Pine Creek Canyon in Winter, Zion National Park, UT
After a great day in Keyhole (which sounds faintly ridiculous)... Luke came up from Las Vegas, and the question was, what canyons COULD we do. Given the blanket of snow across Zion, Deeps and I kinda thought the only canyon that would be non-epic would be Pine Creek. We rallied somewhat earlier, to avoid the afternoon snowmelt flood, and picked up a permit again, grabbed a drysuit at ZAC for Luke, then headed up the hill. Saturday was colder than Friday, and the "melt" never really materialized. We dropped into Pine Creek around 10 am to find just a tad of flow... and lots of snow at the start. We used the SAR bolts to get into the pool before the first rappel, then were happy to find the pool filled in with sand that allowed easy access to the first rap bolts. In we went.
The day was overcast, the light somewhat somber. While the canyon was definitely full of water, it was also full of sand. No doubt there were plenty of swims... but not in the usual places quite so much. We enjoyed the canyon, the views, the swims...
At the last rap we took the new "Boulder Rappel", also easy to reach, down into the chamber. The downclimb was iced up, so we continued the rap all the way down, grateful our ropes were 120' rather than just 100 feet.
The hike out was tedious, to say the least. We had a Happy Meal down at Oscar's afterwards. A fine day out, thanks to Luke and Deeps for dragging me out of the house.
Final note: with the leaves off the trees, we noticed this area next to the first window in the tunnel. Looks like a concrete wall painted to look like sandstone. There's a much smaller patch on the inside of the tunnel!