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James Canyon - 7 members in 14 triplogs have rated this an average 4 ( 1 to 5 best )
14 triplogs
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Sep 10 2019
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 Guides 2
 Routes 3
 Photos 59
 Triplogs 13

56 male
 Joined Jan 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Sep 10 2019
HeliopsTriplogs 13
Canyoneering4.00 Miles 570 AEG
Canyoneering4.00 Miles   8 Hrs      0.50 mph
570 ft AEG25 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Myself and 5 others did James Canyon this past weekend. The weather was perfect at 80F and overcast of and on.
This is a very beautiful canyon worth doing...lots of awe inspiring cliffs and hidden coves. It is also worth staying in the canyon. There is no need to exit the water course - we did not wear wet suits and we were just fine. But I will admit that the water was cold at times. For the water areas, an inflatable tube to handle the gear is advisable.
I would say this canyon with exit is more like 6 miles. All anchors were in good condition and usable. There is also some rope tied to dead fall which really helped us out.
I would not attempt this one on my own, a partner will be a huge help.
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1 archive
Sep 28 2015
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 Guides 3
 Routes 316
 Photos 11,812
 Triplogs 1,452

47 female
 Joined Sep 18 2009
 Tucson, AZ
James and Kelly Loop (technical), AZ 
James and Kelly Loop (technical), AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 28 2015
GrottoGirlTriplogs 1,452
Hiking10.44 Miles 1,632 AEG
Hiking10.44 Miles   7 Hrs   31 Mns   1.84 mph
1,632 ft AEG   1 Hour   51 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
RedwallNHops
After doing a pretty hard trip the day before Joel and I decided to do an "easy" trip. Then normal start for this adventure is from the I-17 side but I wanted to save time so I figured out a spot that looked like we could easily drop into Pumphouse Wash. We essentially did the hike in reverse by doing all the non-technical parts first. I personally think this is a good idea since why would you want to carry wet stuff a long way?

Kelly is a pretty canyon with a trail running along it. That made travel pretty quick. We made a mistake that we had been warned about and nearly continued up the wrong arm of Kelly.

James is an awesome canyon. Technically it is not hard. The longest rappel is 40 feet. It has a few down climbs and cold swims. We even found that there was a sport climbing area before the long swim.

Overall this is an easy canyon, but the mileage of rock hopping can wear you out. So I started to look for routes out of the canyon when we hit Pumphouse Wash. I did find one the exited pretty early. If I were to do it again, I'd stay in until the old road crosses the wash and use that as the exit back to the car.

Fun times!
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Sep 28 2015
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 Guides 1
 Routes 10
 Photos 613
 Triplogs 1,355

47 male
 Joined Dec 22 2003
 Tucson, AZ
James and Kelly Loop (technical), AZ 
James and Kelly Loop (technical), AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 28 2015
RedwallNHopsTriplogs 1,355
Hiking10.44 Miles 1,632 AEG
Hiking10.44 Miles   7 Hrs   31 Mns   1.84 mph
1,632 ft AEG   1 Hour   51 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
GrottoGirl
I wore my 2mm shorty. Mistake! We were late enough so the sun was behind the canyon walls after the cold swims.
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Jun 19 2012
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 Photos 5
 Triplogs 1

44 male
 Joined Feb 22 2011
 Tempe, AZ
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 19 2012
JackemeyerTriplogs 1
Canyoneering4.00 Miles 570 AEG
Canyoneering4.00 Miles   4 Hrs   20 Mns   1.09 mph
570 ft AEG      40 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
II - Normally requires a half day
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
(my 1st entry)
Chose "Triplog" b/c the category should cover all aspects? including pics?

Dropped off at 9:30am at Kelly Canyon Rd exit off I-17, S of Flag. Brought 2L of water, a small bag of trailmix, and three small fruits (plums/pears). After viewing a description by joe bartels, I memorized the map and general idea, with goal of following Pumphouse lower and coming out on 89A.

No ropes, and stayed out of the water until I was so hot at the end I needed a cool down. That meant lots of climbing around canyons instead of rappelling or wading.

Ran out of (2L) water w/ 1hr remaining while in the Pumphouse Lower section.
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Aug 07 2011
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 Triplogs 3

31 male
 Joined Sep 21 2010
 Flagstaff, AZ
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Aug 07 2011
fretlessdavisTriplogs 3
Canyoneering7.50 Miles 1,096 AEG
Canyoneering7.50 Miles   5 Hrs   35 Mns   1.38 mph
1,096 ft AEG      10 Mns Break
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I took some climber-buddies down here yesterday... All 3 of them totally new to canyoneering!
This is a good place to (relatively) safely practice and teach.

