had been on my to do list since I first heard about it 20 years ago.
I was a bit concerned following the weather forecast a few days before our planned attempt. Chance of rain came and went then the evening before a storm set in and snowed 2inches at the Egypt Trailhead. It continued to spit snow and rain the next day so we opted for some safer adventures in the area.
The next day was our last in the area so we felt some pressure to make it happen.
We had a leisurely start hoping for it to warm up as there was still snow at the trail head and the potholes descending from it had ice. We left the car a bit after 1030, and made it to the Escalante about 12:00. The approach to the drop in point was pretty straight forward and we found the short rap opposite and just upstream of the moki steps in good condition. We donned our farmer johns and rap'd in.
It was 13:00, so I ate a snack. A short walk downstream lead us to the start of the slot and our second rap: low angle for about 30ft, this anchor was also in good condition. We donned our wet suit jackets as this rap landed us in a pool (turned out to be thigh deep) We were able to keep the rope mostly dry by rapping single line with a 'biner block with the last coming down removing the 'biner, rapping double rope and carrying the rope bag.
Another short rap and pool followed a short way down the slot. Anchor was good, rap was awkward initially. Water was knee deep.
The slot became even more 3 dimensional -not quite 4th dimension but 3+
when little rooms inside arches appeared offering 3 ways to get to the same rap point. This was the rap into the big keeper pothole. Even with all the precip the day before it was dry and fairly full of sand making for easy escape. Of note there is a small hole on the lip which would be perfect for hooking out.
After a few minutes of easier terrain the final glory rap appears. Long webbing (doubled) stretches into the slot above the hole which drops into the Golden Cathedral
. 3 old bolts remain in the wall above this without hangars, these could be utilized with sacrificial climbing nuts. The glory rap is over all too quick but it is awesome and perfect with the golden light. There was less water than I expected finding it only about calf deep. We had a nice lunch on the sand bar it was 14:30.
From there we headed back down canyon to the Escalante and then 30min further down the Escalante River to explore Ringtail Canyon
. Ringtail is the next canyon on river left. It is rather short but very narrow; a head lamp is a good idea as is a farmer john wetsuit. Explore up canyon as far as you can then come back down.
Then returning the way we came (mostly as we veered off course and lost our cairn'd way heading too north) We did appreciate several arches forming a couple of rooms but it likely added a mile to our hike.
Back at the car just before sunset at 19:30.
With the conditions we experienced I would have foregone the extra 200ft rope, bolt kit and wet suit jackets. Instead I would have carried an extra 80-100ft rope. I only carried 2L of water then treated 1L clean-ish water from a pothole in Ringtail but ended up only needing 0.5L of it; so, with highs of 58F I think 2.5L would be ideal, personally.