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Utah Canyoneering II!

  • May 8, 2014 · 5:30 PM
  • This location is shown only to members


Utah is full of astonishingly beautiful and mysterious technical canyons. Hidden within these canyons are sparkling swimming pools, soaring walls, exciting rappels, enchanting chambers, spooky slots, fun potholes, and the most beautiful stone on earth. So join us for a technical canyoneering trip to explore these amazing wild treasures. If you are new to canyoneering, check out these websites for more info:

On this trip we are going to explore Shenanigans, Witches Cauldron or the Poison Spring Canyons, and the Black Hole: a classic watery canyon with long swimming pools and some waterfalls.  

The canyons we will explore will probably be wet canyons with lots of swimming pools, so you will need a wetsuit. A minimum of 3 mm on the torso, 4-6 mm is much better, and get a full wetsuit not a shorty.

We will leave Thursday night after work and drive to Utah. Fri, Sat, and Sun we will explore beautiful canyons. We will drive home Sunday night. The trip will be car-camping and we will camp in a remote place surrounded by wild vistas and a huge vault of stars overhead.

Lets go rappel and swim through the most beautiful stone on earth!                   


Canyon Beta:


Witches Cauldron/Trachyotomy:

Poison Springs:





Black Hole: 

A water play-park, with hundreds of long swimming pools, pool jumps, and some waterfalls  (click on photos)

The "Technical Slot Canyon Guide to the Colorado Plateau", 2nd Edition by Michael Kelsey has beta on these canyons too. You can get that book at Neptune's or REI.

Please read and print the canyon beta so that you are prepared for the difficulties of every canyon that we will descend.  


Thursday night, May 8th: Drive to North Wash near Hanksville, UT and camp

Friday: Shenanigans

Saturday: Poison Springs canyons/Horseplay or Witches Cauldron

Sunday: Black Hole

Charging Money:

We have decided to start charging $10 to buy canyoneering gear for these trips. The money will be used for the following gear and will improve our safety.  

- New canyoneering specific waterproof static small diameter ropes                         

- Replacing the canyoneering ropes when they are damaged in the canyons           

- More webbing and quick-links to build, replace, and back up rappel anchors       

- More potshots, rope bags, pull lines, ladders, carabiners, sand traps, hoses, etc. 

- Good first aid kit

PayPal charges a $0.61 fee to perform payment processing so we have added that to the $10 charge for gear.  

The $10 charge is only for wear and tear of gear and buying new gear.  We are not a guide service.  We are just a group of friends going canyoneering together. You are totally responsible for your own safety.  


If you are kind enough to drive then post to the group that you are looking for riders. If you need a ride then post that to the group.  

The roads to the campsite and most of the canyons are passable by any vehicle.  

Directions to the Campsite:

We will camp at a place called Little Egypt in the North Wash area.  I have never camped there before but have heard that it is a decent place to camp.  From Hanksville, Utah go Left and take highway 95 south.  On highway 95 at mile marker 20.3 turn Right (west) on a well-maintained gravel road that crosses highway 95.  Zero your odometer.  Take the gravel road, it turns sharply to the left at mile 0.25, and continue for about 1.5 - 1.7 miles.  Somewhere in the 1.5 - 1.7 mile range there will be a small spur road on the Right.  Take the small spur road on the right and it should lead to some decent camping.  Whoever gets there first should drive around a little bit on the spur road and find the best camping spot for all of us.   


Your carpool can caravan down with us Thursday night, or just arrive at the campsite whenever you want.

We will all meet at the campsite on Friday morning at 7:30 AM. Make sure you are all geared up and completely ready to go at 7:30 AM! If you are not ready to go you will be left behind.  We will split everyone into rope teams and give everybody some group gear to carry. So make sure to have extra space in your pack to carry group gear (mostly ropes, webbing, pothole escape gear, anchor gear, ...)

Morning Discussion:

Each morning when we meet to hand out group gear we will quickly discuss our canyoneering techniques and safety practices.  This will make sure that everybody understands our strategies, large group techniques, and safety procedures.  A document that discusses these procedures is found here:

Please read this document before coming on the trip so you will better understand how to be safe.  


You need a full wetsuit with at least 3 mm on the torso and 2 mm on the arms/legs, 4-6 mm on the torso and 3-5 mm on the arms/legs is much better.


