Big Escalante Backpack Loop: Stevens/Fold/Bobway/Coyote Gulch April 25-30, 2015

John Morrow

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Trip Report with more chronological pics here:
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8016013

It doesn't get better in the desert......


Glen Canyon National Recreation Area:


Crack in the Wall Route to Coyote Gulch/Escalante River.
Up Stevens Canyon complete ascent to Fold Pass.
Down Fold Canyon complete descent from Fold Pass.
Down Escalante River 7 mile wade and thrash.
Up Bobway Canyon to mesa.
Kings Mesa crossing.
Down Long Branch Sleepy Hollow Rim to Sleepy Hollow.
Down Coyote Gulch.
Crack in the Wall ascent to Trailhead.


53 mile loop.

Pictures of an amazing 6 Day Backpack Loop through trailless canyons rising East and West off the Escalante River in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
I joined Kimberly S. (Rainie Too), Lori G., and Jerry S. for this spectacular adventure.
I can not come up with the words so here is the picture report. Could not have gone better and I can not thank my partners enough.....


Day 1: Crack in the wall to Escalante River to Stevens Canyon 5 miles.

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Day 2: Up Stevens Canyon 9.5 miles.

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Day 3: Finish Stevens Canyon, climb to Fold pass, begin descent of Fold Canyon. 8 miles.

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Day 4: Descend Fold Canyon, cross into spur canyon, downclimb to Escalante River, wade Escalante River downstream to Fools Canyon mouth. 9 miles.

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Day 5: Continue down Escalante River Canyon. Climb out the Bobway to King Mesa. Cross mesa. Descend south rim of Long Branch of Sleepy Hollow into Sleepy hollow. Camp at mouth on Coyote Gulch. 10 miles.

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Day 6: descend Coyote Gulch to Crack in the Wall route back to Trailhead. 12 miles.

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awesome trip. thanks for sharing
 
This looks like it was a great 5 day trip. Beautiful scenery both inside and on top.
 
Nice report. This is mostly Allen's hike correct? I've used his info for going up Steven's.

How was that 5.3 down-climb? looks pretty well protected, not very exposed. Pass packs and it's fine? Would you attempt it solo?
 
Nice! What where your trip dates? Wonder if those where your foot tracks I saw all the way up Stevens to the Fold exit? I was up in Stevens passed the Baker exit around May 12th or 13th, and spent one day hiking up the canyon.

How was that 5.3 down-climb? looks pretty well protected, not very exposed. Pass packs and it's fine? Would you attempt it solo?
I'm curious about this as well. On my next trip through there, i'm considering either going down Fold or George's Camp.

Beautiful country out there.
 
Hi Dan and Joey,
We were following one to two people plus dog to the Stevens Exit it seemed. Then our tracks.

Regarding all the difficult stretches:
This is Allens Trip #22 with the Bobway exit instead of Fools Canyon.
Just about every rating in Cany 3 seemed a bit overestimated high to us, like one grade. IE: his Cl 4 we thought to be Cl 3, and 3 more like 2. With the exception of the 5.3 downclimb. This seemed accurate. We doubled a 30 meter rope through the existing rap rings. Then after lowering packs, we downclimbed with the protection of a swiss seat, locking biner, and kleimheist/prusik; lowering the knot as we each went. This is the minimum I'd feel secure with. Free downclimbing seemed airy and challenging. Easy at first then hard to find footholds under a buldging pillar. The rope never came out otherwise on the entire route. Another party fixed a line at Crack in the Wall and let us descend through, but not necessary.
Does that make sense? I also scouted both the north and south exits at JHA. I felt the south to be a scramble (up or down) even with a multiday pack but the north (over the arch itself) would be a difficult descent. I passed a sling around a horn that would be nice to utilize on a downclimb. However, I had no pack on for either.
 
Hi Dan and Joey,
We were following one to two people plus dog to the Stevens Exit it seemed. Then our tracks.

Regarding all the difficult stretches:
This is Allens Trip #22 with the Bobway exit instead of Fools Canyon.
Just about every rating in Cany 3 seemed a bit overestimated high to us, like one grade. IE: his Cl 4 we thought to be Cl 3, and 3 more like 2. With the exception of the 5.3 downclimb. This seemed accurate. We doubled a 30 meter rope through the existing rap rings. Then after lowering packs, we downclimbed with the protection of a swiss seat, locking biner, and kleimheist/prusik; lowering the knot as we each went. This is the minimum I'd feel secure with. Free downclimbing seemed airy and challenging. Easy at first then hard to find footholds under a buldging pillar. The rope never came out otherwise on the entire route. Another party fixed a line at Crack in the Wall and let us descend through, but not necessary.
Does that make sense? I also scouted both the north and south exits at JHA. I felt the south to be a scramble (up or down) even with a multiday pack but the north (over the arch itself) would be a difficult descent. I passed a sling around a horn that would be nice to utilize on a downclimb. However, I had no pack on for either.

Thinking of doing this route. My group is experienced with fairly ambitious off-trail navigation in the mountain west, including class 3 scrambling, but nothing with ropes. Do you think a little work in a climbing gym would be adequate preparation for the class 5.3 downclimb?
 
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