Woohoo!!! Just hit 5000 miles in 5 years this weekend.
I hadn't done this cool canyon since last winter and been wanting to play in it again when winter came back around. My buddy Scott joined me and we left that Tortilla TH along AZ88 and walked FR213 about halfway in before dropping into middle Tortilla Canyon and rock & boulder hopping our way slowly down the dry canyon. This canyon is MUCH easier to travel down when it's not flowing but it's also much more enjoyable & adventurous when it is and I hope I can catch it flowing later this winter. Some easy down climbs are encountered before the technical section just as the canyon narrows up a bit & becomes more scenic. The first drop of 6ft or so that I've handlined in the past wasn't too tough of a down climb this time which was quickly followed by a 25-40ft drop depending on where you anchor from. I've rappelled from two different spots in the past and this time I choose a third location to rappel from since this way looked cooler. We checked out the dry falls and boulder caves before proceeding to the next drop. This is a cool 25-30ft falls with an exposed ridge on the left that we decided to down climb though I've rappelled it in the past since I was solo and didn't want to take the extra risk. Some boulder hopping & easier down climbing after that and you reach the confluence and the sweetest view of the whole canyon as you're surround by tall colorful volcanic cliffs. Some more rock hopping and you hit a boulder jam that requires a short rappel to proceed before reaching a section full of deciduous trees followed by Needle spires on the northside of the canyon. Just after the Needles is my midway bailout point so I don't have to hike all the way to Tortilla Flat and didn't have a shuttle in place. It's a little bit of a loose bushwhack to climb up to the ridge on the northside with a cowboy/indian wall running along the saddle and great views of the canyon below and four peaks & many more canyons to the north. From the ridge, we hiked down towards another canyon as we countered to the east around a large butte and eventually hiked back up to another ridge on the east of that butte to see a sweet view of the canyon we just trekked down. Hmm, that was more of a thrash than I seem to remember... A little bit further east and we found that jeep road and intersects with FR 213 and followed that back to our cars.
Now while it's not the most adventurous or demanding canyon in the area, it's still a cool canyon that's worth checking out if you're in the area and technically skilled and only requires a 100ft rope to descend. Photos look a little off because I accidently left the camera in its wet pouch overnight...
Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p