1st time backpacker in Escalante, UT

aspiringoutdoorsman

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I'm planning on doing Boulder Mail/Death Hollow/Escalante 3-4 night backpacking trip in Mid-March.

Have never backpacked in this kind of environment. Mostly just done high alpine stuff in SW Colorado and North Cascades during late summer months. So, is there anything in particular I should know before going that isn't listed on all the popular backcountry blogs? Any advice is greatly appreciated by this Utah newbie!
 

Jackson

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I'm planning on doing Boulder Mail/Death Hollow/Escalante 3-4 night backpacking trip in Mid-March.

Have never backpacked in this kind of environment. Mostly just done high alpine stuff in SW Colorado and North Cascades during late summer months. So, is there anything in particular I should know before going that isn't listed on all the popular backcountry blogs? Any advice is greatly appreciated by this Utah newbie!
I'd bet the sites that talk about it list most of what you need to know. Here's what's key for Death Hollow to me:
  • There are lots of large, round volcanic rocks covered in algae in the water, and they're really slippery. Trekking poles are really helpful for avoiding slipping and falling when stepping on the rocks. I actually bent one of my trekking poles almost falling on a slippery rock in Lower Death Hollow.
  • Expect to stop multiple times to dump sand out of your shoes unless you're hiking in sandals or other shoes that have big holes that would let sand flow out.
  • All the web sites probably mention it, but poison ivy. There is a ton, and it's likely that some will touch your skin, clothes, and/or gear. Keep your eyes peeled though. It's often better to walk in the stream rather than next to it, just so you can avoid it. Or maybe you're not allergic, and in that case, I'm jealous!
  • March could be cold there, so dress and plan accordingly. The weather doesn't get reliably great until April or May. March can still be good though. Just watch the forecast.
  • Most of the good spots to camp are in loose sand, so if your tent isn't freestanding, know how to pitch and anchor it in loose sand.
You'll love it down there!
 

Mikjik86

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Jackson spoke very well indeed. It is a magical place, in an even more inconspicuous location. We attempted it in May of last year and got flooded out due to heavy rain and snow overnight. The view looking down before descending is fantastic. Enjoy!
 

OldBill

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Looked into this backpack as an alternative to Coyote Gulch last May. It was my first trip to the area so spent some time researching and found many of what Jackson already noted, especially poison ivy. Also, you will be crossing the water several times. Check levels and have proper gear. March can be cold as Jackson also noted. Always check for scorpions under your tent/groundcloth. My girlfriend found a small one that infiltrated our tent and was under the sleeping pad. Weather will be colder though for your trip. Be prepared for lots of fine sand blowing into the tent. Keep zippers clean.
 

Jackson

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Be prepared for lots of fine sand blowing into the tent. Keep zippers clean.
This is an important one I missed. The wind was really strong both afternoons and evenings the last time I was there. Setting up a non-freestanding tent with the wind, along with getting sand blown in my face, was a challenge. Didn't want to spend much time outside the tent after dinner.
 

Jon Carbaugh

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I would just add that you should try to know the route of the BMT to get to Death Hollow very well before you go, (or have GPS) the trail is vague in places, just slickrock with sporadic cairns, and you can miss the spot to climb out of Sand Creek. Also, just my opinion, it is so much easier to just hike in the water most of the time. Your feet will get used to the cold water, I wore mesh water shoes and loved it! Enjoy, it is AWESOME!!
Cheers!
 

fossana

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Bring neoprene socks for wading and check the flow rate/temps before you attempt Death Hollow. There's at least one section in the narrows that could be a swimmer if the water level is high.
 

Jackson

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Generally speaking, you think good Plan B/C/etc in case of cold weather would be moving south as the washes descend to lower altitudes?
I'm not the person you were responding to, but if it were me, I'd just go for somewhere a little drier where you at least won't get your feet and legs wet. Cedar Mesa, Glen Canyon area, Capitol Reef, etc. are all usually excellent in March.
 

Brendan S

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Even just doing the BMT would be great and has pretty much endless side-wandering opportunity. You'll still cross Death Hollow, so you could still explore some. I agree with others that for the full lower section of DH that's a early and you would definitely want some neo socks.
 

canadug

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Generally speaking, you think good Plan B/C/etc in case of cold weather would be moving south as the washes descend to lower altitudes?
Totally what Jackson said. Places where you will not have to swim or wade through are preferable in March......Hite area, Cap Reef, etc....

We are heading down to Utah in mid-March for our annual trip and are super excited.

Have a great trip!
 

Jon Carbaugh

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If you are really set on doing Death Hollow, and you can adjust dates, 2 or 3 weeks can make a huge difference, this is our forecast for first week of April 2017, temps were perfect, water temp or flow was not an issue, we were able to do the crawl thru the narrows.
20170405_154058.jpg
 
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