I'd always heard of this canyon, located in the "Robbers Roost" section of Utah and it was one of those "I'll do it someday" canyons. Bill called at the last minute and invited me because he (wisely) likes to make sure there are at least 3 people on a trip when technical canyoneering is involved (if one is hurt, one can go for help, the other can stay with the hurt person). This trip was a quick one-nigher.
We headed down on a Thursday evening, stopping at a couple of spots along the Lower San Rafael road to take a few pictures of the sunset, then settled at our campsite in the dark, which was just a spot at the trail head right along the road. The moon was so bright that night, I had to wear a sleeping mask just to get some decent shut eye.
We were up relatively early the next morning, packed our stuff away, then headed out on the trail by 8am. We entered the upper end of the shallow slot, but the good stuff picked up not long after and it just kept getting better.
The upper end was dry and something I loved was the white sand that was blown onto the sandstone shelves as you passed through. Eventually we got to the first major obstacle; normally a down-climb, the water below was brown and murky and it was hard to see if it was safe to make the slide into the water so we rigged a quick rap and went down. The water was COLD and the exit was deep mud, which was a preparation for some other nasty stuff later in the canyon.
We made our way through the rest of the canyon and eventually came to some of the most beautiful sculpted sandstone I've ever seen. Pictures/video will never do it justice. After the beautiful section was a long down climb, then a NASTY slog through mud/water so nasty it was all you could do to keep from puking (so thankful it was only knee deep). Beyond that was a rock-fall section you pass under, then the last long rappel. From there we took a quick snack break, then made our way down the canyon a bit, and a steep exit climb back out. We did not have a shuttle vehicle, so we just made the long slog back to Bill's truck and booked it home.
This is a canyon I would be happy to do this canyon again. Very much worth it. I would recommend setting a shuttle vehicle (or a mountain bike) to shorten the time.
Sunset along the lower san rafael road
Moon rise from Three Canyon area
Hiking toward the canyon
The upper (shallow) end of High Spur; this is where we entered
White sand on the canyon shelfs
Such beautiful colors
The first rappel/down climb
The beginning of the nasty water. Hold your nose.
My shoes, coated with nasty-ness
The rock fall section
The last rappel area
Looking back at the last rappel
Petroglyphs on the exit out
Found this USGS marker on the way back to the truck
Video from our trip