We will car-camp for the entire trip. Since we are car-camping you can bring all of the gear that you need to be happy. The camping will be primitive with no facilities whatsoever, and far from any city, so be prepared with everything that you need.


There is no water at the campsite, so bring all of the water that you will need for the entire trip.

Going to the Bathroom:

Bring some toilet paper, a lighter, and some hand sanitizer to go to the bathroom. You will use the lighter to burn your toilet paper.

Athletic Ability:

Canyoneering requires you to be in very good physical condition and to be athletic. The approaches require walking long distances in backcountry terrain. Descending these canyons safely requires you to be athletic, with good coordination, strong, and tough. You don't need to be a rock climber because generally you will be going down, but there are many similarities between climbing and canyoneering. Just be prepared to be a warrior and to fight a tough battle!

Rappelling Experience:

We will do many rappels on our canyoneering trips so you need to have experience rappelling.  Make sure that you are confident on rappel because this will help you and all of us do these canyons safely.  The canyoneering veterans on the trip will build all the rappel anchors and take care of all the technical issues in the canyons.

Pack Size:

Make sure to have some extra space in your pack to help carry group gear such as ropes, webbing, pull lines, pothole escape gear, ... We will be carrying a lot of gear to make sure that we can safely descend the canyons. We spread out the technical gear among everyone so that one or two people are not totally overloaded. The reason I am saying this is that sometimes people show up (especially new people) with tiny packs and cannot help carry any group gear, which forces one or two people to have to carry everything. A pack size of at least 30-40 liters is appropriate.

Group Size:

I have learned a variety of techniques to make canyoneering work with large groups.  First, we are going to split everybody into separate rope teams.  Each team will have their own ropes and then can finish a rappel, pull their rope, and move on. This moves people more rapidly through the canyon.  We will spread the canyoneering veterans throughout the rope teams to lead them.  Second, at every rappel we should make parallel meat/human anchored rappels.  That way we can have multiple people rappelling simultaneously.  This can really speed things up.  Also, be sure that you are ready to go at our early morning start times. Leaving early is our only shot to finish the canyons before dark.

Canyoneering Gear:

Here is the gear that you need to come on the canyoneering trip. Please make sure to have this gear because it will be crucial for your survival and the safety of the group.


Rappelling gear:

Climbing harness, belay device, 2 large locking biners, 2 normal biners, rappel glove

We might rappel sometimes on a single 8 mm rope, so it helps to have one of those new belay devices that has a tight toothed section for small ropes. Black Diamond and Petzl make them. However, you can always add more biners for friction if you don’t want to buy a new belay device, but it is better and safer to have a new one.

Rappel Glove:

Some people have asked about the rappel glove. You dont need to buy an expensive climbing glove. Just go to Home Depot and buy a cheap leather glove. Make sure it has some kind of a loop on it so you can attach it to a biner on your harness. Please make sure to have some kind of a glove for rappelling. Having a glove if something goes wrong on rappel can save your life.

Prusik slings:

Bring these just in case we need to go up something, a difficult rappel, or rescues. Prusik slings are a 10 foot length and 6 foot length of 6 mm climbing cord. We will show you how to make the slings. Also bring a 3.5 foot length of 6 mm climbing cord. This can be used as a rappel backup in case we cannot give you a firemans belay.


Everyone needs to bring two 15 foot lengths of 1 inch width webbing. One length of webbing will be used to lower your pack. The other can help with a handline or be used to build an anchor.


Get a big drybag that fits the inside of your daypack. You will put all of your gear in the drybag in the pack and it will keep everything dry when we have to swim a pool. You can get drybags for around $15-20 at REI or Neptunes.


Bring a rock climbing helmet or possibly even a bike helmet. You need some kind of a helmet to protect your head in case you fall.

Knee/Elbow Pads:

You must have knee pads and elbow pads. These pads are absolutely crucial for down-climbing the canyons. Just go to Sports Authority and get the cheap $5 foam pads. They work great. Cover them with duct tape so they will last longer.


You need a full wetsuit with at least 3 mm on the torso and 2 mm on the arms/legs, 4-6 mm on the torso and 3-5 mm on the arms/legs is much better.


