Clearwater Canyon, Black Hole of White Canyon, Dark Canyon, Swett Canyon "Packraftoneering"

Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
143
9 days, 7 canyons, 2 bodies of water. 75 miles traveled on a horse shoe adventure from Clearwater Canyon to Swett Canyon.
208fura.jpg

Starting on the border of Canyonlands, we dropped into Clearwater Canyon where after several rappels, we meet up with the Colorado River.

14crvk6.jpg

o5nlh2.jpg


The River was brutally windy that day and poor Carlos was on the Klymit LWD while Jason and I were in Packrafts. When we finally got to camp, the winds had died down and it turned into a beautiful and clear night. Since it was so nice we all just set up our pad and sleeping bags on the beach and tuckered out. Around 1am the winds started up again and were blowing consistently at about 30mph. We woke up to sand blasting us in the face and sprinting over to the packrafts to tie them down, and then just stuffing my head into my backpack the rest of the night as we got sandblasted.

11kbbxk.jpg


The river winded its way through orange cliffs as it brought us to Dark Canyon; a steep and deep gorge with a perennial stream and beautiful waterfalls.

Dark Canyon
qs61rn.jpg

1zb47xj.jpg



It forced us to get a little creative with navigation. We reached the Sundance Trail , which is 1000 feet of elevation gain in 55 minutes, then we trekked across the desert to Horse Tanks Canyon which has a spectacular rappel at the end which drops you into White Canyon.



White Canyon has the notorious "Black Hole", and it did not disappoint. It was a little difficult with full packs, but an adventure not to be missed.

The Black Hole
2803wau.jpg


2803wau.jpg

Lower White Canyon has its own beauty and navigation problems. However, it ends all too soon, being swallowed up by Lake Powell, the next leg of the trip. Normally paddling across the lake is no big deal, right? Well, I lost one paddle blade in the Black Hole and broke the other one in the first five minutes of paddling across the lake to Trachyte Canyon, which leads us to Swett Canyon, and the way back to the shuttle car.
 
Last edited:

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,016
As one who believes the word epic is used far too casually, I can think of no other word to adequately describe this!
Backpacking, packrafting & canyoneering. Tell me you flew into space at the end and I would be no less amazed.

EPIC!
 

Brendan S

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2016
Messages
390
Nice route. I'd imagine not a very fun shuttle...I dropped into Easter Pasture a couple Novembers ago to loop Gypsum and Bowdie and the Hite road was absolutely brutal. Clearwater is super intriguing...I've been up from the bottom to the last fall but very curious about the middle section.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ram
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
143
Nice route. I'd imagine not a very fun shuttle...I dropped into Easter Pasture a couple Novembers ago to loop Gypsum and Bowdie and the Hite road was absolutely brutal. Clearwater is super intriguing...I've been up from the bottom to the last fall but very curious about the middle section.
Upper and middle clearwater is amazing with some big raps!! Its a super wild place and you can tell it doesn't see lots of people. Big shuttle like you said, but totally worth it
 

Brendan S

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2016
Messages
390
Upper and middle clearwater is amazing with some big raps!! Its a super wild place and you can tell it doesn't see lots of people. Big shuttle like you said, but totally worth it
Middle Clearwater supposedly has some unique relict plant communities. There are a couple papers from late 80s/early 90s that reference accessing the middle part via helicopter for inventories.
 

wsp_scott

Member
.
Joined
May 16, 2016
Messages
979
I don't usually watch trip report videos because most of them suck :)

This one is great, short and sweet with some nice camera work. Looking forward to the longer version.

Out of curiosity how did the Klymit LWD compare to the "real" packrafts?
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
143
I don't usually watch trip report videos because most of them suck :)

This one is great, short and sweet with some nice camera work. Looking forward to the longer version.

