Overview4B X VI
Here's a REALLY nice one for those who enjoy a tough challenge. If you do not have at least one good climber w/ solid aid climbing skills stay away. Everyone should be experienced w/ pothole escapes and have at least some climbing skills before entering. A bolt kit and some (6-12 ?) bolts and hangers would be smart as well. This canyon has bolts that are nearly 30 years old and may or may not have been updated by the time you descend. Here is a short blurb on it's 1st descent from canyon tales - turville descents.
"‘L’ Canyon aka Poe Canyon — Originally called ‘L’ Canyon for the ‘L’ in Fold on the map, it was later called ‘Poe’ Canyon because of its ‘pits and pendulums’ ... A difficult canyon, one of the toughest ones Bogart recalls. 5 major pits negotiated with a variety of aid moves, 5.7 climbing, removable bolts, partner boosting. Easiest when water is high. 13 raps, 11 bolts, 17 bolt holes. Severe worm work and serious downclimbing required. Wet suits required. The first descent party barely made it out in one day, very exhausted from drilling.
August 23, 1981 — First descent by Mike Bogart & Jenny Hall"
Bring plenty of webbing and r/ql's. Pothole escape kit. Aid climbing gear.
I'll give you my experience in here and the obstacles a party can expect, but conditions can change. poe descent. And I am not a spell it all out for you type of person. Number of raps ? I didn't keep count, but maybe 12. Longest rap ? ~180' from our canyon rim entry. Maybe there is a walk in further up canyon ? Longest rap IN the canyon was 100'. Number of potholes ? Many ! 40 maybe ? It took 2 of us 2 days to go thru. I suggest a party of at least 3 if all are strong and experienced climbers as well as canyoneers. 4-6 even better.
You could enjoy this canyon year round, cold weather would make wetsuits necessary though if water were present. In other words, if its gonna be cool or cold, you 'oughta pack in the wetsuit. Flash flood danger is high !
edit: I was here over Thanksgiving '07 scouting this route and had snow. Ice or snow could make this even more hazardous to do.
Getting ThereThis canyon is located in Glen Canyon NRA along Halls Creek just south of Capitol Reef NP. The hike in is ~11 miles if taking a "shortcut" route down thru a break in the cliffs of Halls Mesa - shortcut th . Otherwise it is ~15 miles or more from the Halls Creek overlook th in Capitol Reef np. You could also come in from Bullfrog Marina or Halls Crossing if you have a boat. Just boat to the mouth of Halls Creek - halls creek bay th - and head upstream ~7 miles or so. The roads to either the shortcut or Halls Creek th's is rough, but graded semi periodically. I got in to both w/ my Hyundai Elantra GT, but a HCV is definitely easier. Would suck to get that far and be denied due to road conditions and have a much longer hike in.
routeFrom the mouth of Smiling Cricket Canyon - poe canyon mouth - we meandered up the Waterpocket Fold on the north of the canyon following the path of least resistance. Once we got about here - ~ rap in entry - we rapped down to the canyon floor. There is a short section of potholes and slot up canyon from here that we did not investigate. Once down it is follow the canyon bottom and all it has to offer. Potholes and narrows and potholes and slot and potholes and more potholes. We had water no deeper than waist to tummy deep on my 6' tall frame. We used partner assist, potshots, and aid climbing gear and were able to overcome the potholes. If water levels are right in the middle the difficulty goes way up. Most potholes were ~15' +/- and if water is too deep to stand, too low to swim out, its gonna be hard. The crux of the canyon is a huge pothole ~18' (entry pt. to exit pt.) x 25' (perpendicular to down canyon), and ~30-40' deep maybe when dry (?). The route around we used was the one the 1st party pioneered. The lead is unprotected so be sure footed ! You fall, you will NOT be happy, and the whole party could be put at risk. Chimney up ~20’ to the 1st of a series of hook holes (we used bd talons. AND WATCH THOSE HOLES ! make sure they are good and haven't got rounded out), then 10-15’ of aid climbing on talons and etriers to skinny unprotected ledges 10’ below and 10’ beside a glowingly beautiful bolt and hanger. Penalty points are high to move to it but it is not a hard move for those used to climbing. Once clipped in descend and traverse to another glowingly beautiful bolt and hanger ~20’ over and 10’ below. Then a little pendulum action to swing over to the far lip. Yay ! Then ferry the rest over. Or sloooooowly peck hook holes and etrier out from the bottom. THESE BOLTS ARE 30 YEARS OLD, BE CAREFUL IF TRUSTING THEM. potshots have been used to overcome the crux pothole. If you are unable to successfully bridge the gap that way though, up you go. So be prepeared. There is also another keeper pothole beyond the crux pothole which is rather nasty. There is a bypass up high on a ledge above and beyond it, but the wart outcropping that has been slung before is not very stable. Either a direct approach into the pothole and out on potshots, or a bolt or other alternative anchor up high is necessary.
CampingThere is a nice camp site at the shortcut th. Camping along Halls Creek is easy to find as well, if a little spread out.
External Linksour descent in 08 - smiling cricket descent
canyon tales - turville descents
album of pics - smiling cricket pics
glen canyon nra - glen canyon nra
capitol reef np - capitol reef np
shortcut th - shortcut th
~ rap in entry - ~ rap in entry
smiling cricket canyon mouth - smiling cricket canyon mouth
Red TapeThis canyon is located in Glen Canyon NRA so all regulations from that managing agency apply.
Additions and Corrections[ Post an Addition or Correction ]