Pipe Spring Canyon - Zion For Halloween!
Went to do some canyoneering, this fine Halloween day. Pipe Spring Canyon in Zion, up near Lava Point was the canyon du jour. I had not been there in a while, and wanted to revisit. Was not all that interested in swimming, or getting up early, so this seemed like a good choice. Mike Cressy came up from Vegas for the day; Cameron was in town briefly; Andy Archabald (AA) came over from St George; and Felicia joined in to complete our crew. One of my objectives was to put in a new (bolt) anchor halfway down the big rappel. Since the canyon was already almost-fully bolted, it would not be an ethical smudge. Last time I did it, we stuck a rope on that big rappel, and ended up cutting it. The next party through did the same thing, and jugged the rope, setting up a jingus anchor to get back down. There is a tree to use, but it is off the line of rappel and makes for a difficult pull. If this canyon was going to become popular, having it eat ropes on a regular basis would be a problem.
We met at a leisurely 9 am and drove on up, hitting the trail a few minutes past 10. Casual! The hike in is downhill, and very pleasant on this beautiful, crisp, fall day. We wandered on down, found our way to the first rap, put on our gear.
First rap had a couple colorful slings, which I cut off. Replaced with a single piece of black. We went down. The bottom of the rap had a tiny pool, which we worked hard to avoid, keeping our feet dry until the bottom of the next rappel. Replaced the webbing on the next anchor - almost all the anchors in the canyon are bolts; the canyon is on the MIA camp land, and my supposition is people from the camp bolted up the canyon.
Et cetera... down to the big rappel. Little Mike moved the boulder blocking the downclimb down a bit. With a little nudge. The boulder we used for an anchor the first time. We downclimbed to the ledge, to find two colorful pieces of webbing on the bolts for the big rap, which I replaced with black. I rapped down and tried to figure out where was a good ledge, and where the rope gets stuck. The geometry is somewhat complex. I checked a few ledges and came down to one that seemed to be the trouble; remnants of a stump at the bottom of the ledge looked like trouble. The ledge looked big enough for two maybe three people. I brought Mike down to give me a tight belay, stepped up on a ledge and picked a place to drill out of the watercourse. Did some drilling. Everyone else had lunch.
About an hour later, the anchor was done, I rapped down to join the others lounging at the bottom.
We resumed our descent. A couple more rappels, and we pop out to the "MIA slot". Given the late hour (3:00 pm) and the numerous Halloween parties in our future, we decide to head on up from there. Which involves a pretty good glutes and quads workout, for 45 minutes. Then an uphill hike for 105 minutes = back to the cars => head for Springdale. A quick shower and interesting change of clothes, and we'all ('cept that party pooper AA) tossing back libations and enjoying the sloppy joes at Casa across-the-street. Thanks to all for a fun day out...