BMT- Death Hollow-Escalante Triangle loop

Duketogo13

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
17
I'm trying to figure out just how cold the water is gonna be there this time of year, give or take around the April 8-14th. I've done a fair amount of river hiking in Utah, Escalante river, Narrows etc etc.. but the majority of those trips were in summer months. We've been going to Escalante in April for a few years now though, and always loved that time of year. So here we are again heading out there in April, but I realized that in all these more recent years when we've been there in April it's been mostly filled with longer over-land hikes that haven't had to deal with too much water, the most being Coyote Gulch but when we went it was pretty low so we barely had to get our feet wet. So now I'm realizing that in my head I've not sort of reconciled the two different times of years and water temperatures.

So with the trip coming up, I'd planned to finally get around to doing the BMT loop when I realized that with all the snow still high up north above that the water might be quite cold, and looking at reports over the past year or so with the beaver damming/deeper water crossings I worry that my wife, who's prone to getting really cold really fast, might be in for an awful time.

Any thoughts on the topic appreciated.
 

canadug

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2015
Messages
89
Was just in the Escalante and Hite area and where there was water in the canyons it was very very cold.

Hope your trip goes well.
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,651
For what it's worth, I was just down in Capitol Reef last weekend. In the southern shadows along Pleasant Creek and elsewhere, there was still a good bit of ice and snow. Water was cold, but after a moment, it all goes numb. Actually wasn't that bad. Trick is to keep moving to keep the blood going. Would not be fun to stand still in it though. But yes...expect to have a good amount of snowmelt flowing this time of year which will make for extra cold water.
 

dennisrodman

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2022
Messages
13
Oof, each time I've done Death Hollow I've spent so much time in the water to avoid poison Ivy -- maybe it's not overgrown yet so you'd be on land more than in the summer? Still, that water's gonna be so cold when you do have to be in it. I wouldn't do it before July - but I'm known to be a baby about anything cold. Best of luck!
 

Duketogo13

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
17
For what it's worth, I was just down in Capitol Reef last weekend. In the southern shadows along Pleasant Creek and elsewhere, there was still a good bit of ice and snow. Water was cold, but after a moment, it all goes numb. Actually wasn't that bad. Trick is to keep moving to keep the blood going. Would not be fun to stand still in it though. But yes...expect to have a good amount of snowmelt flowing this time of year which will make for extra cold water.
Yeah I've been keeping an eye on it and that is what it looks like. I wouldn't mind if it it was just dipping in and out of the water but I think a few days spent trudging through potentially chest deep ice cold water seems like a bad idea. I'd really hoped to do it but it feels like I planned poorly in terms of timing wise, and likely May seems like a safer bet.
Oof, each time I've done Death Hollow I've spent so much time in the water to avoid poison Ivy -- maybe it's not overgrown yet so you'd be on land more than in the summer? Still, that water's gonna be so cold when you do have to be in it. I wouldn't do it before July - but I'm known to be a baby about anything cold. Best of luck!
Yeah when I've done vaguely similar hikes in the past it's always been when it's oppressively hot. July-Aug. So I wasn't really putting as much thought as I should have about just how cold it will be. I can, within reason, handle the cold but my wife tends to get pushed towards hypothermia much easier. Bit bummed about this. But I think the smarter decision is to just change plans, maybe do little death hollow to wolverine etc..
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,651
Yeah I've been keeping an eye on it and that is what it looks like. I wouldn't mind if it it was just dipping in and out of the water but I think a few days spent trudging through potentially chest deep ice cold water seems like a bad idea. I'd really hoped to do it but it feels like I planned poorly in terms of timing wise, and likely May seems like a safer bet.

