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 Peak(s):  Slideanide Canyon - 5,080 feet
Arscenic Canyon - 5,000 feet
Constrychnine Canyon - 5,140 feet
 Post Date:  10/25/2011
 Date Climbed:   10/21/2011
 Posted By:  Furthermore

 We Picked Our Poison; Slots Near Hanksville.   


Slideanide Canyon 3A II
Arscenic Canyon 3A II
Constrychnine Canyon 3A II


October 21-22, 2011
Total ~11.6 Miles, 2,500 Gain
Trailhead: At a wash/camping area 6.1 miles up Utah 15210. 4WD recommended.


Trailhead directions: From Hanksville, drive south on Utah 95. Take a left .1-.2 miles past the 20 mile marker sign on Utah 95 onto BLM 15210. Drive 5.8 miles until the road T's just past an oil well. Take a left and drive another .3 miles to a low wide sandy wash. This is the trailhead with decent camping.

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It's good that the temperature was finally reasonable for some canyoneering in the desert. I needed a break from 13ers. My wife and I packed up and made the drive to the trailhead on Thursday the 20th, arriving just before sundown. Finding the exact start for these canyons was kind of tricky as there isn't a well established trailhead. Our plan for day one was to combine Slideanide and Arscenic Canyons saving Constrychnine Canyon for our second day. Both Slideanide and Arscenic required 1 60 M rope while Constrychnine required 2 60 M ropes.

We slept in and started hiking to Slideanide Canyon around 7:30 AM. From our camping spot in a small wash, we hiked down the wash until we intercepted the more prominent Arscenic Canyon wash. It was only a few hundred feet down this main wash before we started hiking northeast up another side wash towards the head of Slideanide Canyon. Once this smaller washed ended, we hiked up and over a small ridge where we could see the head of Slideanide.

Hiking towards Slideanide.
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Right off the bat was a ~75 foot rappel to start Slideanide. The webbing anchor around a boulder looked good and we were off. The canyon didn't quite slot up until we reached our second rappel. At first, it was a steep angling chimney and it appeared some people rappel from the top. Rappelling from the top is a bad idea since the rope appears to get stuck at a chokestone about 1/3rd of the way down. Someone had to cut their rope as a long section of rope was jammed in this chockstone. With a bit of work, I was able to free the old stuck rope from this loose chockstone and I just made a hand-line with this rope off of the top anchor. About 2/3rds of the way down this chimney was another chockstone with another anchor which the “new” handline, just barely, conveniently, reaches. I set up the rope for my wife who rappelled from this chockstone since the chimney becomes vertical. I figured it was going to be quicker to just down-climb this section so I tossed the rope down and down-climbed the last third of this chimney.

First rappel into Slideanide.
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First rappel into Slideanide.
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First rappel into Slideanide.
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Second rap 2/3rds of the way down a chimney in Slideanide. Can be down-climbed
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Down-climbing the chimney in Slideanide.
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Down-climbing the chimney in Slideanide.
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Continuing down canyon, were some fun down-climbs and chockstone climb overs. On our way down, we encountered two pools which were fairly tricky to avoid. Fortunately, this was the only water we encountered the entire trip. The canyon opened up and I thought the fun was about to end when we hit our third rappel down a dark corkscrew slot. To ensure an easy pull with the rope, as with most people, we did a 2 stage rappel on this drop. A webbing anchor around a boulder starts the first portion while a webbing anchor around a chockstone starts the second portion. There was plenty of room to comfortably pull and move the rope to the second portion of the drop. It was dark.

Down-climb somewhere in Slideanide.
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Little pool that was hard to bypass in Slideanide. One of only 2 pools the entire trip.
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Rappelling into the dark corkscrew slot in Slideanide.
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View half way down corkscrew slot in Slideanide.
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Finishing the final 2 stage rappel in Slideanide.
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Rappelling out of this third drop was unique as we started in a dark narrow slot and ended in a massive chamber. We pulled our rope, ate a snack and started our slog out. Hiking in the sun was uncomfortably hot. Once we intercepted the main canyon we hiked southwest towards the end of Arscenic and after finding the end of Arscenic, we hiked about 200 feet up Arscenic to a large dying Juniper tree. The trail out of the canyon starts at the Juniper tree and we followed cairns, very few of them, to a sweet arch that frames the Henry Mountains.

