Frenchman Canyon (Nevada, USA)

Party: Nel, Tim & Gina, Holly, Carlos, Kevin, and Felix (author).
Photos: Nel, Felix.

I woke up early from the campground, and without much ado drove myself across Vegas, squinting most of the way as I headed into the rising sun. At the school meeting point there were brief introductions and after signing a waiver we were ready to go. We left most of the cars in Tim & Gina’s driveway a short way up the road at the end of the canyon as part of a car shuffle.

We took a couple of cars up Hwy 147 and soon began the arduous hike up a steep road I was happy not to be driving up! Despite the grade, we chatted amongst each other. There was an interesting mix of people, some who lived locally and others who where visiting the area.

After a couple of rests we reached a saddle and could see the beginning of the wash that led to the canyon. Soon we were at the top of the canyon with Vegas spread out before us. I was surprised to see two bolt plates and a sling ready to go – I didn’t think you were supposed to bolt in the canyons. Keven rigged the pitch, using a releasable 8 as a block (I don’t think I have seen it done like this before).

The first pitch was easily avoided, but we had plenty of time and I hadn’t rappelled/abseiled in a long time, so was not about to miss out!

After some more walking the canyon narrowed. We took turns rigging.

The canyon was quite dry with sad looking grass at the base of each pitch.

I think this was the third rap.

As we continued down the canyon a number of small downclimbs were encountered. I think it was the third rap that I rigged, and after belaying I went to inspect the curious sight of a rope hanging off the next anchor. Closer inspection revealed that they had left a stopper knot in the end which had become stuck at the ring. Perhaps the water at the bottom had deterred them from trying to scramble back up?

I slid down and after a brief pause started traversing around the pool. There were plenty of holds and I was soon across the stagnant green water. We used the rope as a handline in case anyone wanted to hold on. Everything went smoothly, though a bush colloquially named Velcro proved to be quite sticky!

Not much further on we spied the next drop. I was surprised to see a Dyneema sling attached to the two hangers via shiny carabiners with a third for the rope to go through. More canyon booty! I was quick to remove them and place my own sling through the anchors. Tim had a quick link at hand and we were soon ready to go!

We knew we were at the final pitch when a large amount of garbage could be seen below.

Once down, I went to have a quick look at a tent set up against one of the cliff walls. No one was inside, but it looked like it was still inhabited so I went back down where some of the others were picking up trash adding to what we had already collected above.

The final pitch
A tent set up beneath a small overhang.

It was a short hike back to the cars and it wasn’t long before Carlos went to take the drivers to their cars. And everyone went their separate way.
Maybe I will see some of them tomorrow as I was planing to do a trip through Box and Hidden Canyons.

0 Replies to “Frenchman Canyon (Nevada, USA)

    1. Yeah, not much vegetation. It would have been difficult to build anchors in a couple spots I reckon, though with the hangers present, we didn’t have to look too hard 😉
      But apart from different rock and the vegetation, its still canyoning – or rather canyoneering 😉

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