I have been down here 2 times before, but the water was by FAR the lowest this time around!!!
the jumps became down-climbs, one even requiring a quick hip-belay from above. Despite the water levels, there were still a few swimmers, the final one being as cold as usual!

For anyone heading down in the future, don't count on the bolt for the first rappel being there... it seemed unsafe! There are plenty of options for natural anchors here, and at the second rappel. Risking injury isn't worth saving $5 worth of anchoring materials!

Like always, it was a good time. James Canyon definitely seems a lot longer than it is, especially in the last stretch down to Pumphouse Wash! Once we hit pumphouse wash, our 7AM start time became more reasonable, as it wasn't brutally hot once we were out of the wet.
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Jul 17 2011
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 Routes 5
 Photos 34
 Triplogs 210

51 male
 Joined Jul 19 2009
 Phoenix, AZ
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jul 17 2011
markyarchTriplogs 210
Canyoneering10.00 Miles 1,096 AEG
Canyoneering10.00 Miles   9 Hrs      1.11 mph
1,096 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
James/Kelly Canyon. 2 rappells. Got lost on the way out.
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Jul 17 2011
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 Guides 13
 Triplogs 205

35 female
 Joined Jan 29 2009
 Murray, UT
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jul 17 2011
SparkyJackieTriplogs 205
Canyoneering3.75 Miles 1,096 AEG
Canyoneering3.75 Miles   4 Hrs      0.94 mph
1,096 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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Jun 26 2011
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 Guides 103
 Routes 249
 Photos 2,067
 Triplogs 511

male
 Joined Nov 18 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 26 2011
nonotTriplogs 511
Canyoneering9.50 Miles 1,250 AEG
Canyoneering9.50 Miles   6 Hrs      1.84 mph
1,250 ft AEG      50 Mns Break55 LBS Pack
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
II - Normally requires a half day
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
James is a spectacular canyon full of green in an otherwise dreary state. The water was cool and refreshing, still fairly clean in most places, despite being so long since a good rain.

The last swim though the dark hallway was very refreshing.

Hiked up Pumphouse, spotted a few people (not sure if they saw me), and up Kelly, where I ran into mountain bikers and climbers.

Spent time searching elk trails to escape the heat, since the bottom of pumphouse is quite warm with all the dark rocks that absorb and radiate the heat. Much better once you get about 50 ft up and away.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
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1 archive
Jun 06 2011
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 Photos 1,529
 Triplogs 112

41 female
 Joined Mar 03 2009
 Flagstaff, AZ
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 06 2011
Hikergirl81Triplogs 112
Canyoneering3.75 Miles 1,096 AEG
Canyoneering3.75 Miles
1,096 ft AEG
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
II - Normally requires a half day
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
It was Joe and Jeff that first showed me this canyon almost two years ago. This trip felt a lot easier this time with with only a few mildly technical spots. At the time I went, the raps were all new and fresh so there was nearly no set up. It was a nice afternoon trip, not very challenging and a lot of wash walking. I highly recommend following this one down through Pumphouse Wash and catching a ride back up to your car. I found Upper Pumphouse to be quite delightful!! LOL this time I was mentally prepared for the last cold swim! BURRRR!
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I don't have a computer… Not because I'm against having one. Really just hasn't been a top priority on my gear list.
I am now attempting to navigate, post, reply (etc..) this site with only an iPhone… Wish me luck!
Aug 28 2010
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 Guides 8
 Routes 12
 Photos 1,317
 Triplogs 491

57 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Jackson, CA
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Aug 28 2010
toddakTriplogs 491
Canyoneering14.50 Miles 900 AEG
Canyoneering14.50 Miles   10 Hrs      1.45 mph
900 ft AEG
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
II - Normally requires a half day
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Pleasant little canyon, decent water conditions, cool and fairly clean. Dropped the technical gear at the end of James and continued on down lower Pumphouse to Oak Creek and back, great sandstone scenery in that stretch. Exited via Kelly, also very pleasant. The mountain bike trail in there is so nice I just kept hiking along it without realizing that at some point it had branched off up a side canyon, ended up too far north. Still not sure where the split was.
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May 09 2010
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 Guides 3
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

