Lower Death Hollow, mid-April

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RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
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100
Hello all, I am considering a backpacking trip (3 or 4 days) in Lower Death Hollow (BMT to Hwy 12) in mid-April (a few weeks away now!). I have some questions:

1. Is the poison ivy completely avoidable if we plan on walking in the river the entire time? We will wear long pants as well. Any other tips for dealing with the poison ivy?

2. Any idea how high the water level is currently? Is the river walking any harder than, say, the Zion Narrows? (We've done the top-down version of that twice). I'm hoping the water level is lower than normal years (since it's been such a dry winter), so that we can walk in the river the entire time (and thus avoid the poison ivy) and not be too cold.

3. I've never planned a multi-day trip in a place with flash flood potential. I plan on checking the weather forecast for the area; any particular tips on how to check? (any preferred websites or tips?)

4. Should we bring neoprene socks? I was thinking some thin neoprene socks with some old tennis shoes or trail runners?

5. How hard is the crux of the route? (I've seen pictures of the "crux" in the narrows; I hope you know what I'm referring to) I was planning on just putting my clothes and sleeping bag in plastic bags (trash compactor bags, large ziploc bags, etc), but if special drybags are recommended for this route, please let me know.

6. Should I expect the bugs to be bad in mid-April?

7. I'm thinking of spending 3 days for this trip (starting at Boulder Mail Trail/airstrip and ending at HWY 12 Bridge), with a 4th day in Capitol Reef on our way out. But I may just make it a 4-day Death Hollow trip if there are sufficient side trips of interest.
- I thought it could be fun to dayhike upstream from our 1st camp (which I assume will be somewhat near where the Boulder Mail Trail drops down into Death Hollow). I haven't read anything about that area---is it scenic? Is it difficult?
- I am considering the possible side trip to the Mamie Natural Bridge. I've read that you can get to the bridge from the Boulder Mail Trail; can you also get to it from lower down in Death Hollow (by following Mamie Creek up from Death Hollow?). If so, I think it would be fun to tack on an extra day to the trip and do that loop as a dayhike.
- any other side trip recommendations?

8. Any general tips on which sections the best campsites are in? We will either do the trip from Sun-Tues, Mon-Wed, or Sun-Wed., so I'm hoping with those dates we won't be competing with too many other people for the prime campsites.

Thanks in advance for any feedback!
 

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Nick

Spiral out.
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1. Maybe, but I wouldn't plan on it.
2. It seems to stay fairly consistent whenever I've been there whether it's been March, April, May, June or September. It's much less water and generally easier walking than the Zion Narrows top-down but still frequently knee deep.
3. I like Weather Underground and weather.gov. In the spring it would likely take a significant storm system to be a problem. Summer thunderstorms tend to have more potential to be unpredictable.
4. I never have but it is cold water. Probably a good idea.
5. I'm not sure what you're considering is the crux. I've always been able to walk around anything deep in the lower canyon but I've heard there is one deep pool.
6. Bugs shouldn't be a problem in mid-April. Still pretty cool in the canyon bottoms.
7. I'd personally opt for the extra day exploring along the route you have planned. There's lots to see and do.
8. Camping options are somewhat limited in Death Hollow. There's some good spots soon after dropping in from the BMT though. Less lower in the canyon. Plenty along the Escalante.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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The part you refer to as the crux is doable with a pack on. You have to do a little squat walk maybe 5-10 feet along a submerged, slightly mossy ledge, but you'll be fine. I've attached a picture right where you get into it headed downstream. You have to duck under that overhang on the left, and there's a spot to your right that's fairly deep. For obvious reasons, I didn't have my camera out for photos when I was in the middle of it. You'll be fine though.

20170507_114655.jpg


Last pieces of advice. Trekking poles can be very helpful since there are lots of rocks that are slick with moss/algae.

You'll have an awesome time. Be sure to report back and share your story here!
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
100
Thanks for the replies! I really appreciate it. The "crux" doesn't look too bad after all. And yes, I always bring trekking poles, but thanks for the suggestion
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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That's the crux!? Must have gotten deeper since I was there...

That shatters my world. Hahaha. I bet it hasn't eroded so quickly that it's now 3-5 feet deeper like I thought it was. Haha. I'm going to be very embarrassed if you can just walk that, which appears to be the case. We stuck a long stick down in there and it looked like it would be at least chest deep on us. I had read reports where people's perception was similar to my group's, but maybe no one tried just going for it. Dang it. Looks like I'm going to try just going for it next time.
 
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Kyle P

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I'm with Jackson... That stream must have changed greatly! We estimate that the depth of the pool would at least be to our heads. To get around it, my friend went through without his pack while I crawled on the ledge above and lowered our packs down to him. I then followed him through.

upload_2018-3-30_14-24-4.png



upload_2018-3-30_14-29-45.png





Also, you can't follow Maimie Creek from its confluence in Death Hollow up to the natural bridge. If you try, you will run into the wall shown below. You can see the small trickle of the stream coming down.- To get to the natural bridge, you need to exit Death Hollow on the Boulder Mail Trail way above the confluence.

upload_2018-3-30_14-29-24.png




And to answer a few more of your questions -
-There are ample camping sites where you drop down into Death Hollow.
-When I went during the first week of May, poison ivy was unavoidable, plan to walk through it at some point.
-We brought neoprene socks and thought that was definitely worth it. The water can be cold and the socks help keep your feet from getting blisters or hurt by small rocks that sneak into your shoes.

Kyle
 

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RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
100
Thanks Kyle! I knew someone here would have explored Mamie Creek as far up as you can go from death hollow... Looks like we definitely won't be trying that loop dayhike after all! This trip sounds awesome, except for the poison ivy (but I guess that's what keeps the crowds down?)
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
1,749
I'm with Jackson... That stream must have changed greatly! We estimate that the depth of the pool would at least be to our heads. To get around it, my friend went through without his pack while I crawled on the ledge above and lowered our packs down to him. I then followed him through.

View attachment 63052


View attachment 63056




Also, you can't follow Maimie Creek from its confluence in Death Hollow up to the natural bridge. If you try, you will run into the wall shown below. You can see the small trickle of the stream coming down.- To get to the natural bridge, you need to exit Death Hollow on the Boulder Mail Trail way above the confluence.

View attachment 63055



And to answer a few more of your questions -
-There are ample camping sites where you drop down into Death Hollow.
-When I went during the first week of May, poison ivy was unavoidable, plan to walk through it at some point.
-We brought neoprene socks and thought that was definitely worth it. The water can be cold and the socks help keep your feet from getting blisters or hurt by small rocks that sneak into your shoes.

Kyle
Maybe I'm not crazy! Now I need to go back there and test it out.
 

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