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East Temple Fast!

June 29, 2008

Saturday June 28th, 2008

After an excellent day involving a fast descent of Imlay Canyon, Buzz and I decided to follow-up it up with a quick ascent of East Temple, one of the more iconic peaks in Zion National Park. Our buddy Ryan had to return to Pocatello for family matters so that left just the two of us. Buzz had done it before so he had good beta on the route. A slight variation had been described by Aron Ralston to Bill Wright to Buzz so we had that up our sleeve as well. Buzz had done it prior with his girlfriend and they brought ropes and gear and had to do all the route-finding, so Buzz figured that with our “light-and-fast” style (no gear) it would take us no more than 6 hrs.

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The Wasatch “Fun Run”

June 16, 2008

I’ve always been attracted to events that involve lots of vertical.  Naturally some of the more mountainous 100 miles races (Hardrock, Wasatch, and this year UTMB) have caught my attention.  Hardrock is 33,000 ft of vertical gain.  I also like nice round numbers, so naturally tripling it to 100,000 seemed like a good platform to start an adventure/goal.  I discovered over the years that doing 100,000 ft. of gain in a month while holding a full-time job was certainly possible and something that I’ve worked into my repertoire quite consistently now.  So, last year I figured I’d see if I could condense it down to a shorter amount of time.  5 days seemed like a good target as it equated to ~20,000ft per day, a manageable amount.  

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Hyper-Canyoneering in Zion National Park

May 26, 2008

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….

Zion Traverse

May 26, 2008

Referred to as “Disneyland” by Karl Meltzer, Zion National Park truly is one of the ultimate outdoor playgrounds in the West.  Some my earliest memories growing up take place between the beautiful sandstone walls of the park proper.  Fortunately still living in the Salt Lake City I get to visit the park often, with only a 4 hr drive between us.  As a kid my Zion NP activities included short hikes, playing in the river, and experiencing a yearly concert of the Utah Symphony held at the O.C. Tanner amphitheatre adjacent to the park entrance.  If you like the symphony and enjoy the outdoors this event should not be missed.

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