Root Family

Root Family

Feb 24, 2013

Yankee Doodle Canyon - Feb. 2013

This was the second canyon of the day that we combined with doing Boltergeist Canyon first. I was surprised how much faster we got through this canyon, despite more down climbs and obstacles to work around, it only had one rappel at the beginning (a long and beautiful one). It could be that we were facing sunset so we hurried a bit more, but we were able to finish this one in about 1 hr and 45 min (that was with going back and retrieving our rope we had left at the first rappel).

A kind of funny moment; after the 2nd pool we chiminey'd across, Alene found a nice Imlay Canyon Gear rope silo with a full rope inside, but nobody around. We yelled out for a bit thinking someone was in the area, but did not get a response. Eventually we started to hear voices coming down canyon toward us. As the two guys got closer, they confirmed it was theirs. Earlier that day they had gone through the canyon with several teenagers (I think he said 4-H club kids?) and they just forgot the rope. They took the kids back into town, then ran back up to retrieve the rope bag.

These guys were both very nice and gave us a heads up on what the canyon was like (since they had just completed it). They also gave us a small nibblet of another relatively unknown canyon on the West side of St. George heading toward Gunlock reservoir. I'll have to look into that one soon.

Yankee Doodle definitely had more of a traditional "canyon" feel to it than Boltergeist. Tall canyon walls, sandstone, and plenty of narrows. It's still considered a "beginner" canyon and I can see why. Like Boltergeist, it presented plenty of good beginner-friendly challenges with a nice long rappel and about 4-5 down climbs, along with some long narrow pools to chimney over. There were also two mandatory pools to walk through, one of which had some nice size chunks of ice.

As I said before, we cruised through this much faster than Boltergeist, but the down climbs could present some challenges or may require a partner assisted rappel (meat anchor) for those that are uncomfortable with down climbs. A few things I noticed about this canyon was that there were a couple of other entry points, one being at the very top of the canyon, which avoids dropping down into the small drainage to go through the scenic "chute" that we went through. There is also another drainage coming in more due West with a small pothole on top; I noticed a B&H from that point as well.

I loved this canyon and look forward to doing it again because it's such a short and sweet canyon.

At the top of the first rappel. We tied off our rope here and left it (the road is only about 200 yards from this point). We had to scramble down into this little drainage to set the rappel.

Coming down the first rappel.

Yankee Doodle

Stemming across pools like this kept us dry (for a while)

Yankee Doodle

Alene in the canyon

Yankee Doodle

Un-avoidable pool with ice

Yankee Doodle

Sheet of ice

Yankee Doodle

I need to purchase a scuttle butt

Yankee Doodle

We walked past the exit point to the confluence of Heath Canyon and found the remains of this dirt bike on the canyon floor

Yankee Doodle

Exiting the canyon. Heath Canyon is behind me with Yankee Doodle coming in on my left.

Yankee Doodle

A nice little video to go along

Feb 22, 2013

Boltergeist Canyon - Feb. 2013


3 years ago I was down in the St George area for a work trip and looking for a quick hike to do in the area. I found out about the Red Cliffs NCA and explored a bit up to the pools area and a little beyond. I was blown away by the beauty of the area and curiosity got the best of me when I got home; I was so curious where all that water was coming from and I explored around on Google Earth to follow the route.

I was blown away by the canyon system above this area and had one day hoped to be able to see more of that area. 

Fast forward to last May. I had taken my family on a trip to the area where we had planned a quick trip in to Las Vegas to see a concert, then back to Zion for a bit. On the way down we camped along the Oak Grove Rd (out of Leeds, UT) and during the night my 8 month old son was not sleeping, so I took him for a drive while everyone slept. I ventured along the dirt road that connects the Oak Grove Rd to Hwy 18 near Snow Canyon, finally getting a chance to explore the "headwaters" area of the Red Cliffs NCA. As I drove along the road at dusk, I was blown away by the deep canyons below the road and the fact that I had never heard of them. They looked beautiful and so ready for exploration. Little did I know they also possessed a couple of short and sweet technical canyons. 

The first canyon Alene and I decided to do was called Boltergeist. From the Beta we gathered, it had 3 mandatory rappels with 2-3 optional rappels that could either be down climbed or bypassed. Being that we are both relatively new to Canyoneering, we decided to get a taste of everything. The route is described as taking 2-3 hours, but it ended up taking us 3.5 hours. If we were to do it again we're confident we could shave an hour off because we had a lot of debating on how to approach each rappel/down climb. 

I loved this canyon because it offered a wide variety of obstacles that make for good practice. A nice 30' chute to downclimb, a couple of awkward start rappels, and the mother-lode of rappels, a nice 80'-120' rappel at the end that has a bit of free-hanging in the middle (this rappel length varies because the first area you land can be down-climbed from there). 

The canyon meets up at Water Canyon (which is the headwaters to the area I had first visited 3 years prior) and the exit is about 1/4 mile up Water Canyon.

I'd highly suggest for anyone that loves to do some short/sweet canyons and they have a couple of hours to kill in St George. We combined this canyon with Yankee Doodle (another TR to come for that canyon). 




Boltergeist Canyon


Boltergeist @ Water Canyon