Heaps Canyon with the Direct Exit, Zion National Park, UT
Canyoneering with a crack team is a great pleasure. Two guides from France, Guillaume Coquin and Francois, plus Locomotive Lynn and Cassy Brown from ZAC (and me) make one darn fine team. A test run in Mystery the day before was a bit later, hotter and longer than I prefer before a Heaps, but we did hook up with visiting Australian photographer Mark Watson, who generously offered to hike the 600 foot rope to the Emerald Pools for us - that helped. An early start (5:30) was good. I chose the bottom up because I needed the extra hour of sleep and really did not want to do the car fetch. And with the two young chamois to carry the ropes... less of a problem than usual. Off we went...
A massive thunderstorm the morning before that hit Springdale seems to have missed Heaps - but the canyon was still full. Hanging with the Frenchies, a jump trip to Mexico, good eyeglass control, full conditions, a warmer wetsuit and knowing the canyon well = we did some jumps. Small jumps entirely, since pools there are rarely deeper than 8 feet. It was fun and faster (and not to be encouraged). I am happy to say that our foreign guests were quite impressed by the canyon - perhaps Zion's best.
We came to the end about 4 pm, with Mark and the rope expected about 5 pm. Would he be there? We made a contingency plan and took the Direct Exit down the watercourse, FiddleSticking the log at the top so as not to mislead following parties who do not read the beta. The descent went smoothly, aided by the proficiency and practiced teamwork of Guillaume and Francois. A rappel and lower put Guillaume on the ground, happy to see Mark there. The long rope was tied on and pulled up. The rest of us went down. The rope was pulled. (Afterwards, I measured the length used - 355 feet).
The traditional beer and burger fest at Oscar's ensued.
Thanks to all. A fine day out.