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zion march-april

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zion march-april

Postby norco17 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:42 pm

I am planning on spending my spring break in zion this year with my girl friend, and am curious what conditions will be like last week of march first week of april.

I am interested in...

-hikes up to about ten miles

-canyons (we have wet suits, but not dry suits I think it might be a lttile cold still)
preferably not to technical, but a few raps would be ok.

-backpacking I am open to any suggestions here we have snowshoes crampons ax....

-trad climbing she doesn't climb much so anything good under 5.6 or so

We have both been here before, but in the summer months. I have spent a combined total of two days here so I really don't know the area. She knows we are going somewhere, but does not know where. This is kind of a suprise. What I am really looking for is no people if that is possible.

Any help is appreciated thanks in advanced.
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Postby brianhughes » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:47 pm

You might get some ideas from this previous discussion. I had a great trip to Zion in April 2007 thanks to all the good advice.

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=27670
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Re: zion march-april

Postby cp0915 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:43 pm

norco17 wrote:I am planning on spending my spring break in zion this year with my girl friend, and am curious what conditions will be like last week of march first week of april.


Highly variable that time of year. I've seen it very dry, and I've also seen the summits of 6,200-ft peaks buried under snow and ice.

I am interested in...

-hikes up to about ten miles


Head up the West Rim Trail from the Grotto (or from the Lava Point area). Go as far as you like. It's spectacular. Alternately, the East Rim Trail is nice. Fewer people on either trail if you approach from the Lava Point area (for the West Rim Trail) or the East Entrance (for the East Rim Trail). You could also go to Lee Pass and hike down around La Verkin Creek, though it's a popular circuit. Or consider exploring along the Hop Valley Trail, which is lacking some of the spectacular scenery but is lonely and nice nonetheless.

-canyons (we have wet suits, but not dry suits I think it might be a lttile cold still)
preferably not to technical, but a few raps would be ok.


Late March is usually a horrible time for canyoneering in Zion. Early April isn't often a whole lot better, though that's more slot specific. Many of the canyons will be flooding; some will be choked with very dangerous ice and snow. Stay out of Echo, particularly.

-backpacking I am open to any suggestions here we have snowshoes crampons ax....


West Rim Trail. Or up the Right Fork of North Creek to the upper-most waterfall you can scramble to.

-trad climbing she doesn't climb much so anything good under 5.6 or so


Under 5.6 is going to be hard, unless you're willing to go backcountry and deal with the loose rock and long, often-challenging approaches. If that's cool with you, there are many, many options.

You might also consider Pine Valley Peak or The Organ (SE Chimney, which is a 5-pitch 5.6 that's almost never done). Both should be easily accessed that time of year, though The Organ requires a very chilly crossing of the fast-moving Virgin River both coming and going.

Understand that most of the under 5.6 5th class peaks in Zion aren't so much "trad" climbs as they are scrambles with the occasional 5th class obstacle, though the SE chimney of The Organ is a genuine trad climb. You might also consider Smithsonian Butte (5.3) or Aires Butte (4 pitches, 5.5 - entirely bolted).

If you're looking to simply climb trad routes (that are under 5.6) on a crag somewhere, I think you're gonna have great difficulty finding something in the park.

What I am really looking for is no people if that is possible.


Easily done in Zion, but you gotta get into the backcountry. 99% of Zion visitors never leave the "trail." The rest of us are rarely on it.
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Postby norco17 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:43 pm

brian that thread gave me some ideas. Thanks :D

FortMental wrote:The Virgin's not going to be any colder, just muddier and maybe higher, than, say, early May.


So what is the water temp that time of year?
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Postby cp0915 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:49 pm

FortMental wrote:Checkerboard Mesa (5.7) will have the easiest climbing. Note that even the easiest climbing requires being comfortable on loose, run-out stuff.


Emphasis must be put on the brittle, run-out nature of this route.

While there, you should very seriously consider very early morning 3rd class scrambles to get into good position for when the light hits the canyon walls, especially when the weather is iffy. The photos you'll get will be astounding, and worth the trip.


Great advice. There are lots and lots of these.

