Took advantage of another warm October weekend to squeak out one more Mogollon Rim canyon and it's funny how eager canyoneers are to tick this one of their lists when giving the oppurtunity.
I again wanted to avoid the ridiculously long shuttle drive to the top and hiked up the AB Young trail in the morning. It is nice to camp up there in the cool air when it's 110* back in the valley, but doesn't make much sense when it's flipping freezing.
It's that logic that opted us to sleep in our warm beds here in PHX and meet up at 5am and drive up there. Unfortunately it took longer than expected to get 5 canyoneers to the AB young TH
and we weren't on top and dropping into the main east fork of Insomnia canyon until 11am. That's what I get for trying to cram too many things into our morning.
The upper canyon had exploded with Falls colors and I slipped into Tibber-mode and took WAY too many photos of the amAZing colors. Eventually we reached the technical section and we put our game faces on and slipped on our gear. Since I was lugging my 400ft rope up the steep trail and didn't have much room left in my pack, I opted to only take my 3mm shorty since I'd need to beg someone else to take it. Judging by how cold the water was and that the canyon was wetter than last time, I knew I was in for a chilly day esp when I realized that my 5mm neo socks didn't seem to make my pack either.
Most of the half dozen rappels in the upper narrows are short & sweet, but it was a nice touch to have the pools covered in fall leaves.
Time flies when you're having fun and it was late afternoon by the time we reached the staging area for the big 320-375ft rappel.
Did some jumping jacks to warm my cold fingers and arse back up, before proceeding out to the keyhole perch to setup for the BIG drop into the super scenic amphitheater. Some peeps like to rush down these big drops, but I prefer cruising down slow and in control while soaking in the amAZing views and whoo-hooing at the top of my lungs.
Once down, I took photos and gave fireman's belays to others but even with a group of 5 it took almost 2 hours to get us all down. Roped pulled easily like usual from the solid bolts but we still had three more short rappels to go as dusk was setting in.
Once down them all, we left the helmets on and put headlamps on for another hour of dark rock hopping to the confluence. We were glad that was over and didn't want to get cold & wet again so we rappelled into the confluence with Illusions canyon before dropping the rest of out gear once in West Fork. Well the worst of it was over but we still had to creek hike a half mile or so thru the dark Subway section before hitting another 3 miles of trail before reaching the highway.
Thankfully, some faster hikers volunteered to run ahead to fetch the vehicle that was parked two miles down the highway and bring it back to the rest of us while we finished hiking out and sought refuge in the backrooms.
It was quite a LONG day to revisit this rugged canyon, but all were thankful to experience this amAZing canyon before the cold of winter stole her from us again.