Out of curiosity how did the Klymit LWD compare to the "real" packrafts?
Glad you liked the video :) Carlos says he would have rather carried the extra 5 pounds and used a "real" packraft. It is really hard to get a rigid paddling position in the LWD. The tubes are a much smaller diameter in the LWD, and way more squirrely in eddie lines and wind.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
fossana Arscenic, Slideanide, Clearwater, and Easter Pasture Canyons 4fer weekend Canyoneering 11
George_Washington_Hayduke Clearwater - Bowdie - Fable Valley - Gypsum - Easter Pasture -8 Day Backpack/Packraft Loop Backpacking 36
futurafree Grand Canyon norovirus General Discussion 6
H location of thirteen faces-horse canyon Utah Hiking & Camping 4
Bob Teton Canyon Bear General Discussion 3
scatman Big Willow Canyon - June 11, 2022 Hiking & Camping 33
TrailScot Dripping Canyon to Grand Gulch, Cedar Mesa, Utah - March 2022 Hiking & Camping 5
Janice Cottonwood Fluff in Canyon Country General Discussion 4
H Horse Canyon needles district Utah Off Road 0
Nethos Into Dark Canyon Backpacking 12
D Fox Canyon Escalante? General Discussion 6
Bob Slickhorn Canyon System - 6 days Backpacking 22
Kerrie at Thru We Go Grand Canyon Backpack/Packraft Loop at New Hance Backpacking 11
SeanIsADesertRat Old guys backpacking in Dark Canyon Backpacking 17
H Access to Grand Gulch via Water Canyon Trip Planning 2
montanaclimber Bechler canyon as an out-and-back Trip Planning 9
M What's your rain forecast comfort zone for canyon hiking? Trip Planning 4
M Grand Canyon NP, Royal Arch Route Backpacking 0
VegasHikeLife Paria Canyon 2022 Trip Planning 0
T Snow Canyon Loop Hiking & Camping 1
westy Grand Canyon-Parashant NM, Parashant canyon Hiking & Camping 4
fossana Yellow Rock, Pollock Arch, Hackberry Canyon loop (GSENM) Hiking & Camping 8
marquis20 Day 1: Grand Teton Wilderness and Black Canyon of the Yellowstone - June 2021 Backpacking 0
westy Grand Canyon-Parashant Trip Planning 2
Rockskipper Application Period Open For 2023 Private River Trips Through Grand Canyon National Park General Discussion 0
T Harris Wash/Silver Falls/Choprock/Fence Canyon Loop MLK weekend 2022 Backpacking 8
F Hammond Canyon, UT trip planning Trip Planning 9
regehr Lower Horseshoe Canyon and Big Spring Trip Planning 7
J Lake Mead NRA and Sloan Canyon NCA summit and vista hikes. Nov 21-25, 2021 Hiking & Camping 0
J Death Valley Natl. Pk. Upper Monarch Canyon plus. Dec 1, 2021 Hiking & Camping 1
J Pahranagat, Desert NWR, and Arrow Canyon Range to start Nov. 2021 Desert time Hiking & Camping 6
OwenM Hiking Horse Canyon? Trip Planning 4
TrailScot Lake Powell and the 'return' of Glen Canyon General Discussion 18
scatman Foothill Follies Part 2 - Black Mountain Ridge and City Creek Canyon Loop - November 11, 2021 Hiking & Camping 6
TrailScot Step Canyon access to Grand Gulch, Cedar Mesa Trip Planning 7
chandlerwest Bryce Canyon - Under The Rim Trail Hiking & Camping 0
RyanP Coyote Gulch to Halls Creek via Steven's Canyon and the Baker Route (car/key swap) Meet Up (Members Only) 8
Jazerrad Parunweap Canyon / The Barracks (Utah) Trip Planning 4
stretch Grand Canyon Loop: Thunder River -> Tapeats -> Kanab -> Sowats Backpacking 18
B In Government Trail and out Water Canyon Trip Planning 3
balzaccom Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne Backpacking 2
XID_AZ Poison Spring Canyon / Black Jump Fall 2021 Trip Planning 2
kansas Good map of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument? Trip Planning 5
balzaccom Buckeye Canyon thunderstorms Backpacking 0
balzaccom Kings Canyon NP Day Hikes Hiking & Camping 3
J Death Valley Natl. Pk: Funeral Pk, Slit Canyon, and Big Dune. Dec 21-22, 2020 Hiking & Camping 1
LarryBoy Skin Rash in Canyon Country General Discussion 11
swmalone Bryce Canyon Family Trip Hiking & Camping 10
J Grand Canyon NP Backpack Pt. 2 Deer Cyn explore-->Esplanade-->Indian Hollow Tr. April 18-23, 2021 Backpacking 8
J Grand Canyon NP Backpack Pt. 1 Thunder River Tr.-->Esplanade-->Tapeats-->Deer. April 18-23, 2021 Backpacking 13

Similar threads

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

Top