Hyper-Canyoneering in Zion National Park


In the hugely growing sport of high speed canyoneering (I think that there are probably 2 or 3 of us out there 🙂 ) I have a few potential records to throw out there. 

November 23, 2007

Long-time friend, climber extraordinaire, and extremely talented canyoneer Ryan McDermott and I were in Zion for another weekend of adventure.  When we arrived we had a spare hour so we thought we’d try to set a record on Pine Creek.  We know it fairly well after having done is a dozen times or so.  With a 60m rope, and a single 100′ line we took off from the small parking lot east of the Tunnel in high-speed mode.  We did 2 rappels in the main slot canyon and then the final long rappel at the end.  We touched down on the final rappel in 14 minutes 50 seconds.  We then ran out quite expeditiously to the normal exit from Pine Creek, hitting the road at 30 minutes and 50 seconds.  We were quite happy about this but concluded that through perfecting the rope work and getting the run out the drainage a bit more dialed we could get down to 25 minutes pavement to pavement.  In this sport I always take am moment at the end to be grateful for not breaking anything.  Good times!

FYI, The next day we did a winter descent of the full Kolob Canyon, which was quite exciting.  It involved icy pools and a long slog out through the Narrows….  Could Winter Canyoneering be the next big thing?  🙂

May 17, 2008

After going through Keyhole canyon with friends at a leisure pace I thought I’d try it in high-speed mode.  Armed with ONLY my trusty LaSportivaFireblades, running shorts, and 20′ of webbing, I left the car (parked at the end of Keyhole) running down the road, ripped up the sandstone wash to the hoodos and proceed to perform “controlled falling” down the root infested hill and through the intro canyon section.  I passed party of ~6 who were pulling on dry-suits, neoprene socks, gloves, sticky rubber boots, etc. gearing up for a “real” canyoneering experience.  I chucked my rope down the first drop, slid down the tree and went through the next few drops as quickly as possible.  I did use the 20′ of webbing for the only mandatory “rappel”, which I hand over handed down.  I jumped right in the last water section and swam through it, which was certainly faster than chimneying higher up.  Quite a thermal shock to the system but as long as your heart rate is about 190 you’re fine!  🙂  Once out of the water it’s less than 60 seconds to the car.  Good times!  I’ll be back down on June 6/7 and plan to do it again but with a head-mounted video camera on for those interested, it should provide a few good laughs and if I don’t break anything I’ll be pleased.

Up and Coming

On June 22, 2008 Buzz and I are going to try what I call the Zion Trifecta.  This will be a wicked cool day (and by “day” I mean all of 24 hrs) attempting to linkup the 3 big daddies of Zion: Heaps, Imlay, Kolob, in that order.  More to come on this….

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7 Responses to “Hyper-Canyoneering in Zion National Park”

  1. ~tanya Says:

    You guys are impressive. You need to stop by this Outdoor Community and tells us about your adventures!


    PS… Sportiva’s rule! 😉

  2. Steve B Says:

    Did you guys ever do the Trifecta? Scott Holley and I did the technical section of Pine Creek in eight minutes back in 2002 (?).

  3. Steve B Says:

    I’m quite impressed by the 30m 50s run out though. It took me 42 minutes to get to the car, if I recall. I am not much of a runner 😉

  4. Jared Campbell Says:

    Hi Steve, thanks for commenting. 8 minutes for the technical section is sick! Was that from the car to the end of the final rappel? Ryan and I did it from the car and had the rope re-coiled at the end of the big final rapell in 15 minutes?

    We didn’t end up doing the Trifecta, largely because Kolob was supposedly in poor or dangerous conditions. We’ll be back. We did full Imlay in ~6 hrs 45 minutes through the end of the final rappell, which was cool. Hi speed Canyoneering is great!

  5. Buzz Says:

    Look for a Post on the “Zion Summit Double” when the weather cools down in October!

  6. Steve B Says:

    I wish I kept better notes. That was car to the ground, though I can’t recall if the rope was coiled or not. We did probably the same raps you did, the first and arch rappel, dc’d the rest. Scott & I had honed our rope management to surgery precision which probably accounts for the difference.
    6h45m Imlay is blazing – is that from West Rim or the bottom? I hope you guys do the Trifecta.
    I’m thinking about it too. Looking forward to the Zion Summit Double, Buzz!

  7. Jared Says:

    Our 6 hr 45 min was from the West Rim Trailhead to the end of the final rap.

    Buzz and I are psyched for the Summit Double in October, should be great fun. Buzz is a real mountain goat!

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