Paradiso on Ticaboo Mesa - Utah Canyoneering at its finest
Our annual INSANE canyoneering festival called FreezeFest is held in North Wash for a good reason - there are a LOT of good canyons within easy reach. For this day, we chose Paradiso out on Ticaboo Mesa, one of the Dante Canyons, possibly the funnest of the Dante Canyons. The day starts with an early start from camp, and a 30 minute drive to the Off-Shore Marina in Ticaboo. The drive gives a chance to warm up the body, and to warm and dry out the shoes, pads and socks from the previous day's adventure. Warm bathrooms as a reasonable hot breakfast in a heated room are other delights that draw us out that way. We sort ourselves into fully-capable 4WD vehicles and head out across Ticaboo Mesa to the far end, a place perhaps called Windy Point. Another 50 minutes of driving allows the breakfast to settle in.
All too soon, it is time to hop out of the car, make final clothing adjustments and head off across the edge of the mesa for the head of Paradiso Canyon. We have faith that once IN the canyon, the wind will relent and the sunshine will warm us up, as will the athleticism required to traverse the canyon. Our crowd for the day: Ramoo, Jenny West, Mike MacPhee, Esther Wysong, Julie and Kevin Krause, Jeremy Freeman, Deanpaul Russell, Malia Emem, Dan Ransom, and myself, Tom Jones.
We traverse the rim, then find the cut through the cliffband, sashay down the slickrock to the start of the technical section. Time to pad up, harness up and get on with it...
Paradiso begins with a bang, offering a high downclimb for those up for the task. Being not exactly limbered up for a dicey downclimb, many of us (including me) opt for a quick rappel off of meat, then we are IN the canyon, squeezing and climbing, out of the wind and working hard enough to stay warm. We squeeze, climb, worm, assist, spot and thigh-belay our way through the canyon. Most of the water-hazards and easily avoided. We work our way through the canyon until... well, really, thankfully, not much happened. People had a good time, the canyon was beautiful, a few spots of sunshine added to the pleasantness, and we soon found ourselves at the final rappel.
The walk out is up a nice buttress, unfortunately back in the wind. We donned more clothing and made our way up the slickrock. Eventually we made the top as the stars were coming out (with a little help from the Hubble Space Telescope...)