Pack Drain/Pack to Shred:

When you swim a pool or pothole some water will go inside your backpack and then it becomes heavy when you try to exit the pothole.  Adding drain holes to the bottom of your pack lets the pack drain very quickly.  You can get cheap metal grommets from Home Depot and easily add drain holes to your pack.  Without drain holes your pack will eventually drain but it might be heavy for a bit.

Canyoneering will shred your backpack.  Try to bring an old or cheap backpack for the canyons to destroy. does sell stronger backpacks specifically for canyoneering but they are expensive.  

Canyoneering Shoes:

Most people use some kind of a trail shoe. A shoe that has a Vibram sole or climbing rubber is best because it is more sticky on the rock. You can also use tennis shoes, but they tend to slip on the rock, and fall apart in the canyons. I use an "approach shoe". It has sticky climbing rubber but can also go hiking. Neptune sells the 5.10 Canyoneering Shoes. They are great and cost about $100. Also think about the shoe being in water and making moves on wet rock or with wet shoes.

Clothes to Shred:

Canyoneering eats your clothes. Make sure to go to a thrift store and buy some cheap clothes for the canyons to shred. The cheap clothes will also be worn over your wetsuit to protect the wetsuit.


Some people like to wear Atlas Thermal Fit Nitrile gloves for canyoneering and keeping your hands warm in cold water. You can get those at McGuckins or Home Depot for $5.


Some people like to wear neoprene socks to keep their feet warm when swimming or wading in cold water.

Anchor Gear:

If you have any webbing, cord, rappel rings, and quick links please bring them to help with building rappel anchors. The more webbing and anchor gear that we have the safer we will be.  (Now that we are charging for canyoneering gear, I will try to provide anchor gear, but it might not hurt to have some backup gear.)  


If you have any ropes, bring them. We can use multiple ropes to move people more quickly through the canyons. Old ropes and especially shorter sections of ropes are very useful and allow us to bring a rope that matches the longest rappel in the canyon. (Again, now that we are charging for ropes, I will try to provide the ropes for our canyoneering trips.  However, if our ropes somehow get damaged in the canyons, it would be nice to have some backup ropes.)

GPS System:

If you have a GPS system, then please bring it to help with navigation. Backup GPS is extremely valuable in case mine goes down.

Okay, looking forward to our grand adventure in the desert!


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  • Rom M.

    We had a great time on the second canyoneering trip. We decided to not do the San Rafael Swell canyons because they were dry and chose different canyons. Saturday, we did Shenanigans and that was super fun with tight dark sections and pretty chambers. Sunday, we did the Black Hole and that is always fantastic with awesome jumper pools and long gorgeous swims. Sunday we awoke to a massive rainstorm and barely escaped the muddy dirt roads back to the highway. We had breakfast in Green River and then drove through snow all through Colorado. A great trip with lots of fun people!

    May 13, 2014

  • laura

    Hi everyone! Food: What is the plan for food? Any collaboration? Wood fires allowed, or camp stove?

    Timing: Is anyone getting to the campsite before dark? I'm coming from Vail, so I can get there pretty early. I also have space in my car, in the off chance that is helpful to anyone.

    May 6, 2014

    • Rom M.

      Yes bring wood for campfires. It's always fun to have a party around the fire. I will post directions to the campsite and canyon beta later tonight.

      May 6, 2014

    • laura

      Matt, that would be great! Can you please call me today to coordinate? I have to plan timing of dropping my dog at boarding around when/where to meet you. Thanks! [masked]

      May 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm in Moab this week. I need to take my Mom to the airport in GJ on Friday and then will come down and meet everyone at Little Egypt. I have done Slideanide. Big fun. Would love to do Arscenic and Constrictnine. See you all on Friday.

    May 7, 2014

  • Rom M.

    Okay I just posted directions to the campsite. I have never camped there before but have heard that it is decent. Hopefully it is okay.

    I also posted beta for the canyons. We are going to do Shenanigans on Friday. Shenanigans has a tight section that big people (over 180 lbs) may not be able to fit through. I barely fit through. We will discuss Friday morning who may not want to do that canyon. Saturday, we will either do a fairly difficult canyon called Witches Canyon/Trachyotomy or two half-day canyons (Arscenic, Constrychnine, Slideanide, Horseplay). I will give everyone the options on Friday night and then we can decide. Sunday, will be the Black Hole and hopefully we will get to play in some water.

