Zion Adventure Weekend

I talked Ian into a Narrows trip, and, as chance would have it, Ian’s son Jacob could also join. Jacob was in Colorado, so we timed the trip for Ian and me to pick him up in Las Vegas on the way. Our plan was to arrive on a Thursday afternoon to get permits, then hike the full 16 miles of the Narrows from top to bottom on Friday. Things did not go as planned. In the days before our trip, thunderstorms pummeled Zion National Park. The fastest way to die in a slot canyon is to get caught in a flash flood from a thunderstorm upriver, so the park service is very serious about giving permits during bad weather. As luck would have it, the weather the next day was expected to be clear, but we were still denied a permit. I think there was some hostile government bureaucrat attitude involved in our denial as well :(

Now, we had two days to fill and nowhere to go. We ended up finding a local guide, renting some e-bikes, and scheduling a via ferreta climb for the last day of our trip. The bikes were a great choice. The park is only accessed by bus, so the roads are empty. We were able to explore the whole park without crowds of people on buses. Most importantly, the e-bikes made riding up out of the canyon easy.

The Narrows

We still hiked up The Narrows a few miles, but the water level was high and muddy. In some cases, it was up to our chests. This made two miles seem like ten miles. That said, being in The Narrow was beautiful regardless of circumstances. This is truly hollowed ground.

Jacob walking up The Narrows
Jacob walking up The Narrows
Jacob and Ian
Jacob and Ian

Keyhole Canyon Via Ferretta

On the last day of our trip, we drove outside the park, where we met our guides. After an easy hike for a few miles, we came to the rim of Keyhole Canyon, where we descended using the ferreta ladders. All three of us are climbers, but we did a quick via ferretta training nonetheless. It was a fun way to get in and out of the deep canyon. Like many adventures, this was not the dream trip we had planned, but the beauty and friendship we shared in this place still made it a great trip. I’m sure I’ll be back to try for The Narrows again.

The amigos hanging over high-exposure
Bryan climbing
Bryan taking a break