Wow, what an amazing canyon this turned out to be!
The 4 mile 2000ft elevation gain approach up the West Rim trail ended up being much easier than anticipated and took us 2.25 hours followed by loads of bushwhacking with light wading & scrambling until the canyon opened up and we hit the first set of rappels. While getting our gear out, a Park Ranger group snuck up on us and checked our permits.
Such an amazing view down canyon!
Rappel 1 was an easy sloping 80-footer down to a tree that we used for rappel 2 that was another angled 150-footer to another tree that was used for rappel 3 that was a mostly vertical 150ft drop down the falls to a pool & ledge with some bolts that made for the 120ft vertical rappel 4.
Wow, talk about a rush doing so many big drops back-to-back-to back... We took a short break in the sandy bottom after stuffing the ropes & taking a quick trip up some nearby narrows. We continued another quarter mile down canyon and did the easy 90ft drop followed by the beginning of the sweet narrow section with some knee waders to wade or try to avoid. On rappel 6, we avoided dropping into the swimmer by scrambling up and doing the 50ft drop to the edge of the pool where we enjoyed the views of the dryfall, pool, and looking up the main fork of the canyon.
The narrows got even sweeter when we hit the short 2-stage rappel 7, followed by a narrow traverse past a pool, a sweet view ahead that told us the final drops are very nearby
, some boulders to bypass, and then we were above that 150ft rappel 8 with a sweeping view of Zion Canyon of Emerald Pools down below.
This was the tricky rappel of the day for us.
So I threw the rope out a bit trying to clear some ledges though I ended up getting it snagged on some some flakes but I didn't realize this until I was 30ft down from the anchors... So as I'm rappelling down, the end of the rope is pulling me away from the natural center line and it was rather difficult to pull up on it to get some slack for my brake hand. Luckily there was a ledge I could traverse on, lock off, and pull/flick the rope off of the flakes and unstick it. Though once all the way down the rope pull was futile, so I ascended 30ft back up to a ledge to get a better angle and was able to pull it down and did a short drop off of a chockstone to get back down to the ledge for the 165ft final rappel.
After that difficult rappel, this final rappel turned out to be the sweetest of them all with most of it being free hanging while enjoying the amazing view & woohooing at the top of my lungs.
Once done, we stuffed the ropes, took a much needed break, boulder hopped down to middle Emerald Pools, took the short trail up to upper pools to check out the final rappel/falls of Heaps Canyon, before hiking down canyon to the Lodge for some amazing ice cream cones.