Info for The Gulch to Horse Canyon Loop. (canyoneering 3 # 32)

PNW1095

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Hi all, my family and i are planning a trip to the Escalante area this September and looking for advice for the gulch to horse Canyon Loop. In canyoneering 3 it lists a 50 foot rope is required for belay of the fifth class (5.0) to the rim, bypassing a pour off. But then later in the description of the route it only lists a 20 foot belay. So I'm wondering if it's a 20 foot or a 50 foot rope, or any rope at all needed?

Also any general recommendations for this route would be appreciated as well. Keep in mind that it is myself, my wife and our little guy who will be writing any kid carrier backpack and/or ergo carrier for the tougher scrambling sections. I have plenty of rock climbing experience and some canyoneering experience, but with the little guy we would rather carry a little extra gear to be on the safer side.

The Guidebook states it's a 3 to 4 day trip, but we were going to give an extra day for expiration and moving slower with the little guy.

Also looking for recommendations for footwear, in past trips i have just used an older pair of tennis shoes or worn-out approach shoes. Anybody that has experience with the worn-out tennis shoes vs. Water specific shoes I would appreciate your comments.

also, what are people using for water filtration? We have a sawyer filter and a striped, I prefer the filter over the stripes but I am worried about it clogging with silt.

Thanks
 
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LarryBoy

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I have nothing to contribute as I haven't been down the Gulch, but that's so rad that you're doing that with a little one. So cool and good on you!
 

LarryBoy

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Re water treatment, the upper Escalante is hit and miss. Sometimes it's clear, sometimes chocolate milk. Depends on season and recent rainfall. I've had the Escalante clog up my Sawyer before and generally just use aquamira to avoid having to worry about it.

You should find good clear water in lower Horse. Can be a little alkaline, but drinkable.
 

regehr

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Taking a baby backpack on fifth-class sandstone using worn-out tennis shoes?? I would definitely not do this. Get some fresh trail runners with super grippy rubber!

Re. water shoes I usually don't bother but just yesterday spent an hour or two on pretty treacherous terrain (talus, deadfally swamp, mucky creekbed, etc) in these and they were pretty great:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01F4PK96U/?tag=backcountrypo-20
They weigh almost nothing. Got a pair for my 13 year-old and he loves them too. I'd hike all day in these if I had to.

I love a Sawyer thing in the mountains but something different would definitely be better in the desert.
 
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Ben

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Taking a baby backpack on fifth-class sandstone using worn-out tennis shoes?? I would definitely not do this. Get some fresh trail runners with super grippy rubber!

Re. water shoes I usually don't bother but just yesterday spent an hour or two on pretty treacherous terrain (talus, deadfally swamp, mucky creekbed, etc) in these and they were pretty great:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01F4PK96U/?tag=backcountrypo-20
They weigh almost nothing. Got a pair for my 13 year-old and he loves them too. I'd hike all day in these if I had to.

I love a Sawyer thing in the mountains but something different would definitely be better in the desert.

What would be better than a sawyer in the desert?
 

regehr

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I'd hike all day in these if I had to.
Update after a few more days using these as camp / water shoes -- these are super meshy in the bottoms and let in pine needles that poke you in the bottom of the foot! Not a big deal but maybe worth taking into account.
 
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regehr

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What would be better than a sawyer in the desert?
I guess something with more filter surface area, or maybe chemicals, or maybe a UV thingie? I'll admit I've been too nervous to take a Sawyer into the desert due to general water nastiness but if this works out then great. Just spent a few days in the Uintas passing cowed-up water through a Sawyer so hoping it does a really good job with those giardia bugs!
 

Brendan S

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I’ve used a steripen for years on the CO plateau for years without issue (using the pure+ these days). I take a few aquamira tabs as backup but have never had to use them.

+1 on just get some sticky trail runners. I’ve had good luck with la sportiva but plenty of good options out there

Not sure if you’ve done any Allen routes but he’s very conservative with his difficulty descriptions and he does his class rankings based on the assumption you’re in boots. Obviously with the fam in tow play it safe but if you have some climbing/canyon experience you shouldn’t have too much to worry about. Some rope or webbing is a good idea for pack hauling and maybe a hand line but I just read that route description and based on lots of Allen experience, with good shoes I’d bet it’s no biggie (famous last words ha).
 

regehr

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I’ve used a steripen for years on the CO plateau for years without issue (using the pure+ these days).

Nice, I keep toying with getting one of these, had a bit of a bad experience with a friend's steripen years ago but I think they were pretty new then and presumably have worked out a lot of kinks.

+1 for Allen giving accurate difficulty estimates, though I haven't done the one we're speaking about here. I have driven Horse Canyon though, but it looks like this route overlaps very little with the drivable part and moreover I don't imagine it gets a lot of traffic.
 

PNW1095

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Thanks everybody for the input. We have decided that the rope is probably a good idea. Back packing the kid is already a ton of work, so why not make one aspect easier and safer.

I think for the 20 or 30 bucks I'm going to try the water shoes, with an old, but decent shape approach shoe if they water prove to be uncomfortable.

I personally like the steripens, and have been using them for about three years without any incident. But for some reason my wife has had two of them go bad on her,(actually she kills these things). one just stop working and was warranted, and the other supposedly broken in her backpack somehow. Since then I have rig a wife proof gravity fed Sawyer system that works pretty good. It also allows us to walk away while the water is filtering and attend to the kid.
 
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