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Steve, Katherine, and Norah | profile | all galleries >> Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 2011 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 2011

Brad and Steve traveled to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) from April 16 - 23, 2011 for their annual backpacking trip. The plan was to spend the week along the Hole-in-the-Rock Road descending as many canyons as time and energy allowed before returning. The core of the trip was to be a four day basecamp along the Escalante River near the mouth of Neon Canyon. From basecamp, technical descents of Neon, South Fork Choprock, and Ringtail Canyons were completed. Afterwards, the plan called for playing it by ear further down Hole-in-the-Rock Road. We ended up taking a mellow two day walk through Coyote Gulch, including a hike up to Steven's Arch, then for the final day hiking two forks of Red Breaks Canyon, including a cross country hike and search for a geologic anomaly called "The Volcano".

I would rate the technical descents of Neon, Choprock, and Ringtail beyond compare. It was truly otherworldly to be rappelling, down-climbing, swimming, and lemon squeezing through these subterranean canyons. The isolation and technical challenge of these canyons combined for a very unique experience. Flawless execution was required in the canyons as there were no escape routes, and no one was going to be coming to rescue you. Brad and I wore thick wetsuits, and carried an arsenal of technical gear that included ropes, harnesses, hardware, prussiks, pothole escape devices, and drybags. These canyons are amazing, but you need to know what you are doing to make safe descents.

The remaining days of our trip in Coyote Gulch and Red Breaks Canyons were much more mellow, but also stunningly beautiful. We enjoyed Coyote Gulch just as much, and the canyons of Red Break were less than a foot wide at times.

