November in Zion

zionsky

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Dec 23, 2018
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I just recently got back from a few days in Zion. This was a rescheduled trip from the spring due to the pandemic. Plenty of people in town and most wearing masks, distancing ,etc. but it was not overly crowded. I will admit it felt a little different this time but it was still an awesome trip. Sad to see Wildcat Willie's, a Springdale eatery for 40 years, had burned down. I ate there many times. They say they are planning to rebuild,

Day 1 West Northgate Peak

Only had a few hours of daylight left upon arrival and had to wait out a passing thunderstorm. Headed up KTR to do West Northgate Peak. A fun little ice-breaker for this flat lander.
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Day 2 Destination Peak and Little Jenny Peak. I give @fossana credit for giving me the idea to combine these two into a single hike. I got off route a few times and had to do a little climbing here and there but nothing too sketchy. I will say downclimbing the short vertical section at the top of destination peak was a little problematic when the obvious hold on the left side of the corner broke off in my hand. I didn't bring a rope so I had to ever so gently hold (and hope) the remaining piece of rock as I downclimbed to the intermediate ledge below. If your doing this solo, my advice is to bring a short piece of webbing as there is a sturdy bush at the top of the climb. Route finding over to little Jenny from the west side of Gifford was fun and filled with skinny cracks and sandy chutes. And the views were outstanding.20201103_073134.jpg20201103_081650.jpg20201103_084241.jpg20201103_102926.jpgDSC_0220.JPG20201103_112255.jpgDSC_0234.JPG20201103_130426.jpg20201103_133250.jpg20201103_133300.jpgDSC_0244.JPG20201103_133119.jpg

Day 3 Separation Peak and Antler Point

I have been on the east side of the park many times but never explored west of Nippletop. I had seen a small peak off to the far southeast but found very little information about it so curiosity got the better of me and I decided to go explore. I hit separation peak first, then made the long and often sandy slog out to Antler Point. There was a little more up and down than indicated by topo but the beautiful scenery was worth every step.20201104_073336.jpg20201104_082212.jpg20190329_123857.jpg20201104_093332.jpg20201104_095621.jpgDSC_0272.JPG20201104_101203.jpg

Day 4 West Rim

This is one of the few official trails I had yet to do in the park. What else can I say except this is an awesome trail with so many dramatic views. Drop off at TH to pick up at grotto was 7 hours. I would love to do this one again as an overnighter camping at site 5 or 6.20201105_070520.jpg20201105_072856.jpg20201105_075646.jpg20201105_083254.jpg20201105_085241.jpg20201105_091817.jpg20201105_100142.jpg20201105_102209.jpg20201105_111246.jpg20201105_112515.jpg20201105_123129.jpg20201105_125736.jpg

Day 5 SGA Recon and random exploration

SGA is another one on my Zion bucket list. I didn't think I had enough gas in the tank to make the full trip but I knew I needed to verify the route down as I had read it can be pretty crazy. So I zig-zagged the ledges, cracks, and sandy chutes and sure enough made my way down into the left fork. I look forward to coming back in the future and completing this one. On my way back I decided to roam the west flank of North Guardian. It turned out to be quite the pleasant stroll.20201106_075435.jpg20201106_084623.jpg20201106_091356.jpg20201106_085942.jpg20201106_090304.jpg20201106_114722.jpg20201106_120741.jpg20201106_123221.jpg20201106_120735.jpg
 
So glad you got out here!! Thanks for your observations about Little Jenny. You approached thru Gifford...right? Ever since @fossana showed you could access the top from that way I have had it on my radar. But I have felt it might test my skill set. Your problems down climbing didn't exactly embolden me with additional confidence....ha. Also thanks for additional confirmation about the SGA access. I went over to that area once but never committed to finding my way all the way down. But I enjoyed the view of South Guardian!! The memory I have of that adventure was finding myself trying to traverse, what I swear was, an acre of thick Manzanita at the base of North Guardian. Exploring Zion is wondrous.
 
SGA is another one on my Zion bucket list. I didn't think I had enough gas in the tank to make the full trip but I knew I needed to verify the route down as I had read it can be pretty crazy. So I zig-zagged the ledges, cracks, and sandy chutes and sure enough made my way down into the left fork. I look forward to coming back in the future and completing this one. On my way back I decided to roam the west flank of North Guardian. It turned out to be quite the pleasant stroll.
It's not the farthest dayhike I've ever done, and it doesn't have as much elevation gain as some others I've done, but for some reason, it was the hardest dayhike I've done. Haha. And it is one of my all-time favorites. Finding the route down took us a lot longer than we expected, and it sure was rough in places! Can't wait to see the report from when you go back and do it!

Loved seeing these photos. Thanks for sharing.
 
Also thanks for additional confirmation about the SGA access. I went over to that area once but never committed to finding my way all the way down. But I enjoyed the view of South Guardian!! The memory I have of that adventure was finding myself trying to traverse, what I swear was, an acre of thick Manzanita at the base of North Guardian. Exploring Zion is wondrous.

There is a mostly brushless route to SGA, which I found on the return. Nailing the right gully on the way there is the crux. I made an attempt to describe the approach, while still retaining some adventure, here. :). I did capture a waypoint for the top of the gully if anyone is interested.
 
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So glad you got out here!! Thanks for your observations about Little Jenny. You approached thru Gifford...right? Ever since @fossana showed you could access the top from that way I have had it on my radar. But I have felt it might test my skill set. Your problems down climbing didn't exactly embolden me with additional confidence....ha. Also thanks for additional confirmation about the SGA access. I went over to that area once but never committed to finding my way all the way down. But I enjoyed the view of South Guardian!! The memory I have of that adventure was finding myself trying to traverse, what I swear was, an acre of thick Manzanita at the base of North Guardian. Exploring Zion is wondrous.
I believe @fossana ascended out of Gifford to little jenny via the class 3/4 east side. I found a much easier 2/3 route up the west side. And up climbing rock is always easier than downclimbing as those little toe holds are easy to see. Coming down, there dang near invisible.
 
I think I understand the vantage of your last two pics (went back to my NGA pics) and that is an area I really want to explore! I think it is within the Northgate Peaks overnight zone permit area. Down to the Subway and then over to there seems like a long day! Great stuff.
 
I believe @fossana ascended out of Gifford to little jenny via the class 3/4 east side. I found a much easier 2/3 route up the west side. And up climbing rock is always easier than downclimbing as those little toe holds are easy to see. Coming down, there dang near invisible.
Argh.....now you have me looking for two routes where I thought there were none. Tempting me with options!!!!
 
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