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Upper Palisade Canyon, AZ
mini location map2015-08-22
8 by photographer avatarGrottoGirl
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Upper Palisade Canyon, AZ 
Upper Palisade Canyon, AZ
 
Canyoneering avatar Aug 22 2015
GrottoGirl
Canyoneering9.13 Miles 2,842 AEG
Canyoneering9.13 Miles   10 Hrs   52 Mns   1.25 mph
2,842 ft AEG   3 Hrs   35 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Baja Arizona Hiking
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RedwallNHops
The first 3 miles down Upper Palisades is non-technical and one can bushwhack up and over the ridge to the trail to avoid anything to complicated. I had done the trip in reserve last year with SAHC. So I figured that we should be able to easily add a bit more. I planned to rappel some of the waterfalls for practice in the first 3 miles so we had gear. Our first rappel we practiced a ghosting technique I learned off youtube! Yay! it worked! We didn't leave anything behind. Then we hopped what seems like millions of downfall to the falls that are about a quarter mile above the junction with Spencer.

I had read some blogs of a group that had successfully gone up and down the falls sans ropes. Those guys have to be pumpkins! Or they did it when it was dry. I did see a section that *might* be downclimbed but after Joel's accident we are much more careful when it comes to scrambling.

Anyway, at the falls I initially thought we may be able to do it with one rappel. However, when I got to the middle pool I saw that continuing would make it a bad pull so we rigged off a small pine right in the water flow. With re-rigging we packed up one rope and managed to leave it propped up against a rock out of Joel's view. Oops! At the bottom of the second rap we realized the rope was missing and both Joel and other guy attempted to climb up. I choose not to watch. Joel at one point decided it reminded him of the rocks he scrambled up in the Grand Canyon and so he turned around. He likely could have made it but why take a chance. Garrison also turn around because his route was too slippery. We made plans to return on Monday instead.

We continued down. The quarter of a mile between the falls and the junction with Spencer took an hour! Granted I was somewhat slow - I had had an Arthogram MRI of both my shoulders the afternoon before and they told me to avoid anything strenuous for 24 hours. Define strenuous... Anyway, I don't think I was all that slow. That section drops 300 ft in .25 miles and we didn't need a rope.

Around the time we got to the junction the weather turned for the worse. Thunder and lightning was all around and it started to rain. My first exit strategy was to take the route out of the canyon that we take to get to the technical section. But with the weather we felt we needed to exit sooner. I reviewed my GPS map and found a place that we could scramble up. Along the route I managed to fall and smash my knee. No fun! But it was not time to be a wimp so I got back up and continued. We got to the place I saw on the GPS and I was correct it looked doable (to us), so up we went. As we travelled visibility decreased to about 15 ft. Imagine bushwhacking up a steep slope and only able to plan 15 ft ahead! Anyway, we made it up to the ridge and we hurried to the trail because lightning was still occurring. 30 ft to the trail and I see Joel looking back at me with a strange look on his face. Rattlesnake somewhere! No idea where so I worked around where he thought it was. Finally we were on the trail! Yay! We continued on the trail. Half way back I slipped on something and wasn't able to catch myself - yep, I face planted on the trail! Ugh! My legs looked awesome after this hike!

As we jetted back to the cars we saw the Thimble cloaked in clouds, an awesome double rainbow, and three peregrine falcons! It was truly our lucky day!
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