Three, Moonshine, and Blue John Canyons

wanderinfinn

Adrenaline Junkie
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
20
Finally made it down to the desert for a trip other than work! This being the first canyoneering trip of the year we decided to make it a fairly non-technical one. We decided upon Three and Moonshine the first day, and Blue John the second.
We drove down Friday afternoon, getting stuck in the usual traffic in Utah County. One we made it through Spanish Fork, it was an easy cruise to Green River. We fueled up and headed down the Swell Road. The first night was spent at a spot overlooking the Green. It is an amazing campsite. It was about 60 degrees so we all just slept sans tents.
Everyone was up before the sun and we watched the sunrise from our perch near the edge of the canyon. Only having one car, a loop containing Three and Moonshine was determined. Having a group of four, we made quick work of Three Canyon. The truck was left at the Saucer Basin area. After climbing the exit crack, we struck out cross country to make our way into Moonshine from the lower end. I wasnt expecting such large walls, so we had to pick our way along the rim until we found a suitable place to down climb. All of us are capable climbers, so we found a route fairly quickly. If someone was to do this loop, I would recommend bringing some webbing and a decent length of rope. It would open up many more possibilities for entry. We had stashed ours when we crossed the road, so we made do without.
The pool at the entrance to the Moonshine Spring canyon was still fairly large, so we decided to pass on by and head to the Moonshine slot. This section went by quicker than I remember it going last time, and we were headed up, not down. When we exited Moonshine, we made our way across the desert and ended up right at the truck. The hike was started around 9 am and we reached the truck around 3:30. Not bad.
After a few beers and snacks, we headed to the Alternate entrance to Blue John Canyon. It was super windy all afternoon and all night. Everything was covered in a fine red dust. It even managed to find its way through the rear slider window in the truck. In the morning, the group headed across the sand and up to the first rappel. Quick work was made of the first few raps, then came the long slog through the sandy wash to the West Fork exit. Again, we stashed the rope and continued down canyon. Being the only one in the group who had done the lower section previously, I made sure everyone saw the "Ralstone".
We descended into the amazing lower portion of the canyon and ran into a group from CO. (Do you know how to tell when it is spring in the Utah desert? The license plates turn green! :)) We took our time, well, I took our time, taking photos and enjoying the cool darkness. When everyone had taken enough pictures and such, we made our way back through the sand storm up to the West Fork. Now last time I did this canyon, we just kind of struck out across the desert right from the get-go. This time, we just followed the wash up. It slots up a bit, and has a few little dryfall climbs, but nothing too hard. It put us right onto the road that went past our campsite. We had to walk a measly .8 miles on the road to hit camp.
I wasnt sure which route would be faster to SLC, so I opted for the way back by Moonshine. With a stop in Rays Tavern in Green River for some excellent greasy food, we were on our way. When we hit price, we could see the snow falling up in the mountains. It was 25 degrees on Soldier Summit! A big change from the 70 degree heat in the canyons.
The photos are not in any order, so yeah, enjoy.

1s.jpg

Hiking in Three Canyon.
2s.jpg

Keith jumping in after myself.
4s.jpg

Our campsite near the Blue John Alternate entrance.
6.jpg

Random night scene.
7.jpg

Keith on the first rappel.
8s.jpg

Bottom of one of the raps.
9s.jpg

Packing the rope.
10s.jpg

Another rap.
11s.jpg

Waiting in a chamber in Blue John.
12s.jpg

Rap in Blue John.
13s.jpg

Amazing light in the lower section.
14s.jpg

Thanks to all three for letting me use them for my images.
15s.jpg

My bro Johnny.
16s.jpg

Looking up.
21s.jpg

A headlamp wasnt necessary, but it made for interesting images.
20s.jpg

Another headlamp one. Somehow Keith managed to stay still for 20 seconds!
19s.jpg

The best part of Blue John.
18s.jpg

Group shot, minus myself.
17s.jpg
Johnny.

Featured image for slideshow:
slide.jpg
 

Nick

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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,938
Man, you got some sweet shots down there in the dark section! Great idea with the Three Canyon + Moonshine loop!
 

wanderinfinn

Adrenaline Junkie
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
20
Man, you got some sweet shots down there in the dark section! Great idea with the Three Canyon + Moonshine loop!
Thanks! I had to haul my tripod down there. It got a little scraped up so I just got home with a new one! :) That part of Blue John is by far the best part. You'll have to make it down there sometime. It has a few downclimbs, but nothing that can't be done.
 

Nick

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.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,938
Yeah, it looks awesome. I don't mind the down-climbs, I just had concerns about my ability to make it back up the drop at the S-Log since we didn't end up doing the Horseshoe route. In retrospect, it would have been super easy to just tie several loops into that rope and create a rope ladder. Next time!
 

gloo

{insert witty remark here}
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
151
awesome TR, I've been wanting to hit all those canyons up at some point.
 

Tyler

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Messages
464
Awesome pictures. Blue John area (and that awesome pool that's out there somewhere) are high on my list of places to visit.
 

neiloro

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
104
Awesome pictures. Blue John area (and that awesome pool that's out there somewhere) are high on my list of places to visit.
That pool in the movie is nowhere near Bluejohn, and does not have a slot above it. Cinematic liberties.
 

Bill

.
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
991
The truck was left at the Saucer Basin area. After climbing the exit crack, we struck out cross country to make our way into Moonshine from the lower end. I wasnt expecting such large walls, so we had to pick our way along the rim until we found a suitable place to down climb. All of us are capable climbers, so we found a route fairly quickly. If someone was to do this loop, I would recommend bringing some webbing and a decent length of rope. It would open up many more possibilities for entry. We had stashed ours when we crossed the road, so we made do without.

Not sure if you know this or no but there a sneak route for moonshine where you can park about half a mile above the narrows. No ropes needed and it take you directly to the goods.
Its also a prefect spot for doing the loop of both forks.

The pool at the entrance to the Moonshine Spring canyon was still fairly large

That pool has been there every time I've done the canyon. There's an easy bypass route marked with cairns a little ways up the main fork on the west side.
 
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