Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Telephone Canyon

I don't mind saying that I quivered like a little girl when I saw the first rappel in Telephone Canyon. What a beast. It was 185 feet of sheer rock that peeled back not far from the top to leave a long free rappel that just felt so exposed. After Rich went down first, I volunteered to go next. Usually, I do that because I want to get in a good position for pictures. Not this time. I just wanted to get it over with.

I don't know. For some reason, I just lost my nerve. And as soon as I hit the spot where my toes desperately stretched out but no longer touched rock, I felt incredibly insecure. I started to spin on the rope. I felt like I didn't have enough friction on my rappel device and if I went any faster, I'd lose control. I was half a heartbeat away from pure panic.

Somehow I got down okay, but the rest of the canyon was a rough conglomeration of more than a dozen rappels, none of them easy. Many included chock stones at the top that required special maneuvering just to get started. There were slanted slots too narrow for our packs. My legs were scraped. I got a rope burn.

And yet, I think I'm glad I did it and would actually return for a second run-through. Something about a good, old fashioned challenge, I guess.

Telephone Canyon is located in Zion National Park and requires a lengthy, uphill hike past Angel's Landing just to get to that first, colossal rappel. Recommended only for experienced canyoneers, I would say.

Angel's Landing from the trail. People can either take a trail that goes along the spine of the rock, or just climb up the wall. My vote goes to the trail.
Hiking up and up.
Arriving at the top of the canyon. My stomach turned over at the first sight of it.
Rich (bottom center of the photo) on the first rappel.
Annette showing me how it's done on the free rappel.
Annette about to work her way past a dank pool at the bottom of the first rappel.
Kevin working his way past the same dank pool.
Jerri, the last one down the first rappel, managing the pull rope.
Rich working his way down a free rappel with Kevin belaying.
Rich starting the long hike out over slickrock.

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