43 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar May 09 2010
VapormanTriplogs 931
Canyoneering9.50 Miles 1,096 AEG
Canyoneering9.50 Miles   8 Hrs      1.19 mph
1,096 ft AEG
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
III - Normally requires most of a day
 no routes
Partners partners
oceanwithin
Such a great canyoneering & creek hiking loop! :D James Canyon was as much fun as ever with a few sweet narrow sections that require some short down climbing, chilly swimmers, and short rappels with easier sections of rock hopping, wading, and bushwhacking in between. My favorite rappel is that 40-footer which is also a great place to warm up and grab some lunch. The water was chilly but not unbearable though that last long narrow swimmer was mighty cold! :o We dropped our gear here since last Fall there were no more swimmers afterwards. Though this spring we ran across a few knee waders and one interesting log jam swimmer that had us log balancing & straddling in our attempt to stay dry. I was pushing the log along like one of those canal boats in Venice and I was almost to the other side when I grabbed the wall for support and the log slide away and rolled me off. :lol: The water wasn't too bad though, only my pants got wet since I stuff my shirts in my dry keg, while Kelli was skilled enough to stay on and I held the log while she straddled it back to dry land. : app : James canyon always seems to take forever and I was afraid we'd be hiking out near sunset, but we finally hit Pumphouse Wash and the rock hop upstream to Kelly Canyon went by fairly quickly. Those falls had been dry the previous times I've seen it, so it was cool to finally see it flowing with a huge swimming hole under it. After James & Pumphouse, the trail along Kelly Canyon was a welcome relief up that scenic little canyon and I lucked out and was able to find the same place I climbed to the rim last time and road walked back to the car with plenty of daylight to spare. :D
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Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
Sep 13 2009
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 Guides 3
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

43 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Sep 13 2009
VapormanTriplogs 931
Canyoneering9.50 Miles 1,096 AEG
Canyoneering9.50 Miles   8 Hrs   15 Mns   1.15 mph
1,096 ft AEG
Intermediate Canyoneering - Difficult or dangerous; Tech Climb; rope reqd; descent anchor; exit technical;
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
III - Normally requires most of a day
 no routes
Partners none no partners
This ones been on my list for some time as well... I was looking for an 'easy' canyon to get some canyoneering experience and this fit the bill perfectly. :D The water was a little chilly, but wasn't too bad with a shorty 3mm. ;) The first set of obstacles is a rather fun experience thru some swimmers/waders and a few short rappels thru the narrows. Further downstream is the 40 footer that isn't too bad but I wasn't enjoying the angled start over the lip but after that it's a straight forward rappel. :) James is not terribly scenic and the boulder hopping down James and up Pumphouse Wash can get quite taxing. :sweat: It's been awhile since I've done Pumphouse, so when I got to it I dropped my pack and hiked the half mile or so to that dirty swimmer before turning back. That trail in Kelly canyon was quite nice after all the boulder hopping and I actually found that canyon to be a pleasant scenic stroll before climbing briefly up to the rim and road walk back to my car. :D
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Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
Jul 25 2009
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 Guides 4
 Photos 2,275
 Triplogs 128

male
 Joined Jan 16 2004
 Chandler, AZ
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jul 25 2009
AZOutdoorsmanTriplogs 128
Canyoneering8.00 Miles
Canyoneering8.00 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After several years of canyoneering, I finally hit James. Has some nice areas, but relative to many other technical canyons the effort to reward ratio is high - my opinion. It's a good starter canyon for a strong hiker that is looking for a canyoneering-light experience (lots of canyon hiking - minimal technical canyoneering). Still a very nice day in the wilds of AZ with some good people! : )
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3 archives
Jul 18 2009
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 Guides 260
 Routes 841
 Photos 13,090
 Triplogs 5,289

52 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
James CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jul 18 2009
joebartelsTriplogs 5,289
Canyoneering8.35 Miles 1,500 AEG
Canyoneering8.35 Miles   7 Hrs   15 Mns   1.15 mph
1,500 ft AEG
Basic Canyoneering - Scrambling; easy climbing/downclimbing; frequent hand use; rope recommended; easy exit
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
II - Normally requires a half day
 
1st trip
Partners partners
Hikergirl81
We did a loop back through Kelly Canyon via Pumphouse Wash. It seems like the best option IMO. Be sure to go early as the unshaded exposure in Pumphouse gets HOT!

Did my first, albeit short, rappel on the 12 footer. A little ~four foot hop and skip across the wall followed by a smooth drop. I enjoyed it thoroughly! Of course I had the help of Jeff and Janelle talking me through it ;)

I tried but couldn't hack the 40 footer. The bypass I found was pretty good but I don't think it's doable in reverse.

The water in the long narrows was friggen cold as ice :sweat: Passed and startled two rattlesnakes under a rock. In switching directions I lost my balance. My hand landed six inches away from the rattling duo without incident.

It's good to put this one in the done column after almost a decade of anticipation. Fun day, thanks to Jeff & Janelle for their help! :)
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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- joe
average hiking speed 1.29 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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