Below are our pictures from the week in GSENM, enjoy.
Fence Canyon
Fence Canyon
On the Way to Neon Canyon
On the Way to Neon Canyon
Watering Hole in Neon Canyon
Watering Hole in Neon Canyon
Mouth of Neon Canyon
Mouth of Neon Canyon
Neon Canyon from the Rim
Neon Canyon from the Rim
Looking for the Entrance to Neon Canyon
Looking for the Entrance to Neon Canyon
Entering Neon Canyon
Entering Neon Canyon
Wading in Neon Canyon
Wading in Neon Canyon
Subway Section of Neon Canyon
Subway Section of Neon Canyon
Brad in Neon Canyon
Brad in Neon Canyon
Interesting Narrows in Neon Canyon
Interesting Narrows in Neon Canyon
Neon Canyon Narrows
Neon Canyon Narrows
Working through the Narrows in Neon Canyon
Working through the Narrows in Neon Canyon
Working through the Narrows in Neon Canyon
Working through the Narrows in Neon Canyon
Working through the Narrows in Neon Canyon
Working through the Narrows in Neon Canyon
Working through the Narrows in Neon Canyon
Working through the Narrows in Neon Canyon
Swim Time in Neon
Swim Time in Neon
The Golden Catherdal of Neon Canyon
The Golden Catherdal of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Rappelling the Golden Cathedral of Neon Canyon
Drying Our Gear Out in Neon Canyon
Drying Our Gear Out in Neon Canyon
Heading Back to Camp After Descending Neon Canyon
Heading Back to Camp After Descending Neon Canyon
Rattlesnake
Rattlesnake
Rim Walking South Fork of Choprock Canyon
Rim Walking South Fork of Choprock Canyon
First Rappel in the South Fork of Choprock Canyon
First Rappel in the South Fork of Choprock Canyon
Riparian Section in SFC
Riparian Section in SFC
The Subway of SFC
The Subway of SFC
The Subway of South Fork Choprock Canyon
The Subway of South Fork Choprock Canyon
The Subway of South Fork Choprock Canyon
The Subway of South Fork Choprock Canyon
Working Further Down Canyon in Choprock
Working Further Down Canyon in Choprock
Working the Narrows in South Fork Choprock
Working the Narrows in South Fork Choprock
Working the Narrows in South Fork Choprock
Working the Narrows in South Fork Choprock
Steve in South Fork Choprock
Steve in South Fork Choprock
Preparing the Rappel
Preparing the Rappel
Rapping into a Canyon Room
Rapping into a Canyon Room
Rapping into a Canyon Room
Rapping into a Canyon Room
Final Rappel into South Fork Choprock
Final Rappel into South Fork Choprock
Final Rappel into South Fork Choprock
Final Rappel into South Fork Choprock
Final Rappel into South Fork Choprock
Final Rappel into South Fork Choprock
Final Rappel into South Fork Choprock
Final Rappel into South Fork Choprock
Escalante Canyon on the Way to Ringtail Canyon
Escalante Canyon on the Way to Ringtail Canyon
Downclimbing in Ringtail Canyon
Downclimbing in Ringtail Canyon
Steve in Ringtail Canyon
Steve in Ringtail Canyon
Steve in Ringtail Canyon
Steve in Ringtail Canyon
Narrows in Ringtail Canyon
Narrows in Ringtail Canyon
Squeezing through Ringtail
Squeezing through Ringtail
Pothole in Ringtail Canyon
Pothole in Ringtail Canyon
Ringtail Canyon Exit
Ringtail Canyon Exit
Ringtail Canyon Exit
Ringtail Canyon Exit
Ringtail Canyon Exit
Ringtail Canyon Exit
Lower Entrance to Ringtail Canyon
Lower Entrance to Ringtail Canyon
Basecamp: Our Home for 3 Nights
Basecamp: Our Home for 3 Nights
Petroglyphs Near Neon Canyon
Petroglyphs Near Neon Canyon
Petroglyphs Near Neon Canyon
Petroglyphs Near Neon Canyon
Escalante River Canyon
Escalante River Canyon
Lizard
Lizard
Egypt Trailhead
Egypt Trailhead
Coyote Gulch Confluence with Harris Wash
Coyote Gulch Confluence with Harris Wash
63 - Heading Down Coyote Gulch.jpg
63 - Heading Down Coyote Gulch.jpg
64 - Heading Down Coyote Gulch.jpg
64 - Heading Down Coyote Gulch.jpg
65 - Heading Down Coyote Gulch.jpg
65 - Heading Down Coyote Gulch.jpg
66 - Heading Down Coyote Gulch.jpg
66 - Heading Down Coyote Gulch.jpg
67 - Jacob Hamlin Arch.jpg
67 - Jacob Hamlin Arch.jpg
68 - Coyote Gulch.jpg
68 - Coyote Gulch.jpg
69 - Coyote Gulch.jpg
69 - Coyote Gulch.jpg
70 - Coyote Bridge.jpg
70 - Coyote Bridge.jpg
71 - Coyote Bridge.jpg
71 - Coyote Bridge.jpg
72 - Jug Handle Arch.jpg
72 - Jug Handle Arch.jpg
73 - Coytoe Gulch Waterfall.jpg
73 - Coytoe Gulch Waterfall.jpg
74 - Coyote Gulch.jpg
74 - Coyote Gulch.jpg
75 - Alcove Campsite.jpg
75 - Alcove Campsite.jpg
76 - View from Our Campsite.jpg
76 - View from Our Campsite.jpg
77 - Steven's Arch from Escalante River.jpg
77 - Steven's Arch from Escalante River.jpg
78 - View Hiking up to Steven's Arch.jpg
78 - View Hiking up to Steven's Arch.jpg
79 - Escalante Gooseneck.jpg
79 - Escalante Gooseneck.jpg
80 - View from Steven's Arch.jpg
80 - View from Steven's Arch.jpg
80a - View from Steven's Arch.jpg
80a - View from Steven's Arch.jpg
81 - Steven's Arch.jpg
81 - Steven's Arch.jpg
82 - Flower at Steven's Arch.jpg
82 - Flower at Steven's Arch.jpg
83 - Steven's Arch.jpg
83 - Steven's Arch.jpg
84 - Leaving Coyote Gulch.jpg
84 - Leaving Coyote Gulch.jpg
85 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
85 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
86 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
86 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
87 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
87 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
88 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
88 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
89 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
89 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
90 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
90 - Unnamed Slot in Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.jpg
91 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
91 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
92 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
92 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
93 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
93 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
94 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
94 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
95 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
95 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
96 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
96 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
97 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
97 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
98 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
98 - Dry Fork Coyote Slots.jpg
99 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
99 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
100 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
100 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
101 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
101 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
102 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
102 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
103 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
103 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
104 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
104 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
105 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
105 - Big West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
106 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
106 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
107 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
107 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
108 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
108 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
109 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
109 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
110 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
110 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
111 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
111 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
112 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
112 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
113 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
113 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
114 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
114 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
115 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
115 - Upper West Fork of Red Breaks Canyon.jpg
116 - Cross Country Navigation.jpg
116 - Cross Country Navigation.jpg
117 - The Volcano.jpg
117 - The Volcano.jpg
118 - The Volcano.jpg
118 - The Volcano.jpg