Posts Tagged ‘Zion’

Zironman – pt1

November 13, 2011

(This is a trip from early summer 2011. I’ve haven’t felt like writing until now.)

I felt like Davy Crockett. The Trans Zion – a wonderful run that traverses Zion National Park from one end to the other – was getting too crowded. Once an uncommon adventure, it seemed like someone was now doing it every spring weekend.

So in May when Jared Campbell shoots me an email with a Google Earth file attached and the entire text of the message is “Call me. :)” … well, I examined the file then called immediately. Turns out he had devised a new route thru Zion National Park, a very clever one going from west to east over the best summits, thru the best canyons, crossing some unknown territory, and with minimal time on actual trails. The Google Earth file showed a technical route climbing up to and then descending Icebox Canyon, running up the Hop Valley Trail to Wildcat TH, climbing the two Guardian Angels, then launching across unknown terrain hoping to connect with the West Rim Trail. From there the idea was to descend Imlay Canyon to the Narrows, then complete the Traverse by scrambling up Orderville Canyon. I loaded my Utah Topo! DVD, carefully studied the contours, and was somewhat surprised: this route actually seemed possible. This looked great.

Game on.



Lucky Eights Linkup

February 15, 2011
Weather is still good this Valentine’s weekend, but our typical fare of slot canyons would be a brutal ice fest, and even the popular trails are icy.  But the summits are clean and in the sun, and the daytime temps are pleasant, so long slickrock rambles become not only possible, but ideal in February.  Ryan hears how much fun we’re having so drives down the previous evening to join; this is helpful; instead of Jared waiting for me all the time, he can wait for his best friend as well.
The area of Zion NP south of the tunnel and east of the highway is largely unknown, untravelled, and un-all sorts of things.  It’s summits see fewer visits than some peaks in the Andes or Himalayas.  We park at the tunnel entrance, and start jogging up Gifford Canyon.  The trickle of water is frozen into a white ribbon of ice, the ripples in the wet sand are frozen so footprints leave no mark, and the seaps have grown into bulbous currents of frozen water.  Then we’re onto the slickrock, hit the sun, and we’re in shorts and t-shirts the rest of the day.  Winter in Zion is great!

Cowboy Traverse

February 15, 2011

This blog has been on hiatus for 1-2 years.  During that time I made a couple more very painful and expensive visits to the hospital, I built a house, and basically let go of ever doing anything worth writing about again.

But Colorado got really cold, I decided to visit relatives in California, it’s easiest to drive, and Zion NP happens to be on the way … which made me think of Jared … who jumped at the thought of meeting me there …

When one is going on a trip with the World’s Strongest Runner, it’s time to get in shape.  So starting Jan 1, I launched a last-minute, 30-day training plan.  I had run approximately 40 miles total in all of 2010, so on January 8th I matched that mileage in one day, and decided to keep working at it; my goal was to prevent Jared from taking naps while waiting up for me.

OK, enough shuck and jive, let’s look at a very cool linkup that I’ve never heard of being done before, but very well should be.


Zion Trifecta

June 29, 2009

We’d been planning the Trifecta for over a year, and as of June 27, there is now one less amazing project in Zion National Park “undone”. Jared Campbell, Ryan McDermott, and I did the 3 biggest canyons in the Park in one day.

Zion is aptly called a “Sandstone Yosemite”. An appropriate name, but what “Yo” lacks, are the extremely narrow slot canyons deeply incised into the soft sandstone; they are often filled with cold water, are dark, and end in high vertical pour-offs above the main canyon bottom; an entire world apart, literally invisible until one finds and rappels into their depths.

Only in the last 10 years has the sport of canyoneering developed. Needless to say, the thought of not just doing them, but seeing how fast I could do them, entered my mind years ago. I’m way too old to win any trail races or set records on well known big routes, but age paradoxically has some benefits similar to those of youth: 1) You don’t try to fit in, and instead do what pleases you; 2) You can be a pain in the ass and your friends and family still tolerate you.

We’ll leave #2 alone; #1 is the aspect pertinent to this project.  Projects like the Trifecta, are like “Plucking the low-hanging fruit, located way far out on the limb.”



Winter Dreams

January 25, 2009


It’s snowing.  It’s grey, dark and cold outside; the ground is frozen and uninviting.  The holiday gatherings are gone, spring has not yet arrived, and I’m irritated rather than impressed hearing of my friends in California doing 50 mile trail races wearing shorts and t-shirt.  Here, it’s January, aka, mid-winter.  I thus have two options:    

gsnowA) Take advantage of this time to: Increase my pathetic flexibility by starting a yoga routine; strengthen my weaknesses by a careful weight-training program; improve my diet by laying off the chocolate-covered almonds at bedtime; and keep running enough to stay in shape for a springtime buildup.  

B) Spend hours fantasizing about all the fun projects to do this summer.
Guess which option I’m choosing?  So here goes …


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.