Anxious About Escalante

MikeP

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Dec 18, 2017
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Yep - that's it, the ramp that is. Almost identical to my photo.

Jackson - pretty sure that's the spot. Funny how perspective is so important. I was coming the other direction and when I first looked at your photo I didn't think that was it, but pretty sure it is. I've only been in there once. Not sure how much water level typically varies but when I was there I didn't even consider anything else. I looked for, but could not see that ledge.
 

Bob

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Are you talking about this spot?
View attachment 118251

We successfully got around it by waddling along a little ledge on the left. Ledge was under an inch of water or so, with an angled rock overhang only a few feet above. Not worth it, overall. I've seen pictures of people standing there where the water pours over with it only knee to thigh deep.

If you're talking about a different spot then disregard all of that haha.
Same here... We didn't swim that spot.... But you could lose footing easy and go for the dunk......
 

Jackson

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Yep - that's it, the ramp that is. Almost identical to my photo.

Jackson - pretty sure that's the spot. Funny how perspective is so important. I was coming the other direction and when I first looked at your photo I didn't think that was it, but pretty sure it is. I've only been in there once. Not sure how much water level typically varies but when I was there I didn't even consider anything else. I looked for, but could not see that ledge.
I think that when looking at it from downstream, it probably isn't apparent/doesn't look like something worth even trying haha. It's a really slippery and fairly small ledge, and I'd honestly just hold my pack over my head and walk through the deeper spot if I went again. Especially since the depth is pretty deceptive. From above, it looked like it would be head-high, but I know now that it's actually not even close.
 

radioradio

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Yes! I know the difference between the two Death Hollows. I was looking at doing LDH on my longer 10 day hike and had planned on skipping Death Hollow on my first hike for the reasons that everyone above shared!

Does anyone have experience with this bypass in the Gulch from the comments on Road Trip Ryan?

Seems like this is the move...

1674509209233.png


For Red Breaks, the route has me hiking from Harris Wash through to the fork in the canyon. Is that section difficult to pass? Or it's the part afterwards?
 

priz1234

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Does anyone have experience with this bypass in the Gulch from the comments on Road Trip Ryan?

Seems like this is the move...

View attachment 118266
I'm pretty sure I remember seeing this exit and I had this in mind when I went down the Gulch. I figured I would go look at the climb lower in the canyon and if it looked too risky then I would come back to this exit near the cabin. If you aren't as worried about time I would recommend doing this same thing. There is a cool section of the gulch you would miss if you climb out of the canyon at the earlier exit. Me and my wife both did the climb with our packs on and without any help. My pack was probably around 35 pounds and if I needed to I could have just hooked some webbing on it and climbed up without the pack and then pulled it up. Not sure of all your experience with scrambling or climbing but I think it is at least worth going down the gulch to where the slot canyon section starts. Then take a look at the climb and if it looks too risky then go back up canyon to the exit described above. I think you would end up backtracking between 1.5 and 2 miles if you don't go up the climb.

I don't have experience with this bypass but I can't imagine the route finding would be too difficult up on top after you exit the canyon.
 

fossana

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Are you talking about this spot?...

...We successfully got around it by waddling along a little ledge on the left. Ledge was under an inch of water or so, with an angled rock overhang only a few feet above. Not worth it, overall. I've seen pictures of people standing there where the water pours over with it only knee to thigh deep.

If you're talking about a different spot then disregard all of that haha.
I've been down Death Hollow at least 3 times. The pool depth varies depending on how much sand is in the bottom and the volume of water in the creek. I've always done the ledge traverse to stay dry, but last spring the pool had filled with sand from flash flooding and was only ~ knee deep.
 

Jackson

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I've been down Death Hollow at least 3 times. The pool depth varies depending on how much sand is in the bottom and the volume of water in the creek. I've always done the ledge traverse to stay dry, but last spring the pool had filled with sand from flash flooding and was only ~ knee deep.
I always wondered why people's experiences varied so widely. I have no idea when the next time I'll be there is, but I'd be curious to check it out again. Haven't been since 2017.
 

futurafree

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I've been down Death Hollow at least 3 times. The pool depth varies depending on how much sand is in the bottom and the volume of water in the creek. I've always done the ledge traverse to stay dry, but last spring the pool had filled with sand from flash flooding and was only ~ knee deep.

Tried to crawl along the slippery ledge, fell in, didn't realize it was only chest deep so I thrashed around until I could swim out instead of simply standing up. It was fun.
 

fossana

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Tried to crawl along the slippery ledge, fell in, didn't realize it was only chest deep so I thrashed around until I could swim out instead of simply standing up. It was fun.
I went once right after a flash flood in 2021, which was a mistake. The water was silty the whole way, so it was slow going to avoid stepping into a hole. I thought I was homefree after passing the usual pothole section, then slipped on some slimy rocks about 1/4 mile later and dunked my non-waterproof camera.
 

futurafree

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I went once right after a flash flood in 2021, which was a mistake. The water was silty the whole way, so it was slow going to avoid stepping into a hole. I thought I was homefree after passing the usual pothole section, then slipped on some slimy rocks about 1/4 mile later and dunked my non-waterproof camera.
The hollow was originally named after a mule died carrying mail on the BMT. Now its name refers to fossana's camera. RIP.
 

