and put in a new, two-bolt (1/2" x 3-3/4") anchor in the watercourse, which looks like a hard start, but is not. Better. I took the bolts off the old anchor but did not fill the holes. I hope people find this anchor better. (Yellow=old; Blue=new)

Old rap #3, Lodge Canyon

Old rap #3, Lodge Canyon

Down we went. Then the next anchor... Two well-placed bolts on the wall, right next to a tumble of boulders with lots of good pinches to be tied off with webbing. Next trip through, I removed the hangers from the bolts and used the webbing to rig one of the pinches, which actually made a nicer rappel.

Shelley rapping in Lodge Canyon, repositioned anchor

Shelley rapping in Lodge Canyon, repositioned anchor

Then, the crux move on the 'route' - the rappel to the peninsula, where it is important to escape from the watercourse, to avoid the 360'(???) rappel below, instead rappelling down the side of the fin/peninsula in two raps.

Rap to the Peninsula to avoid the watercourse...

Rap to the Peninsula to avoid the watercourse...

Last rappel, the webbing was rigged short (as shown), so I extended it out over the edge, and it turns out there are some ledges down there that make the start easy even with the ring over the edge.

Aniko on the last rappel, rigged short, WAY short.

Aniko on the last rappel, rigged short, WAY short.

A fine day, well, actually, two fine days in the canyon. Not such a bad canyon, for a short day out in Zion. Runs north so somewhat cooler than many other offerings. Fine companions on both trips - thanks to all.