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Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

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Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

Postby markv » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:39 am

Sorry for the double post, but this route starts in Utah and ends in Arizona, so i didn't know which room to put it in:

Hi. I've done this trip a couple of times, including once in mid-March when i didn't think it was too cold. That said, i can't find any info of people doing it this time of year, and the BLM site's (confusing) graph seems to indicate highs of 50 and lows of 25, which i assume means water temps of 35-40.

Anyone with personal experience anytime between mid-November to mid-December? I'd like to give it a go, but with the shuttle complications i'm looking for some assurance that we'll make it forward one-way without frostbite/hypothermia issues. I'm leaning towards getting some neoprene socks and otherwise just carrying regular gear, but i'm listening...
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Re: Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

Postby JackYoung » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:02 am

It's a little late for the monsoon but given the size of that drainage I'd think that getting maytaged in a flash flood would be the the biggest risk. As you know, those big pools in Buckskin that you have to wade through can get damn cold and if the air temp is really low ya better have a fool proof plan for quick warmth when you emerge on the distant shore. Given that the monsoons will just have finished, hopefully, the pools are likely to be full. But I'm sure you already know all that.

I got caught in a flash flood once as a kid on a boy scout outing in Aravipa Canyon. We had stars all night but there was rain was many miles away. We could see lightening far away and got as far up into the canyon walls as we could. About 1 AM a huge wall of water came ripping down the canyon. So you might say that I have a "heightened sense of awareness" about unexpected rapidly raising water in canyons with no escape but downstream.

Good luck and be safe.
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Re: Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

Postby Scott » Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:25 pm

Anyone with personal experience anytime between mid-November to mid-December? I'd like to give it a go, but with the shuttle complications i'm looking for some assurance that we'll make it forward one-way without frostbite/hypothermia issues


If the canyon is dry, it shouldn't be a problem, but if it is wet and requires much wading and swimming, carrying "some neoprene socks and otherwise just carrying regular gear" is asking for trouble (also, lower Buckskin always has some wading regardless, usually knee deep).

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict conditions this far in advance.

Here is a trip report from a February trip through the Buckskin:

http://climb-utah.com/Escalante/buckskinice.htm

Conditions such as this aren't that unusal December through February.

Keep in mind that the Buckskin will never see sun that time of year, so weather averages for the "above ground places" won't do you any good.

Mid-November is going to be much better than mid December. Either way, if you do try it and take only "some neoprene socks and otherwise just carrying regular gear", you can still try, but I'd highly suggest turning back if you reach water. If you want a better chance of completing the route, and don't have a reliable update on conditions (i.e. someone who's actually been through just before your trip), take full sized and thick wetsuits/drysuits as well as proper footwear (i.e. 5.10 Canyoneers or equivalent).
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Re: Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

Postby ChristopherFranklin » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:07 am

To say Buckskin always has pool is incorrect I've done this trip many times. My last trip the river was bone dry I had trouble finding any water. October is my favorite month to go wet but not bad. I'm going oct 28th hit me up for a trip report on the 30th.
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Re: Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

Postby markv » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:02 am

Thanks for all the input so far. I'm still not sure what we'll do. I wish i could move the trip earlier, but i Thanksgiving weekend is the earliest available time. I'm trying to think of what alternate trip in the southwest to do if i don't do Buckskin/Paria, and frankly i just can't come up with anything that excites me. Even the Grand Canyon, which would be a great trip no matter what trails, somehow isn't as exciting as heading back down Buckskin.
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Re: Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

Postby ChristopherFranklin » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:56 pm

I have one for sure maybe two spots available on my permit, you could go with us the end of October.
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Re: Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

Postby Scott » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:30 pm

I'm trying to think of what alternate trip in the southwest to do if i don't do Buckskin/Paria, and frankly i just can't come up with anything that excites me.


There are plenty of slot canyons that are usually dry that time of year. Much of the Robbers Roost, North Wash, and parts of the San Rafael Swell are usually dry that time of year. Same with some of the canyons draining into Lake Powell.

The Grand Canyon also has plenty of slot canyons that are as exciting as the Buckskin as well.

The below is just an example, but it shows a smattering of what there is to offer:

http://www.summitpost.org/on-the-edge-o ... ath/402562

Plenty of easier routes that visit slot canyons as well.
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Re: Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

Postby erial » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:13 pm

Coyote Gulch

Boulder Mail Trail

Hackberry, Pollock Arch, Yellow Rock loop

Bull Valley Gorge, Willis Creek loop

Both ends of Boulder Mail are easily accessible from paved hiway. The others might be a problem if dirt roads are slick.

Canaan Mt traverse is another good one but you'd need a shuttle or two cars for that one.
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Re: Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

Postby markv » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:29 pm

Pretty amazing trip report. Alas, i hadn't clarified, but the trip needs to be non-technical, and it's MY availability that's the issue, not permit availability.

I guess i should realize by now that on summitpost "exciting" means "scary" Class 4 or higher. By "exciting" i just meant something that makes you go "wowwwww" when you look at it.
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Re: Buckskin Gulch / Paria Canyon in late November

Postby Scott » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:31 pm

Alas, i hadn't clarified, but the trip needs to be non-technical, and it's MY availability that's the issue, not permit availability.


That was just an example of some stuff down there, but there are plenty of easier routes (i.e South Canyon to Vaseys Paradise) that are still in about the same difficulty level as the Buckskin. Jackass Creek too.

Also consider places like Peekaboo/Spooky Loop and lower Brimstone in the Escalante area.

The above might be good suggestions if dry as well, but Bull Valley Gorge is at high elevation and might be out of season by then (4wd required if there is snow on the road). If dry, it's another good one.

Hackberry is more or less a pretty good cold season route as long as the roads aren't saturated. Usually it's no problem.

Also, consider the Robbers Roost area. The non-technical sections of Bluejohn and Robbers Roost Canyon are really good in winter.
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