Yeah when I've done vaguely similar hikes in the past it's always been when it's oppressively hot. July-Aug. So I wasn't really putting as much thought as I should have about just how cold it will be. I can, within reason, handle the cold but my wife tends to get pushed towards hypothermia much easier. Bit bummed about this. But I think the smarter decision is to just change plans, maybe do little death hollow to wolverine etc..
LDH/Wolverine sounds like a safe bet. I've yet to do that one myself, but it's on my list. Halls Creek is another option. Basecamp along the main wash and then day hike the loop section. Yes, there's a good chance at getting into some neck deep water and/or a swimmer at one point, but only for short stretch and you could always pack a little floaty tube or take your sleeping pads, if they're inflatable, and fold them up in half top to bottom, or even into thirds, tie something around it to hold the folds, and then you'd have something to lay your hips, stomach and chest on to keep your core out of most of the water and just kick with your legs, basically making your pad into a kickboard.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
3,400
Oof, each time I've done Death Hollow I've spent so much time in the water to avoid poison Ivy -- maybe it's not overgrown yet so you'd be on land more than in the summer? Still, that water's gonna be so cold when you do have to be in it. I wouldn't do it before July - but I'm known to be a baby about anything cold. Best of luck!
Can still get a rash from the ivy sticks without leaves
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
3,400
late May / early June is better
 

Janice

Member
.
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
772
If you're definitely doing a trip in April and want to consider a variation on the theme, here's something to consider:

In early April 2018, we did BMT all the way to the Escalante River (with only a tiny bit in Death Hollow) and then walked next to and through the Escalante from west to east back to the Hwy 12 bridge. We loved that route, including the part on the BMT between Death Hollow & Escalante, and the time we spent in Death Hollow was short enough that the cold wasn't a problem. Walking in the Escalante was fine because it was much shallower and therefore warmer. You could camp at Death Hollow (one or both parts) and explore up and/or down if you want.
 

dennisrodman

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2022
Messages
13
Can still get a rash from the ivy sticks without leaves
Then there's no hope, but I still try to avoid what I can. So far it's worked - didn't work so well last time I backpacked in Oregon, I spent every waking second avoiding Poison Oak and still got it. Oh well!
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
428
Then there's no hope, but I still try to avoid what I can. So far it's worked - didn't work so well last time I backpacked in Oregon, I spent every waking second avoiding Poison Oak and still got it. Oh well!
When we did that lower Death Hollow route last year, it was very easy to avoid all the poison ivy as long as you stay in the water (but we did it in early June, so the water just felt nice in the heat). If you're not sure about the water, maybe one option is to start the route, and as a plan B (if the water is too cold) you can go further along the Boulder Mail Trail and then back out the way you came. Or Janice's suggestion sounds very good, although it's a fair amount longer. Maybe you could bring neoprene socks or even a wetsuit (maybe overkill)?
 

Duketogo13

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
17
If you're definitely doing a trip in April and want to consider a variation on the theme, here's something to consider:

In early April 2018, we did BMT all the way to the Escalante River (with only a tiny bit in Death Hollow) and then walked next to and through the Escalante from west to east back to the Hwy 12 bridge. We loved that route, including the part on the BMT between Death Hollow & Escalante, and the time we spent in Death Hollow was short enough that the cold wasn't a problem. Walking in the Escalante was fine because it was much shallower and therefore warmer. You could camp at Death Hollow (one or both parts) and explore up and/or down if you want.
Yeah I've actually done the Escalante from 12 before, but in August and about 8 years ago at this point. This is why originally I wasn't even really thinking too much about it because in my head I was like oh that wasn't bad at all temperature wise. But I kind of somehow stupidly wasn't really thinking just how much colder the water was gonna be. Just one of those goofy slipups in your brain.
 

Nethos

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
136
Fwiw I did this last year early May late April and I did not find the water to be unpleasantly cold. Air temps were a little warmer though. But I wouldn't skunk a trip because of this consideration. That said I'm a warmer blooded person typically. Also my avatar image is relevant for your likely poison ivy experience

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

Jackson

I ❤️ GYE
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,984
Fwiw I did this last year early May late April and I did not find the water to be unpleasantly cold. Air temps were a little warmer though. But I wouldn't skunk a trip because of this consideration. That said I'm a warmer blooded person typically.

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
I was going to add my similar experience. Did it in early May of 2017 and it was no problem. Shorts, t-shirt, normal socks, normal hiking shoes.

Looking at the Utah NRCS site, the snowpack when we went in 2017 (for the entire state, so take it for what it's worth) was actually slightly higher then than it at present in early April (yikes). So honestly, if daytime temperatures are warm enough, I think it could be doable.
 

