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Zion Canyoneering, October 8-13, 2006

Imlay Map

Shoulder of Angel's


... and the Main Zion


Long way to go

Burnt log and colorful

fall foliage

Heading down into


Steep in spots

Lowering the packs

down a chimney

Short narrows section

above the campsite

Whacko place for a


How can it possibly

grow there?

Beautiful sculpting

There's our campsite

the cave up ahead

Camp sweet camp

Plenty of room to

spread out

Pool and slot

upstream from the


Stars in the narrow slit

visible from the cave

Sunrise from inside

the cave

Cooking breakfast

Now the real fun


Sandbar between


Swimming through a

debris choked pool

Towering walls above

Beautiful and wet

narrows section

Rigging one of the

many rappels

Down I go

The famous simul rap

around the arch

Rigging the rappel

Strange and beautiful


A brief open area

Starting the final

narrows section

Dan comes down a

short slippery rap

The final steep


Arriving at the Virgin

River overlook

Dan standing at the


Rigging the final long


Here goes!

Yahoo!  A free rappel

after the first 20 ft.

Down in the Virgin

River narrows

Time to relax, just

hiking from here

Starting to open up

Back at the Tempel of


Das Boot Keyhole Mystery Imlay Red Cave Sunset

Wednesday 10/11 and Thursday 10/12:  Imlay Canyon has a reputation for being tough it's long, has lots of rappels and downclimbing,

has lots of cold water, and has many potential keeper potholes (oh boy!) that might require team climbing, pack tosses, hooking, or even

drilling to escape.   Because of the limited daylight, we decided we didn't even want to try the shorter "Sneak and Peek" route (4B IV) in a

single day.  We decided to do the approach hike on Wednesday, bivouac at the "Crossroads" and do the canyon on Thursday.  We double

checked the forecast, secured a permit (noone had even attempted Imlay in two weeks) packed up the gear and climbed on the bus for

the half hour ride to the Grotto Picnic Area.

The approach hike starts up the Angel's Landing trail to Scout Lookout, then north along the West Rim trail before heading cross country. 

Several more hours of scrambling and bushwhacking up and over a pass brought us to the Imlay "Crossroads".  There was a short wet

narrows section where we came in, but we were able to bypass it and find the promised camping spot a large cave next to the drainage,

with easy escape to higher terrain in case of a sudden rise in water level.  Although sheltered and comfortable enough, it was a spooky

place to camp only a narrow slit of sky visible above, owls hooting, a peculiar barking noise from some small animal, and strange

irregular splashing and gurgling noises from upstream all night.  Smeagol must have been catching fishessess in the pool just upstream.

Next morning we put on the drysuits and began the real fun two long narrows sections with many rappels, lots of swimming,

downclimbing, and some good old thrashing through debris choked pools.  We got off easy though there was so much water in the

potholes that we had little difficulty with pothole exits.  All that was required was a few "Shamu the beached whale" manuevers.

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