Rockskipper

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I second the idea of shorter loops and such, and here's why. Desert backpacking is unlike other places, for you can get into a really good or bad headspace, depending. There are lots of things that can play with your imagination in the desert, and being alone way out there can sometimes be spooky. I've camped and packed alone much of my life and I can still get weirded out, and I don't consider myself superstitious even a little bit - I don't believe in any of it. But when I'm out there all alone, well, I could come up with some of the best campfire stories anyone could ever think of. And I've found mtn. lion tracks circling my tent (Cedar Mesa) and things like that, not my imagination, so there's real stuff, too. It's never stopped me, but there have been a few nights I just had to force myself to go to sleep.

I worked with a guy who fancied himself Hayduke's brother. He lived to backpack alone, spent three weeks on the Paria, the Escalante, all that. Went out every chance he could. He was very pragmatic. He always carried a gun on his hip when he went out - he said it was so people would see it and leave him alone, as he was way into solitude. I remember him coming back from the Escalate one time totally freaked out - he said he'd been followed by Bigfoot. He was dead serious. I didn't even know he believed in Bigfoot. He quit his job in W. Colorado and took a job in the heart of Denver after that and quit going out.

Having shorter loops can give you an out when your mind starts playing tricks on you - or maybe it's all real???? [cue Twilight Zone music] But to me, that's part of the fun, knowing I'm not necessarily at the top of the food chain, but there are times I'm glad to get back and reset my imagination to neutral. I've never felt like I was at risk from aliens or Bigfoot or anything supernatural, but I know a lot of backpackers who go through those thoughts, even though in the light of the day we all scoff at the idea of such being real. I'm hesitant to post this, but here goes...
 

Rockskipper

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I did see ball lightning once in the Swell. That was a trip - but I also saw some bead lighting, which is even rarer, I think. But tell me more...
 

Bob

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Top Secret, If I told you where Id have to kill you. Its all about Aliens and Skinwalkers......... Youll never go out in the desert alone again.
 

Rockskipper

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OK, don't tell me where it is, just tell me the story. You can PM me if you prefer. I did hear a strange laugh once out in the middle of nowhere, nobody for miles. Kind of freaked me out.
 

utahastro

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It seems my choices are either to a) look at other destinations to accomplish my goal of a 10-14 night jaunt in april or b) tone down my escalante ambitions like so:

1. Start with a shorter 2-3 day trip to shakeout my gear, understand the area and adjust my plans for a longer trip. Right now I'm looking at an out and back on the Boulder Mail Trail as a good representation of the area.
2. Do a version of this trip from doingmiles (click for link). They did it in 6 days. My plan would be to set aside 10 days. I would make a small modification to hike Little Death Hollow instead of wolverine canyon.
I like your new plan!

One consideration that hasn't been mentioned yet is the quality of the water in the Gulch and in the Escalante River. The water in the Gulch is contaminated by cows, so it's important to have a method of water treatment that you really trust. I might suggest purifying the water (e.g., with chemicals or with UV light) after first filtering it. As for the Escalante, although it has been clear whenever I've hiked in it, it can clog water filters when it's really silty.
 

regehr

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OK, don't tell me where it is, just tell me the story. You can PM me if you prefer. I did hear a strange laugh once out in the middle of nowhere, nobody for miles. Kind of freaked me out.
Doesn’t sound like what you’re describing but a pack of coyotes nearby can sound amazingly like a bunch of teenagers being rowdy.

I’m endlessly impressed by people like @Jammer who can be out there a month, alone.
 
Last edited:

radioradio

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i’ll definitely watch out for bigfoot while i’m out there and report back if i find him..,

@utahastro i was considering a sawyer squeeze + water wizard. sounds like i should bring some aqua mira too? and definitely cache water at the gulch trailhead.

does the cow contaminated water taste as gross as it sounds?
 

regehr

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i’ll definitely watch out for bigfoot while i’m out there and report back if i find him..,

@utahastro i was considering a sawyer squeeze + water wizard. sounds like i should bring some aqua mira too? and definitely cache water at the gulch trailhead.

does the cow contaminated water taste as gross as it sounds?
I personally despise the sawyer squeeze, just too much work and too prone to clogging if you have non-ideal sources, which you easily might. the UV light things are fun, but I've only used them when a friend carries one, and I suspect they're not too effective on turbid water. I mostly just do aquamira and am pretty happy with it. if the water looks ugly I'll increase the dose and the waiting time. haven't got sick so far...

you definitely want a bit of pre-filter before aquamira, I use a bandana to make sure I'm not processing bugs / leaves / sticks / random large particles.
 

Bob

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you definitely want a bit of pre-filter before aquamira, I use a bandana to make sure I'm not processing bugs / leaves / sticks / random large particles.
Bugs etc just extra protien....... or so Ive been told.

katadyn Filter, double layer of cloth if needed. Never a problem, even along the Colorado. Always have some Aquamira incase..... You can get a charcoal section as well.
 
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