Duketogo13

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
17
I was going to add my similar experience. Did it in early May of 2017 and it was no problem. Shorts, t-shirt, normal socks, normal hiking shoes.

Looking at the Utah NRCS site, the snowpack when we went in 2017 (for the entire state, so take it for what it's worth) was actually slightly higher then than it at present in early April (yikes). So honestly, if daytime temperatures are warm enough, I think it could be doable.
Fwiw I did this last year early May late April and I did not find the water to be unpleasantly cold. Air temps were a little warmer though. But I wouldn't skunk a trip because of this consideration. That said I'm a warmer blooded person typically. Also my avatar image is relevant for your likely poison ivy experience

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk


I'm gonna be in the area around the 8th-13th April, so very shortly at this point. Some of those days have high of 46 and low of 25. That to me seems pretty darn cold to want to be in water a lot of the day! There are some warmer days though too but it feels a little hard to predict/rely upon. I think at this point I've already decided to just do something else in the area, having seen some of the beaver dammed areas that people have posted in the past year or so. I'm not gonna ditch the trip just switch plans for other less wet adventures for the time being!

I think in the future, hopefully next year I'll try to shoot for the end of April or sometime in May where I can get a bit more consistent weather. If it was just me I think I'd take the chance of it be a bit of a suck fest, but I don't want to drag my partner out there (She runs very cold) and have her murder me and use my body for warmth like a taunton.
 

Janice

Member
.
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
772
I'm gonna be in the area around the 8th-13th April, so very shortly at this point. Some of those days have high of 46 and low of 25.
We're going to be there a week later, so every day I've been checking the 10-day forecast and hoping things will warm up... Your temps should be quite nice at the beginning of your trip. Hope you have a great time no matter what!
 

Nethos

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
136
I missed the bit about your partner. Definitely choose something else if it's the difference between them having a good time and a shit one. Speaking for volumes of experience in doing the opposite.

One of the highlights of that area IMO is BECAUSE of the water, wouldn't want it to be the other way around, and certainly wouldn't want that to be a first experience for someone else. Nor would I want to be Wampa food.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
3,400
Just be able to recognize early stages of hypothermia and how to treat it. Death hollow is famous for hypothermia even in the summer.
 

Jackson

I ❤️ GYE
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,984
I'm gonna be in the area around the 8th-13th April, so very shortly at this point. Some of those days have high of 46 and low of 25. That to me seems pretty darn cold to want to be in water a lot of the day! There are some warmer days though too but it feels a little hard to predict/rely upon. I think at this point I've already decided to just do something else in the area, having seen some of the beaver dammed areas that people have posted in the past year or so. I'm not gonna ditch the trip just switch plans for other less wet adventures for the time being!

I think in the future, hopefully next year I'll try to shoot for the end of April or sometime in May where I can get a bit more consistent weather. If it was just me I think I'd take the chance of it be a bit of a suck fest, but I don't want to drag my partner out there (She runs very cold) and have her murder me and use my body for warmth like a taunton.
Oh yeah. I'd want a minimum of probably 60 degrees before I'd consider going down Death Hollow. 70+ would be my preference. You're making the right call.
 

Duketogo13

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
17
I missed the bit about your partner. Definitely choose something else if it's the difference between them having a good time and a shit one. Speaking for volumes of experience in doing the opposite.

