Thursday, November 5, 2015

Canyonlands 101

Over a week ago I had the privilege of heading down to Canyonlands with Jared Campbell to do a spectacular 2 day route highlighting much of the park.  I say 'much' here but the reality is that one could spend months here and just scratch the surface.   Drawing on the beta from Buzz Burrell's and Peter Bakwin's similar route a couple weeks prior, as well as borrowing their 1.5lb packrafts, we set off from Island in the Sky.  We descended to the Colorado off of Gooseberry trail with an approx. 80 foot rappel to get down to the river.  We then inflated the (quite delicate) rafts and paddled 18 miles down the Colorado to Spanish Bottom where we ascended a sneaky little route that took us through the Doll's House to Chimney Rock.  From here we descended into the Maze where we slept out under the stars right beneath Chocolate Drops.  Rain earlier in the week allowed for multiple water refill options here.  The next morning we hiked out through the circuitous and dramatic Horse Canyon.  Improbably, this veritable highway ends only a stone's throw from the edge of the Green River with a large and impassable pour over.  Bypassing this and heading north is a sneaky alternate route that beautifully drops you off just upstream.  We plopped in the Green, paddled 8 miles down to Stove Canyon and then began our hike up White Crack trail which eventually intersects the White Rim and brings you back to the foot of Island in the Sky.  From here ascending back up to the mesa looks improbable, to say the least.  Buzz gave us clear direction however for a tricky ascent through cliff bands on the southeastern aspect- the "Government Trail."  We ascended with headlamps after sunset to finish up our 2 day, approx. 80 mile trip.
Mr. Campbell himself.

Where's the water?

Infinite playground.

Mini me.

I know what I'm doing.

No fun to be had here.

Pool toys.


Big walls, Horse Canyon


Turn. Green River: exiting at Stove Canyon.


Places not to be lost. 
Feeling on edge.

Make me a road from here to there.




Appeasing the dermatologists.  
"Government Trail" (improbable looking weakness in the cliff right above Jared's head)


  1. This goes down as one of the finest adventures I can remember! Thanks so much.

  2. Great photos and writeup! Look fwd to seeing you out there some day.