Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Canyoneering The Black Hole

The Black Hole is a fantastic canyon to spend hot summer days in. Lots of swimming, climbing, scrambling, stemming, down climbing, and for those inclined there could be a couple of rappels. The Black Hole is a canyon we have had permits to guide in since the beginning, but one that we don't advertise other than by word of mouth. The Black Hole is a quirky canyon. It is rated on the low end for its Technical aspects and yet it requires a huge amount of effort to get through. This low rating creates the illusion that it is an easy canyon, this is not the case. It creates the illusion that it is a much safer canyon because the Technical rating is low. This is far from the case. There are more call outs for Search and Rescue to this canyon than any other canyon in the local county. Much of this is due probably from the fact that the rating makes it appear to be much easier than it is and groups go in unprepared for what they actually encounter.

These reasons above are the major determining factors in our decision to not publicly advertise this trip along with our other canyon offerings. The topography of The Black Hole makes it more likely to have problems with flash flooding during rain storms. The drainage system that The Black Hole sits in gathers water from countless numbers of other drainage's and mesas in the Cedar Mesa area. This creates a time frame of 3+ months that this canyon is not safe to be in. (Monsoon season runs from July - September).   The low Technical rating also creates instances where hikers enter the canyon with nothing more than a bottle of water.  This canyon does require you to be prepared for the elements that Canyoneering may throw at you.  Cold water, drop offs, steep ascents out, Lots and Lots of swimming, low light, long hours, exhaustion etc.

The pay off to being able to mitigate the problems is a gorgeous canyon experience.  The Black Hole is one of the most treasured canyon gems in the are.  The sculpting walls that have been carved out of the sandstone by centuries of water flow are simply breath taking.  The light columns penetrating through the dark canyon walls and bouncing off the water appear to be taken out of a dream like sequence from Hollywood.  This canyon is a gem to behold when it is treated with the respect it garners and precautions are made to get you through it safely.

Contact North Wash Outfitters for information on whether trips may be planned through The Black Hole.  The canyon is a full day trip departing from Blanding Utah.

Cost for participation is $200 per person for 1-2 clients and $175 per person for 3+ clients.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Canyoneering Fry Canyon

With Fry Canyon, you instantly get a taste of what canyoneering is all about! Starting instantly off of the highway, you swim and wade through a gallery of light bouncing off of the red rock canyon walls. What a wonderful spectacle in the early morning light. After this bit of narrows, the canyon opens up into a broad dry wash which gradually gets deeper with every bend. Soon our wash tightens up again and it is time to break out the ropes. Moving any further down canyon requires going straight down. Waiting for us at the bottom of this 50' rappel is a wonderful cavern. The canyon is usually filled with a cool pool of water! The swim is short but fun and breath taking as you negotiate the red rock walls of the canyon. Soon you emerge from this beautiful pocket of fluted and ornately polished walls of convoluted rock to enjoy the warming rays of the sun and view the history above you on the cliff walls. Waiting there at the end is a wonderfully preserved site of Ancient American History. The Anasazi used to inhabit this canyon and used the pools of water you swam through as a water source during the long dry summer months. After a short break and change in attire, we are ready to continue down the canyon to the confluence of White Canyon. From here we head up the canyon to begin our ascent to the rim, giving us a quick return back to where it all started.

Fry Canyon is great for an introduction to canyoneering. The section of canyon that requires ropes contains an exciting and photogenic rappel, breathtaking narrows, and a bit of swimming. One great thing about Fry Canyon is it lends itself well to an educational experience, if one is desired. In this very small area there are opportunities to learn about the many techniques required for canyoneering, including rope skills, anchor rigging, sequencing, stemming, canyon swimming and canyon navigation.

Throughout Cedar Mesa is a region rich in archaeological history and many interesting sites to visit on your own while in the area - so why not make a day of it! The Anasazi culture inhabited the area and many ruins and rock art can be found on Cedar Mesa. Natural Bridges National Monument is also close by and the spectacular spans and colorful history there should definitely be seen.

If you would like to look at a comprehensive photo gallery of a trip through Fry Canyon Click Here.
Fry Canyon Pricing

  • $135.00 per person

  • $115.00 per person for 3+ participants

Cost for all trips include guides, and all group canyoneering equipment, i.e. ropes, slings, and rigging including - harness, helmet, a rappel device, and a locking carabiner. It also includes Wetsuits, Life jackets, Bottled water, Sports Drinks, and Snacks. Proper clothing for the season should be considered, as well as clothes that can get damaged. Cost does not include lodging, meals, transportation to and from Blanding, personal equipment, and gratuities (tips) for instructors/guides.

Trips depart from the Blanding Visitors Center at 8:30 a.m. only. Group size is limited to 10 unless special requests are made. The total time we will be together is 6-7 hrs. If you are planning to spend more time in Cedar Mesa and would like to drive your own vehicle to the trail head or meet us out there to be able to do your own exploring afterwards, that is O. K.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Photo Contest Winner(s) Announced!!

We are ready to announce the winner(s) of our August Facebook Photo Contest.  Things kind of took a little change in the original plans.  Once we downloaded all the photos and turned them over to be judged we figured that we would get a winner back.  Well, we did, however with a twist.  During the judging it was determined that since we opened it up this time to all recreational interests and not just Canyoneering, there was some different points of view brought out with the photos.  The judging did reveal an overall winner, but it was also determined that there was some good story lines behind some of the other photos as well that they should be acknowledged also.  So based on the photos that were singled out during judging and were give back to us, not only do we have our overall winner of the SPOT Satellite messenger, but we have some runners up to whom we will give $20 gift certificates for our store.  Thank you to all who participated in this photo contest.  We hope that you will enter again next time for another chance to win.


Overall winner - Walking on water!!! Bald River Falls, TN submitted by Glen Hampton !!  Congratulations Glen!



Our Runners up.......

Causway Campout by Will McFarland


No Title submitted by Crystal Broderick Cressler

A narrow corridor of Ringtail Canyon submitted by Ryan Hooper

No Title submitted by Teresa Jean Frazier


Winners please contact us to claim your prize. jhillhouse at northwashoutfitters dot com.