Our first time experiencing a BIG rappel. Alene and I always like to plan a camping/hiking trip on our anniversary and we were racking our brains on what to do. Up until a week before we still weren't quite sure until our brother in-law (Bill) told us about a group looking for a couple of more people to join them for their planned trip to Zion. On the agenda were several canyons: Spry, Jolley Gulch, Keyhole, and Englestead/Orderville/Narrows exit.
Jeremy was a the group organizer and he graciously allowed us to join his group of friends. We were a bit nervous joining a group of people we did not know yet, but the minute we arrived we found all of them to extremely friendly and welcoming.
Jeremy had us split into two groups. Day one consisted of one group doing Spry canyon and our group doing a combination of Jolley gulch and Keyhole canyon. Jolley was a quick/fun canyon and a good chance to test your skills on a larger rappel (170') to prepare us for day two (Englestead's 300' rap). Jolley had some nice short features, but wasn't a very long canyon at all. We then headed on over to do Keyhole canyon to experience getting a little wet. This was our 2nd time doing Keyhole. A little annoyed with a group in front of us that decided to bring a 200' rope with them through Keyhole (you need a 60' rope at the most). We sat and waded in a pool for about 5 minutes before Jeremy finally decided to (nicely) ask if they needed help. They were really nice about it though and just said they were slow and told us to play through.
After our canyons we headed down to the main canyon to set a shuttle car for our next day plans. Alene and I also completed the quick little backcountry permit access training you can do so you can print your permits on-line instead of having to go to the backcountry desk to pick them up (for future trips).
We headed back to our camp at Zion Ponderosa and waited for our second group, who had a much more technical and longer day. Turns out it ended up being MUCH longer than anyone planned as they ran into a group totally un-prepared (no wetsuits, inexperienced) and decided to help them through the canyon. They didn't get out of Spry canyon until close to midnight I believe, which resulted in around a 14-15 hour day!
Hiking the East Rim trail to Jolley Gulch
View from the East Rim trail
Jeremy prepping the anchor for our rappel
We're going down there
Alene on rappel
Tyler on rappel
TeAhna on rappel
Mountain goats hiking into Keyhole
Our fearless leader in Keyhole
Tyler in Keyhole
Waiting for the group in front of us with their 200' rope
Video of the two canyons