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mini location map2012-06-24
12 by photographer avatarsbkelley
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Sundance CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 24 2012
Canyoneering1.50 Miles 850 AEG
Canyoneering1.50 Miles
850 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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After finishing Bear the day before, Ken took our group over to the base of Sundance to get a preview. I was salivating over the storied rappel. THE rappel. So many stories and reverence are paid in the Arizona outdoors community to that big drop. Upon review, it deserves all the attention it gets.

Things aren't very dramatic at first, but as the canyon narrows up, that changes. When setting our rappel across the first pool, a couple came up behind us. Our group all swam and rappelled through, and we offered them the opportunity to move ahead of us since they were moving faster. The warm sun in the canyon bottom was great after the cold water.

The group was silent as the end drew closer and we knew what awaited.

The next swimmer wasn't bad, and then a new challenge appeared. Having to rappel into a pool where you can not touch bottom and get off rappel while swimming proved interesting. Ken, Mike, and Tanya went first and got out with ease. My job was to clean: having to pull the rope in the middle of the pool was not fun. After freeing myself, I grabbed an end of the rope and started swimming with all my might...and got nowhere fast, no matter how hard I pulled. Ken had been through this before, and bailed me out, jumping in and pulling the rope himself.

Shivering now, we set up the rappel into the keeper pothole, but a log ran from the entrance to the keyhole, so no swimming was required. So that left only one hurdle: in the small hallway before the end of the world, we set up a double-rope rappel, looked at each other and thought "no going back now!" We'd discussed earlier that I would take the plunge first and Ken would go last, putting Mike and Tanya in the middle, so they'd have a belay below and a safety check above. Pulling the heavy rope to my ATC and into the system, and running through the safety checks, I breathed deep and inched over...and looked down. Goodness gracious, that's a long way down!!!! :o :)

The ride turned into a free rappel before long and the views are unbelievable. The couple ahead of us waited at the bottom, taking pictures of us and moving our rope out of the pool at the base (thanks!) Everyone made their way down with a similar post-adrenaline rush look on their face. What a canyon!

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