    Since Shenanigans does not take that long I have switched the Friday morning meet time to 7:30 AM. So now we get more sleep! See you all Friday morning at 7:30 AM.

    May 7, 2014

  • Dennis

    I'm still looking for a ride. Does anyone have room for 1 more person?

    May 3, 2014

    • Dennis

      Sounds good Shawn. I'll meet you at Wooly at 3:40.

      May 6, 2014

    • Rom M.

      Shawn & Dag, we will meet you at Woolly Mammoth at the JJ sign at 3:45 pm.

      1 · May 7, 2014

  • Rom M.

    Anita and I are looking for a ride. We can leave in the afternoon around 3-4 pm. Does anyone have space? After looking at the comments, Shawn do you have space for us?

    It appears that most of the Utah canyons are relatively dry right now. We were hoping that some rains would come and fill them up, but it hasn't happened. We are thinking to drop Cable and the Squeeze because they are more fun when full of water, and will try them again in the Fall. We are going to replace them with canyons that are fun when dry. Right now I am considering Shenanigans, Witches Cauldron, and the Black Hole. The Black Hole might still have water since that canyon can flow. I will pick the canyons tomorrow (Tues) and then post beta for them. So we will probably have two fun dry canyons and then the hopefully wet Black Hole to play in the water.

    I will pick a campsite on Tuesday and then post directions to it so we can all meet up for our canyon adventures.

    May 5, 2014

    • Rom M.

      I don't think we need a roof rack. We have gone canyoneering many times with 4 people in a car and have never needed a roof rack. You just pile up gear between the two people in the back.

      May 6, 2014

    • Matt

      Hey Rom, can you add "Main Leprechaun" as an option for those of us who might not fit through Shenanigans?

      May 6, 2014

  • Ryan J.

    I hope to leave on Thursday after work around 4:30pm. Anyone else wanting to leave at this time so we can carpool?

    April 24, 2014

    • BEN

      Orlando, yes I was planning on you coming with me! I forgot Mammoth lot is the typ local for 6:30 meetup.

      1 · May 2, 2014

    • orlando

      cool I will be there =)

      May 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    If anyone happens to have 3 open seats in a car, let me know. I know its a long shot! Otherwise I'll probably rent a higher clearance vehicle and could probably then offer up one seat.

    April 21, 2014

    • Jeff R.

      Hi Steve, as you get off the exit the road will merge into a 2-way road. Right after that there is a big gravel lot right at the start of the big hill. I will meet you there. My number is[masked] in case you need anything!

      May 2, 2014

    • Jeff R.

      And by gravel lot on the right, I meant gravel lot on the left....

      May 2, 2014

  • Allison

    Hi, I just joined this group and was hoping to be a part of the upcoming canyoneering adventure, but it says that RSVPs are closed. Is there still place for me and 2 other people to be a part of this trip? Thanks!

    April 28, 2014

    • Rom M.

      We have decided to limit the group size to 15 to keep things manageable. If people bail then you can join.

      April 28, 2014

    • Rom M.

      No, we will be camping in a totally different place. I will post directions to the campsite next week.

      May 2, 2014

  • don

    Rom, since I was on the going list but was bumped, can't I at least be first on the waiting list?

    May 1, 2014

  • BEN

    CLOSED RSVP? Can I come, Rom? I will throw in my canyoneering rope to get used & abused instead of paying the fee! Plus I have done some / most of these canyons before & can drive 3 others!

    April 28, 2014

    • Talya

      thank you!

      April 30, 2014

    • Matt

      Three Cheers for Orlando's Commandos! :-D

      April 30, 2014

  • orlando

    hay looking for a ride I have gas money and can drive, and I have a car but don't know if it will get there and back but I can meet you anywhere I can leave at 430 trusday let me know

    April 30, 2014

  • Dennis

    I'm looking for a ride. I can leave as early as 4:30.

    April 29, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have an obligation on the 9th and plan to meet the group on Fri evening. If I can make other arrangements, I will be there on Thursday. I will be coming over from Moab or Grand Junction.

    April 14, 2014

  • Ryan J.

    I am giving this one a strong maybe! I need to wait until closer to the event to see if I can get the time off work. I am excited for canyoneering again!

    March 26, 2014

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