Trust me, I'm with you. This is something I've learned and it makes everyone's life a lot easier.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
BJett Part 2. BMT - Death Hollow - Escalante River Backpacking 14
BJett Part 1. BMT - Death Hollow - Escalante River Backpacking 9
Bob Death Hollow - From Hells Backbone Road to the BMT Backpacking 14
canadug Hiker death in Zion National park :( Hiking & Camping 4
climbhigh1119 How doable is the sneak route out of Death Hollow with kids and a dog? Trip Planning 6
balzaccom Death Valley again Hiking & Camping 0
T Death valley Trip Planning 3
J Death Valley Natl. Pk. Upper Monarch Canyon plus. Dec 1, 2021 Hiking & Camping 1
J Death Valley Natl. Pk. A Black Mtns and Canyons Traverse Nov 30, 2021 Hiking & Camping 2
J Death Valley Natl. Pk. 6 Days hiking. Nov 14-19, 2021 Hiking & Camping 1
Janice Cosmic Ashtray via Wolverine/Little Death Hollow & Escalante River? Trip Planning 16
napatony13 DEATH & DESTRUCTION-Incredible Video of Rockslide in Northern India General Discussion 1
Bob Death Hollow - Top Half a revist..... Backpacking 0
RyanP Conditions (water/bugs) for Escalante/Death Hollow Trip Planning 27
J Death Valley National Park and Area Mountain Rambles Dec. 16-17, 2020 Hiking & Camping 0
J Death Valley Natl. Pk: Funeral Pk, Slit Canyon, and Big Dune. Dec 21-22, 2020 Hiking & Camping 1
J Death Valley NP Black Mountains and beyond Hiking Dec 19-20, 2020 Hiking & Camping 1
Burrito Death Valley van trip turns into something pretty special General Discussion 7
J Trip first week of April 2021 Southern UT/Anywhere AZ - Death Hollow, Coyote Gulch, or other suggestions? Trip Planning 9
R Boulder Mail Trail to Death Hollow Trip Planning 1
balzaccom Death Valley again Hiking & Camping 4
norwegianxplorer Death Hollow from Hells Backbone road 7 day loop with My Own Frontier Canyoneering 0
Miya Death Valley Birthday - Part 2 (3.7.20-03.8.20) Backpacking 15
Miya Death Valley Birthday - Part 1 (3.5.20-3.6.20) Hiking & Camping 28
Scott Chandler Death Valley Trip Planning 7
J Death Valley National Park Keene Canyon-Wonder Mine Loop. Dec. 3, 2019 Hiking & Camping 1
J Death Valley Natl Pk Ibex Peak, Jubliee Mtn, Virgin Springs summits Dec. 2, 2019 Hiking & Camping 0
J Death Valley NP: Corkscrew and Artist Palette Peaks, scramble dayhikes Nov 2019 Hiking & Camping 1
J Death Valley NP. Marble-Cottonwood (side slot) lollipop loop Nov 17-19,2019 Backpacking 10
Mountain of Youth Death Hollow Loop in mid-September Trip Planning 11
Mikjik86 Flooded out in Death Hollow, Utah. May - 2019 Backpacking 4
NorthwestWanderer Waterfall Hikes & the death of my legendary Chevy Cobalt...in a rock slide. Hiking & Camping 8
RyanP Lower Death Hollow next week (late May/early June), miscellaneous questions Trip Planning 16
piper01 Little Death Hollow, GSENM Hiking & Camping 3
fossana Death Valley road closures post flooding Trip Planning 3
balzaccom Rainy days in Death Valley Hiking & Camping 3
Boognish Lower Death Hollow Narrows April 2018 Backpacking 17
J Sierras to Bristlecones to Death Valley NP: Peaks, Trails, Dunes and Canyons Oct 26 to Nov 10, 2018 Hiking & Camping 0
N Noob from CLE, headed to Death Hollow Noobs: Introduce yourself! 12
Kullaberg63 Upper Death Hollow - blitz descent Backpacking 8
Kullaberg63 Death Hollow 6-21 to 6-24 Meet Up (Members Only) 0
Strawsome Lower Death Hollow at it's finest Backpacking 3
J Escalante Natl Mon. Wolverine and Little Death Hollow and overland routes April 22-25, 2018 Backpacking 0
RyanP Lower Death Hollow, mid-April Trip Planning 8
M Escalante- Little Death Hollow Loop conditions? Trip Planning 14
dhertbag Looking for info on Death Hollow Trip Planning 13
balzaccom Death Valley once again Hiking & Camping 1
Devin Ashby Upper Escalante Canyon / Death Hollow Info? Trip Planning 15
Perry Death Valley to Whitney - Very Intriguing General Discussion 2
Jackson Death Hollow from the Boulder Mail Trail Backpacking 18

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top