I brought my ropes this time and dropped in at the bridge and went down canyon all the way to the Big Drop and back out via the escape route. This has got to be the toughest technical canyon I've yet to do! Thanks to Kelsey's guide, it didn't sound too tough and I was in the area so I did it solo.
The canyon starts out fairly mellow thru some cool sandstone narrows just like I remember it. Last time I turned around at that first drop that requires a handline, but this time I dropped in and proceeded thru a few more sweet narrow sections until I hit that first rappel and broke out my 200ft rope and gear for the 60ft drop into the thankfully dry potential pool. So far, it had been a pleasant stroll thru some super sweet sandstone narrows but now it was slowly starting to get adventurous.
The up & down climbing slowly gets more challenging as you pass another short 20ft rappel, some light stemming, followed shortly by the sweet 40ft 3rd rappel. From that rappel, you can just feel that the canyon is just waiting to turn super amazing.
I ran into another group at that drop who probably though I was nutz for going solo while I thought they were nutz for dragging a dog thru all this.
The escape route is just after that rappel, but the sweetest part of the whole canyon lays just ahead.
The climbing & stemming all of sudden gets much more intense with a super tight squeeze as wide as my shoulders that had me getting a little claustrophobic with my pack getting a little stuck as I'm sliding down into the narrower section.
It really looks much worse than it is and once I got my heartbeat back down I proceeded thru this sandstone wonderland. You soon hit the three 20-30ft easy rappels/tricky down climbs that any sane person will setup a rope for each one. At the bottom of the third one, there was of course that ever present bog which thankfully was only knee deep.
From atop the fourth rappel, I was able to get a super sweet view of the Big Drop down below. The 4th rap looked to be at least 100ft and I didn't feel like pulling my 200ft rope from that last drop just to get a slightly closer view and then have to ascend all the way back up.
Plus up climbing with muddy feet wouldn't have been much fun. After having gotten my fill of uber canyon amazingness and not too thrilled by the off/on sprinkles from an occasional rain cloud and the wind making a roaring noise that had me worried about flash floods, I slowly proceeded back up canyon. After wading thru the nasty bog one more time & cleaning off my feet as best I could, I broke out the ascender and up climbed the three ropes to get back to that super tight squeeze. How in the world do people dray 300ft ropes thru here let alone that cool dude with his dog?!? I had my ropes better packed away this time with my pack tethered below me off of my harness, so it wasn't so bad this time now knowing I can make it thru.
I hung back at the super tight narrows to get some cool shots of the other group proceeding thru. After that we hit some up climbs that were quite challenging and require a good climber to get up. I had trouble on one of them and was thankful for a boost from the other group to get up it. If that group wasn't there, things could have gotten interesting.
Or maybe I would have found some other easy way to climb out... Glad to having made it out of this super fun yet challenging narrow section, I proceeded to the escape route and made the quick climb up to the rim and hiked cross country a couple miles back to the highway and were I parked near the bridge.