Day 1 of a 3-day trip to the San Rafael Swell in Central Utah, but we stopped by the North Wash to hit this remote canyon before continuing on later that afternoon... Our SUV only got so far before the sandy road forced us to huff it in an additional 3 miles each way. The sweeping views down in and across Poison Springs Canyon & the Dirty Devil River are SO beaUTiful & eye popping!
I won't lie, this canyon scared the flipping pumpkin out of me!!!
I've done some stemming before, but never mandatory high stemming 20-40ft feet above the canyon floor.
But my buddy loves it and I figured I'd give it a try.
The canyon gets SO narrow that humans can't fit and are forced to go up and over if they want to continue dow canyon. When it comes to high stemming, this canyon is fairly 'tame' and only given an R rating since it's doesn't have any silos to work thru and the width of the canyon stay fairly consistent most of the way. We huffed it to the head of the upper canyon and dropped in. It took a sketchy down climb to get down in the narrow section but that was just fore-shadowing of what was to come... At least it started off relatively sane in the first narrows sections, but the following two narrows sections got increasingly more insane.
Cold water, BIG drops, and LONG days of rock hopping don't usually faze me but there were a few times when I would lock off while stemming 40ft above the bottom, take a break & close my eyes while thinking 'WTF am I doing here?', and I'd have to mentally drop into the zone to force myself to keep it together and keep on pushing. My legs and arms seemed to handle it fine and I was wearing elbow & knee pads for protection, but my lower back started hurting thru the final narrow section.
My buddies were more experience at this and got ahead of me, but would yell back to make sure I was still doing okay.
It was SO nice to finally be out of there and back on solid ground.
We jumped out of the canyon just as it hit the first rappel of middle Stair Canyon and walked the eastern ridge back to the head of the canyon. Knowing that I rose to the challenge and succeeded and the amazingly beaUTiful views from Cedar Point made this adventure all worthwhile for me.
I'll have to make another North Wash trip next spring and stick to the more sane tight canyons and slowly work my way back up.