Well after Sundance Canyon was a bust, we moved on to part two of today's plans, a night run
thru Bear Canyon.
We setup camp and ate dinner, put on our wetsuits, and left camp about 9:15pm for Bear Canyon. My gal friend missed out on one canyon already today and didn't want to sit in camp alone while I had all the fun.
Ohh boy was it pitch black on this near starless night with flashes of lightning far off in the distance.
I've done Bear a few times before but there's no way I could have done it that night without the GPS even with that bright spotlight strapped around my head, so I blindly followed it to our starting off point. It was such a warm & humid evening that I dropped the upper half of my wetsuit and hiked in half naked and still sweating.
When we hit the first set of down climbs, it was nice to recognize those obstacles and know for sure we're in the right canyon.
It was sweet & eery to hit the dark narrows and make the first short rappel and then slide/climb in that first swimmer. The pool surprisingly wasn't that cold but the water was a good 2ft down from the lip and while I was able to get out with no issue, I had to help pull her out since she's shorter... Above that 2nd rappel is my fav part of this canyon and it was pretty sweet to see it in the dark. She had some gear 'issues' on that rap, so I had to ascend back up to check it out and kindly tell her that it's supposed to be like that.
Onward we pushed thru some more light obstacles & pools and arrived at the final rappel. Hmm, didn't that log used to lean at more at an angle and now it's kinna in the way and will make for an even more awkward rappel.
Most of the pools weren't too bad, but the pool below that rap was still cold enough for us to see our breath... I related to my friend that a previous party had to step over a bear carcuss, so she was spooked in just about every pool from here on out and shrieked whenever she stepped on something soft.
A few more pools to wade and we were out of the narrows and to cut things short on this already late night, we ascended up that steep bushy canyon that drops in right there. That's not a very pleasant exit route esp in the dark but it's much quicker than going all the way to WCC. I broke out the GPS and followed it back to camp arriving a little after midnight so we can finally drop the wetsuits and crash for the night.
This is my 2nd night canyoneering trip and while this canyon was fun, it wasn't quite as much fun as I remember it being when I did Keyhole in Zion... Hmm, maybe Bear is just too much of bushwhack to pleasantly do at night, or it's just not challenging enough, or maybe a larger more energetic group would have helped. Maybe next time I'll try a night run thru Sundance... That final 180ft rappel into the dark abyss with only a headlamp would be a rush!