Don't even think of restaurants.


Agreed, mostly. Oscar's is the exception. Great food, good service and fantastic ambiance.
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Postby brianhughes » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:51 pm

FortMental wrote: ..... Bring all food and booze because Springdale and environs blows. Don't even think of restaurants.


I wouldn't say Springdale has any shortage of decent eating places, Oscar's and that Whiptail? place are particularly good.
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Postby cp0915 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:52 pm

norco17 wrote:So what is the water temp that time of year?


Cold. The Virgin will be closed that time of year, so doing more than briefly dipping your feet downstream of Temple of Sinawava will be out of the question. Unless you're some lunatic whitewater kayaker...
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Postby MoapaPk » Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:55 pm

Watchman?

cp is the expert!

I've gone to Zion for Easter the last 4 years. There are always neat hikes, ranging from an 18 mile walk on the east-rim trail (with bus pick-up at the Grotto), to Lady Mt (with some funky 4th class and one low 5th)., or a "quick" low -4th scamper up Mountain of the Sun. Even the hikes to Angel's Landing or Observation Point are fun. The southern area (like Canaan Mt) are mainly class 2 walks if you stay on route. Checkerboard Mesa and other will be class 2 hikes, even if there is snow.

I've found 45F water in the Virgin R in June. Sure wouldn't want to do canyoneering (without a drysuit) in April.

You would not believe how crappy the sandstone gets when it is wet, much less covered by sleet. Pick a "hike" when the weather is bad.

EDIT: The EAST-SIDE GULLY to Checkerboard is class 2!
Last edited by MoapaPk on Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Stu Brandel » Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:16 am

In 2007 my 11 year old son and I went to Zion over his spring break (late March). Weather was outstanding. Cool mornings, warm days. Recommend Subway from the bottom for a 10 mile hike. Via SP, got a number of great scrambling ideas, some of which we did, some we only attempted http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/399576/Scrambling-with-an-11-Year-Old.html. Water was flowing fast and very cold - though not deep.
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Postby norco17 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:36 am

thanks to everyone who has replied. You guys have given me a couple more ideas to look in to. :)
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Postby Day Hiker » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:14 am

It doesn't sound as if you're going there for drinking. But if you have ANY possible interest at all in drinking a beer or two, make sure you bring your own from out of state, unless you don't mind paying full price for that 3.2% mormon pisswater they sell in Utah.

I have had decent food in at least a few Springdale restaurants. But plan ahead for moderately early closing times at restaurants and grocery stores. Springdale, like most Utah cities, is the anti-Vegas. It's a nice city -- clean, attractive, and safe. But it's very unforgiving for those that roll back into town at 22:00, hungry and thirsty after a long day of Zioning.
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Postby norco17 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:30 am

FortMental wrote: Lots of wine. Chicks dig wine.


Me and her both don't drink, but thanks for the advice.

FortMental wrote:Let's see, what else....oh yeah, candles. Don't forget candles. LED lights make flesh look dead.


I guess I will have to grab the old mag light with the tungsten bulb.

FortMental wrote: and a cozy tent.


Of course I am going to bring a cozy tent...the only options are my two person tent or if I want it to be really cozy my solo tent, but then I would probably be going solo outside while she is inside.

I definitly like the way you are thinking. :twisted: :) :D :wink: :mrgreen:
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Postby jackstraw0083 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:24 pm

I can't think of any 5.6 trad in the park, but if you can handle 5.7, Weeping Rock Chimney (1 or 2 pitches, 5.7) is fairly straightforward and is a nice route that takes plenty of pro. Also, the famous Cave Route (1 pitch, 5.7) is just down the road from Weeping Rock Chimney, but is a bit tougher than Weeping Rock. I climbed both these routes in April of last year and they were in excellent condition. Also, you probably won't have to deal with snow in the main canyon, but the higher elevations of the park may still be socked in.

I've tried to go canyoneering in Zion that time of year and it's not a very good time to go because there's still a good amount of snow in the slot canyons that time of year. This can make for brutal approaches, postholing, and "interesting" bollard rappels if the natural anchors are buried.
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