Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Surviving, and Escaping, Alcatraz (the canyon)

Last weekend Keith, some friends, and I went canyoneering. Because it was my birthday weekend I got to pick the canyon. I knew exactly which one I wanted to do. There is no doubt that this was by far the most intense canyon I have yet explored. Needless to say, it was awesome! Alcatraz canyon is in the Robbers Roost area of Utah (between Canyonlands and Goblin Valley). We drove in late Friday night and spent Saturday working our way through the canyon and back to the car. The canyon has a very unique entry. The canyon begins at a big sink hole, so instead of hiking in we just tied the rope to the frame of the car and rappelled 150 feet down.

Gavin setting up the rappel.

Keith rappelling from the car. Gavin is visible in the lower left corner of the picture.

Keith mid rappel.

Starting the slots. It got narrower and narrower for hours. I have never seen a canyon so tight!

Dropping fast.

The second rappel was right after a big pool. At this point we were all still trying to stay clean and dry. Unfortunately Keith face planted in this mucky pool from his rappel perch when Gavin "accidentally" pulled on the anchor.

Jenny, Keith's cousin, came too and was so fun. This is her on the second rappel.

Melissa with some chalk stones.

By this point in the canyon it was really dark, and it only got darker. The canyon was so narrow and deep that it was more like a cave than a canyon.

We teased Keith for falling in the first pool, but by the end we all were waist deep in mucky, stinky pools. Yuck!!!

Keith lowering into a pool.

And another pool.

This was the deepest pool. Slimy, smelly, gross.

We did a LOT of this, and variations of this, for hours. Canyoneering is the art of wedging ones body in odd ways between various shapes and widths of rock walls. We have a large collection of rainbow colored bruises and scrapes as a result.

Jenny, Keith, and me. Wet and happy to finally see the sun.

After successfully escaping the canyon we had about an hour hike back to the car.

This is definitely a canyon worth returning to.


branches 'n' twigs said...


Liz said...

Woah! Beautifully written. Sounds like hard core canyoneering. :) I'm glad you are as happy as ever.