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Illusions Canyon
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70 by photographer avatarVaporman
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Illusions CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Oct 02 2010
Vaporman
Canyoneering12.00 Miles 2,400 AEG
Canyoneering12.00 Miles   12 Hrs      1.00 mph
2,400 ft AEG
Advanced Canyoneering - Mix of exposed/aid/complex rope/poor anchor/problem-solving
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
Risky - Extraordinary risk factors exist; solid skills/judgement reqd; no beginners
III - Normally requires most of a day
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WoW!!! Easily one of the best technical canyons up along the rim. :y: This canyon has been on my list all year since I first found out of its existence... Had to wait for summer to come along and then slowly gain the canyoneering experience to even attempt a canyon of this magnitude. I tried getting the Fantastic Four back together for this amazing canyon, but one had to bail due to being too busy with the chicas :roll: and another had to bail the morning of due to waking up with a massive headache. :( Steve, you still good to go? :pray:

Well first you got to make sure drop in the right side of the road or you'll end up in another technical canyon with a massive 300ft+ drop and not enough rope. :o The upper fork had some thick bushwhacking but we'd pick up a use trail most of the way down and avoided a dryfall before hitting the main relatively flat canyon with some 40ft narrows to down climb into. The looked fairly wet already, so we took advantage of a wide flat area and gear up for the wet romp coming up. ;) It started off easy enough with some light down climbing and pools to wade or bypass... At the beginning of the technical section, we hit the canyon register, signed in, and read off many of the canyoneering pioneers who traveled before us. It started with a few short 20ft drops, plenty more pools to wade & swim, as the down climbing got slowly more difficult. :sweat: We then hit the beginning of the deep, dark, twisty & wet narrows section that started with a cool down climb alongside or thru a cool arch. I had my full 3mm wetsuit on but even I started to get chilly thru this section. Thankfully we able to keep a good pace with just the two of us and all the potential keepers are currently full so we didn't have to spend anytime bobbing in the cold water trying to work our way out. ;) Too many pools, slides, and down climbs to keep track but we did hit that 25ft rappel #4 from a bolt and over a cool waterworn hole. :) Rappel #5 was an optional down climb of about 20ft. Rappel #6 was a slippery 10ft drop into a shallow pool otherwise it would have been down climbable... A tricky down climb to rappel #7 which was anchored from a floating branch :o that proved to be solid enough as we work our way over/around a flake for another 30ft drop. Followed by another 30ft drop for rappel #8 into a dark chamber with a couple sweet pools that looked like something out of The Subway in Zion. In fact, this whole canyon might as well be another sweet Zion canyon here in our own backyard! :y: Rappel #9 was an awkward 10ft drop from a tree stump stuck in a narrow slot into a dark pool followed by an exposed slide into another pool. A handline helps you get down a slick drop followed soon by another slide into a long pool. Around the corner is rappel #10 from a bolt for a 10ft drop into a chilly swimmer that's a potential keeper with a very small lip with two more bolts above it for rappel #11. This is a blind drop but it looked big so we set the ropes for a 150ft drop but it was more like 80-100ft. Another pool to climb/drop into and then a short 20ft drop for rappel #12 into another potential keeper above the big drop. Rappel #13 was another blind drop and one of the sweetest of the day down a 120ft mossy falls and again thankfully the final potential keeper was full and free of floating carcasses. :lol: After about 2.5 hours, we finally emerged from the narrows sections but not sure if we were completely done. After a bit of dry rock hopping & bushwhacking, we decided to drop our gear & suit but a bit further we hit rappel #14 of 40ft & had to throw our harnesses back on for one final rappel. ;)

The canyon finally drops into West Fork just above the sweet long reflecting pool & narrows section know as The Subway section, hiked the quick 3 miles out on the trail. From top to the highway took us about 8.5 hours. :sweat: Most canyoneers would have a shuttle setup to drive back up to the top and I don't blame them, but I decided to try something different and save all that extra driving time by walking 1.5 miles south along the highway and then hiking up the AB Young trail to the rim and back to our camp above the canyon for a long 12 mile loop with the last hour or so spent hiking in the dark via my GPS unit, iPhone, and headlamp. :sweat:

The low light & many pools made it tough to get great photos while in the canyon, but I tried my best... ;)
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Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
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Vaporman's
229 Photosets

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