Even though there are signs pointing the way to the trailhead for this fantastic tributary in Marble Canyon, I decided to follow a map which proved to be highly inaccurate. My friend Josh and I camped near the end of a two-track jeep road, about a mile from the actual trailhead. We spent a considerable amount of the morning wandering the rim trying to find a way into this canyon. We nearly went to the head of the canyon to drop in there, when for some unknown reason, we decided to wander to the edge and peer down in. We saw a 50 ft dryfall with no bypasses. No sense in continueing up canyon we decided.
Down canyon, we found a break in the rim that seemed promising. We skirted a cool leaning tower, but soon found ourselves on steep slopes that appeared to cliff out. A short distance further down canyon we found the break we were looking for. There is a trail sign, which gave the area a casual feel. There is nothing casual about the descent into Rider Canyon (aka House Rock Wash). The trail seems to take the most direct route, which is straight down. We slipped and slid down to the canyon bottom in about twenty minutes. We marked a way-point and continued down canyon.
The canyon is unimpressive at first, but eventually the walls begin to tighten. The canyon floor consists mostly of slabs of slickrock which make the going easy. About 1/2 mile from the river, dryfalls appear, making for some interesting challenges. Almost all of them can be bypassed, although some of the bypasses seemed worse than the fall itself. At .1 miles from the river we could hear House Rock Rapids thundering. This is where we hit a pool that must be waded, and the bottom is deep mud. It was probably 40 degrees in the canyon narrows; no way we were getting in that water. Getting that close to the river, only to be turned back was very dissapointing.
The hike out was not nearly as bad as the hike in. Everything seemed easier. We made it out of the canyon in about the same time as it took to hike in. Once on the rim, we trekked cross-country, making a beeline for camp, arriving just as the sun was setting. This is a canyon that will see me again...I will not be denied!