Woo, finally got around to doing the last 'published' technical canyon of WCC!
I had been putting this one off because of many reasons like it required 2 long ropes, rough road in, keeper pothole, not rated very high, possibly needed a wetsuit, and it tough to convince someone to tag along... Well today was the day and it'd been WAY too long since my last solo adventure!
So that 142F isn't marked too good and I didn't want to beat my car up too much, so I just got out turned on the GPS and huffed an additional two miles to the canyon. I ended up just dropping into the middle section of the canyon and hit a couple nice sections of narrows that I bypassed for the most part before reaching the canyon register. Hmm, no one else has signed in since Steve & Todd were here last summer...
The short & sweet narrow section starts with a few downclimbs & pools and then you hit that 40ft rap from a sweet keyhole ledge into waist-high pool. I'm glad I didn't bring a wetsuit because I only got wet up to my waist.
Rappel #2 is the 'tricky' one of the day that starts with a 60ft drop, goes thru a pool, and then drops down to that big teardrop-shaped keeper, so I broke out my 2 200ft ropes and set them up for full length. The rappel thru this final section of narrows was pretty sweet, but that keeper is SO easily avoidable it was comical that I'd been fearing it all day.
Maybe if I was with others, I'd give that keeper a try but for now I'll just snap a picture and keep on going. So I rap the additional 20-25ft from that arch ledge and the flipping centermark of my 200ft is sitting on the ground.
Ohh snap!?! You mean I could have done this canyon with a single 200ft rope and I'm needlessly taking the 2nd one for a walk all day...
Afterwards there were loads of treefall to avoid, a 30ft drop, then a cool 60ft, and then loads of rock/boulder hopping before reaching the amazingly beautiful WCC confluence.
So I was thinking that if I had time I'd run up Willow Valley a bit, but I ran thru Shamrock so fast I had loads of time left and decided to hit the most scenic section by going a few miles upstream to the 'springs' and back. So I dropped the ropes and gear at a campsite I used the last time I was down here and made the long rock hop upstream. On the way up since it was warmer, I stuck mostly to the creek and did a few swimmers but on the way back I stuck mostly to the trail whenever I could find them avoiding most of the pools. The 'springs' were as amazing as ever, quite the gem to behold!
After eating a quick lunch and taking a power nap, I turned around and made pretty good time back to the confluence. It was tough throwing those two ropes back on my back especially considering I only really needed one of them today, but I sucked it up and headed downstream WCC towards the steep exit canyon. This is a popular section of the creek so I was able to follow trails most of the way and the exit canyon wasn't too tough to locate esp with a GPS. I broke out the gloves, put the pant legs back on, a longer shirt and made the steep brushy ascent back up to the rim.
It's not the nicest way out of WCC, but it works and it wasn't too unpleasant and before you know it I'm back on the forrest roads walking to my car after a long exhausting yet highly rewarding day.