Party: Just me…
After a great weekend canyoning in the Stateline hills with a fun group of people, I left Klaus’ lakeside villa, hitting the road somewhat late. The part I was most anxious about on this particular trip was the road. The cars we had taken over the last couple of days had high clearance with big chunky tyres… today I was by myself in my trusty front-wheel drive Dodge Caravan (I really need to give it a name!).
I passed the casino and the now familiar “Road Closed” sign you need to drive around; through the tunnel and into the unknown. Hitting the first ditch at a sharp angle, I managed to place my wheels so that I didn’t scrape, but the fun didn’t end there! I had 6.4km of careful driving to go. Often I would have to jump out of the car and spend time removing rocks/boulders from the road to make it passable. And once or twice I had to farm rocks and build a kind of bridge over some of the deeper ruts. My seat-belt quickly became an annoyance, and having a fancy car that liked to make lots of beeping noises I was forced (maybe that is too strong a word choice?) to sit on top of my clipped buckle.
I had half expected to abandon my car and walk the road, but as it turned out I made it to the end and was soon ready to head out.
I started up the old mining road and quickly overheated and removed my shirt to cool down… maybe it was because I was comparing canyons here to Australia, but for some reason, I decided this was a great opportunity to try a canyon T2-Style. So that’s what I did. There would be no one around for me to worry about and there was little scrub to scratch my exposed skin.
Continuing up the road, it past through a narrow draw. Looking at it now, its amazing they used to get vehicles through there! I soon reached the entrance to what looked very much like a mine. There was a barbed wire fence around the entrance, but perhaps the greatest deterrent was giant pile of rubble that consisted of all the material that had collapsed from around the mouth… I passed over this quickly and explored around the mine which proved to be quite shallow.
Returning to the scorching heat I continued up a short ways before climbing up to the ridge top… we now skip most of the hour it took to get to the top and jump to the big horns I met there.These were the first once I had actually seen, though judging by the amount of droppings some must have nearly always had eyes on me.
Dropping down into the wash I reached the top of the first rap/abseil which – as could be expected – featured the pile of rocks as an anchor (I was beginning to feel better about these after they held up over the last few trips).
Looking down canyon, I couldn’t help but admire the parallel layering running down the hillside.
There were some nice rappels, but to be honest, I found this canyon more open and shorter than some of the others in the area, and therefore I wouldn’t rate it as high as Desperado or Turtle Tears. Though there were some fun down-climbs which I actually enjoy more than repelling 😉
Towards the middle of the canyon, it was nice to see a tree anchor.
By this point the harness was getting a little uncomfortable, but this might have more to do with the fact I was using my Blue Ice Choucas mountaineering harness… instead of one more suited to canyoning.
As I neared the final rappel I couldn’t believe I was already there! The beta advised 6-8hrs and it had only been about 3… I photo pfaffed for a bit before rapping down into the wash hitting an old road that led me back to my car.
Glad I didn’t need to break into my car with an antenna (how the canyon was named), I finished much earlier than I had expected and after eating, I sat around for a bit thinking about what to do… I got in contact with Dylan and Ellie. Several minutes later: Yay I had canyon company tomorrow!
Doing the canyon T2-Style was a fun experience and it certainly heightens your awareness of the surroundings. Try it out and you can make your own conclusion.
(Total Time ~3.5hrs)