|Route Type:||Hiking, Scrambling, Canyoneering|
|Season:||Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter|
|Time Required:||Half a day|
|Difficulty:||ACA - 3A II|
Hog 1 is the first of of three excellent slot canyons in the upper Hog Canyon drainage in the North Wash area slot canyons in the southern reaches of Robbers Roost Country. Like its counterpart to the east, it features narrow, leaning sections with many friction slides and at least one mandatory rappel. There are many descent sized drops in this canyon but all but one can be down-climbed by experienced canyoneers. With a short approach, this makes an ideal half-day outing or it can be combined with Hog 2 just to the east.
See the main page for directions on how to get here. Start at the upper trailhead and park 2 miles from Highway 276 on the 4WD dirt road where it turns sharply to the right and heads down a big hill. 2WD cars can make it to the start of the hike when the road has been recently graded but later in the summer it becomes too sandy. Follow the approach "trail" northward along the rim to the left of the canyon. This hike starts along the open desert flats on the Carmel Formation. After 10 minutes or so, the rim is reached and views 700 feet down into the main drainage are spectacular. The first, little canyon is Miss Piggy, which is a very short canyon that dumps into Hog 1 you may not even notice. The second canyon is Hog One, which has a large, shallow bowl at the upper end. Hike the rim all the way to this bowl and descend a short Class 3 slab to pass the Page Sandstone and emerge onto the Navajo Sandstone below. In summer, this approach as well as the scramble back up can be dangerously hot.
Once in the canyon, bypass the first drop by traversing a slab on the right (LDC) and scramble back down on fairly smooth slabs. Continue down the easy canyon at first, then arrive at a larger drop with a long piece of old webbing. Rappelling this drop is awkward since it goes in steps, it's best just to hop down the first part, then friction slide down the narrow second part. Dealing with a rappel hand on the second part would be tough. Continue down canyon which is narrow and sustained. Even I had to turn sideways and couldn't rotate my body in this canyon and it leaned to the left for a good portion. There are at least 3 friction slide drops meaning you will want led protection. I like old blue jeans while others like knee pads. There is also one 12 meter rappel about 3/4 the way down off a large chalkstone about 7 feet above the canyon floor just as the long left leaning section ends. The section leading up to this rappel requires you to stem about 15 feet above the canyon in order to reach the anchor. A 30 meter rope is plenty for the single mandatory rappel. Continue as the canyon opens slightly and pass by the end of Miss Piggy which comes in from the right, continue over one more friction slide, then emerge into open terrain with cottonwoods and tall grasses and follow down the drainage until you can easily hike up to the right and follow the northwest scramble route out of Hog Canyon.
This canyon requires rappelling gear which includes a harness, belay device (ATC or Figure-8), locking carabiners, a 30 meter rope, leg protection (I like jeans), helmet and at least 2 quarts of water per person. If you have a large party this canyon can take a full half-day and with the approach and hike out you can expect a full day for this canyon however experienced canyoneers in small groups can do both Hog 1 and Hog 2 in one day with time to spare.
GREEN: Approach Hike - Class 1
RED: Lower Hog Canyon Main Drainage - Class 1 and 2
DARK BLUE: Hog 1 (Boss Hog) - ACA 3A II
LIGHT BLUE: Hog 2 - ACA 3A II
PURPLE: Hog 3 (Razorback) - ACA 3A II R
ORANGE: Northwest Exit - Class 3
YELLOW: Repeat Exit - Class 5.2
See Michael Kelsey's book Technical Canyoneering guide to the Colorado Plateau for a great description of the canyon.