We had left Los Alamos on Wednesday evening to a hasty camp in the parking lot of Horseshoe Bend trailhead outside of Page, AZ that night. Thursday we finished the drive to Zion and then hiked the Riverside Walk up Zion Canyon.
Late day light on the Virgin River. This was my first visit to Zion and I was blown away.
Some emerald pools in the Zion River
The Riverside Walk ended here. Beyond here are the famous Narrows of the Virgin River. I think that is Mountain of Mystery in the sun.
A seeping wall along the trail
As we got back to the trailhead we spied Josh and George finishing up with a climb on The Pulpit
We camped at The Watchman Campground for the weekend. Overnight lows were in the low 20s. Brrrrr!
But spaghetti with sausage helped keep us warm
Sunset on The Watchman (and the half moon!)
We all dragged ourselves out of our cozy sleeping bags out into the 23 degree darkness at 5:00am Friday to get ready for our Zion Crossing run
A perfect people pyramid (PPP) is a great omen to start a run. It was 17 degrees here at the East Rim TH at 7:00am when we started our run
We were super stoked to finally get some direct sunlight at 7:45am
Ice around the spring pipe shows how cold it had been. The sign in the background warns of mountain lions in the area.
After about 8 miles of running we began our descent into the scenic Zion Canyon. Angel's Landing is the red formation poking out of the shadows in this photo.
Wixom has serious bridge jumping skillz. You'll see them throughout the photo album.
A short bit of slot canyon on our descent into Zion Canyon
While it's a pretty impressive feat to carve a trail out of the side of the canyon wall, it isn't very environmentally friendly.
Really bright fall foliage colors on the descent to the Weeping Rock TH
Once we hit the road in Zion Canyon at the Weeping Rock TH, it was another mile or so down canyon to the Grotto TH and our awaiting crew
Bucks got nuthin' on goats
After a 20 minute pit stop with Allison, Mom and Matt (our crew) at The Grotto, we headed up towards Angel's Landing
More serious wall-blasting-in-the-name-of-easy-access trail action heading up to Angel's Landing
Andy powered up the trail running the entire thing. That's not true.
More Wixom bridge jumping action!
Real deal switchbacks heading up to Angel's Landing
Folks heading out to Angel's Landing's summit. We did not go out there as we planned to do that the following day. Instead, we continued on to the West Rim Trail
Yep, it's a match
A fun and scenic bit of slickrock running. Our goal is that treed ridge barely visible in the background in the right 1/3rd of the photo
Andy cruising along a nice piece of sandstone
Look the fuck out, Bruce Lee
I'm pretty sure that ledge isn't naturally occurring
Nor this ledge. But it's helpful in gaining the rim
Ah, up on the rim at about mile 19 of our run. The view south was amazing from along the rim
Some new snow up high and on the west rim would make for a few miles of nasty mud running later...
But in the meantime, superb singletrack with a stellar view
Cruising past Potato Hollow
And the mud begins
Nearing Lava Point, mile ~26
When the water situation gets grim, Sus and Ryan resort to scraping snow into their bottles
The mud near Lava Point was brutal. It caked on somethin' fierce
A short break along the Wildcat Canyon trail
Ah, a spring! Cold, tasty and refreshing water to be had
Very scenic meadow cruising not far from the Northgate Peaks Trail
I'm not sure what formation this is but it was mighty impressive
A strong pull with only a couple miles left to the Hop Valley Trailhead
We reached the Hop Valley TH at 4:30pm. Ryan was sporting Rylee's baby doll iPod holder and remote control. The "official" Zion traverse continues for another 12 miles to Lee Pass but we were satisfied with the ~36 miles we had covered and yearned for hot food and cold beer so we called it a day here.
Some video of Andy and Sarah finishing their longest ever run (and first ultra distance) at the Hop Valley TH
Our awesome crew!
Saturday morning our crew got psyched for a descent of Behunin Canyon. Josh and George had been in the canyon a couple days earlier and reported mostly dry conditions. Leaving the TH at 10am wasn't quite an alpine start
We got to again ascend the trail to Angel's Landing. Allison, Mom and Matt had climbed to its summit the day prior (awesome!) so this would also be Allison's second ascent of the trail
Since we hadn't gone out to the summit during the crossing run, we made the short trip out there
Fixed handrail chains and carved steps make the summit accessible for most average visitors
Mom and Matt on top of Angel's Landing. A mighty accomplishment for them. Awesome!
Looking up canyon from the summit of Angel's Landing
From Angel's Landing we had a good view of climbers bivying on Moonlight Buttress
We reached the head of Behunin Canyon at 1pm. Descending the canyon would require nine rappels
Down in the canyon bottom at the head of the canyon
Very colorful fallen leaves in the canyon bottom
Cool conditions in the water course of the canyon near the first rappel
The initial pools had a bit of ice
Andy stands above the first rappel. The rap anchor is the yellow webbing on the right side of the photo
The third rappel was down the running water course. So much for dry ropes.
The fourth rappel was also in the water course. Thankfully the water wasn't running too much
Bill and Andy simul-rapping the fourth rappel
Once in the canyon bottom, the hiking was scenic and straight forward
High stemming for Fritz
Calita jumping from the stem
Calita and I chose this fun log descent instead of a sandy, dirty and boring bypass that everyone else chose
We came up on a group of four below us. They were a fun group from SLC (and one woman was 23 weeks pregnant). We opted to rappel from this tree instead of down the water course where they were rapping in order to stay drier
The canyon abruptly ends at this 300 foot, two stage rappel dropping down into Zion Canyon. For the final two rappels, we joined forces with the other group because both rappels required two ropes.
Andy and I simul-rapped the final 140' rappel. Rapping on a single line each meant a very fun, bouncy rappel for each of us as the dynamic rope stretched and bounced during our descent. Way cool.
Fritzy on the final 140' rappel
Sarah on the final 140' rappel (you might have to look closely). After this, the upper ropes got hopelessly stuck requiring Jared (a guy from the other group) and Bill to each ascend the ropes once to try to get them unstuck. An hour later they were successful and we began our hike out in the moonlit dark at 6:15pm
Bill negotiating a short squeeze on the last little bit of hiking out to the TH
Sunrise the next morning was glorious
We went climbing at Snow Canyon State Park near St. George, Utah. Andy got a quick warmup on a 5.9 slab line when he was shooting for the 5.7 route. But he cruised it nonetheless.
I accidentally had the ISO setting on my point and shoot set to 800. I don't recommend this at all.
Andy topping out on Pygmy Alien (5.7) with a short 5.9 variation in the middle somewhere.
Mom cruising up a nearby 5.6 called The Barbarian
Matt also cruised "The Barbarian"
Mom nearing the top of Pygmy Alien, 5.7
The rock at Snow Canyon State Park was very reminiscent of the rock at Calico Hills at Red Rock
Pretty cool that on a such a fine Sunday we had the entire wall to ourselves.
At the top! 140' up Pygmy Alien
Sarah making it look awesome on the first pitch (5.10a) of Living on the Edge
This pitch was awesome. Great exposure over the huge roof
The map from my GPS. 35.32 miles and 8,665' of vertical gain. Full details at http://bit.ly/fZipHi