Good Chamber at the end of Slideanide.
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The arch.
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Climbing upward from the arch, we hit a final cliff band that didn't allow easy access to the top. We had to traverse west (east the direction we wanted to go, didn't go) about 300-500 feet at the base of this Page sandstone cliff until we found a weakness that allowed us to climb to the canyon rim. Once at the rim, we hiked the rim on a hard-to-follow trail to the mouth of Arsecnic. It was hot and we were looking forward to the shade of another slot.

Since Arsecnic only had 1 3 stage rappel, we just tied our 60 M rope to the webbing anchor which was around a large boulder on the right side of the drop and we did one long single rope rappel. This way we didn't have to carry our rope through the canyon. A 60 M rope is just barley long enough! We started our descent into Arsecnic at 12:30 PM. (If one chose to, they could do each stage as an individual rappel since there were webbing anchors around chockstones at the beginning of each stage. I would NOT recommend doing this as a single rappel and pull, as the pull would be incredibly hard and risky since the rope has plenty of chockstones to get jammed in.)

The third stage of the only rappel in Arscenic.
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Shortly after the rappel, we encountered an airy 10-15 foot down-climb. Fortunately, there was some webbing already in place. With many more down-climbs, none of which were too terribly tricky, we hit the end. I was bummed that this slot was so short. We arrived at our Juniper tree around 2:00 PM and took a nap for about 2 hours since we had no desire to hike up and out in the sweltering heat.

Good narrows in Arscenic.
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The hike out went much quicker since we knew the way and we returned to the head of Arscenic to retrieve our rope. We hiked up canyon, missed our wash turn off to the car, realized our mistake, hiked up another wash and found the car concluding a fine day.


Day 2: Constrychnine Canyon
~ 5.3 Miles, ~1,000 Gain.

The rim of Constrychnine.
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Since we only had one canyon on the agenda we slept in and got a late start around 8:30 AM. We hiked down our shallow wash and followed our path we took yesterday to the head of Slideanide and once at the head of Slideanide, we continued northeast up and over a small hill to the head of Constrychnine. From the lousy beta that I had, apparently we could have bypassed the first 90 foot rappel but never found the way. The first 90 foot rappel at the head was worth doing anyways.

The first 90-100 foot rappel in Constrychnine.
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The webbing looked good and we started our rappel into the head of the canyon. Since it appeared to be tight with 1 60 M rope, we used both of 60 M ropes for this first drop. It might be doable with one 60 M but we didn't want to push our luck. My wife went first, and I followed to a small ledge, adjusted the rope to make an easier pull and continued to the bottom. Unfortunately, my adjustment didn't work out and we put our best effort in pulling the rope down but the rope didn't budge. Great, I pulled out my jumars and jugged back up the rope. I climbed up and over the lip to find that our ropes had crossed and got jammed into a rut; a rut caused by rope pulls. I unjammed and untwisted the rope and made sure that it was going to be an “easy” pull. This anchor really should have another 3-5 feet of webbing so the link is much closer to the lip. Tons of extra drag.

The first 90-100 foot rappel in Constrychnine.
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The rappel was just as fun the second time as it was the first time and with some effort we were able to pull the rope. A joyful start. We slogged a bit down canyon where we came across the second really big drop, ~170-180 feet. It was amazing looking down at the terrain ahead as I set up the double 60 M rope rappel. It was a ton-o-fun.

Looking down canyon from the top of the second rappel in Constrychnine.
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Starting the 180 foot rappel into Constrychnine.
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Finishing the 180 foot rappel #2 in Constrychnine.
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Pulling our rope went easy and we continued down canyon to our third rappel. I think this could be down-climbed but I set up a rappel since there was an anchor already in place. It was a narrow rap for ~40-50 feet. We followed the slot with some down-climbs and then slogged a bit until we found our fourth rappel. This one, I thought was the coolest rappel of the trip. Someone had just placed a new anchor around a chockstone about 20 feet back from the lip of the rappel. Just before I started down, my wife noticed a much better anchor hiding in some chockstones above the lip. A much better pull without tearing up the sandstone at the lip. I cleaned up the new anchor and we rappelled ~50-60 feet off this hanging chockstone into a dark chamber. Very unique.

Narrows in Constrychnine.
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Starting the 4th rappel in Constrychnine.
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Fourth rappel in Constrychnine.
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Fourth rappel into dark slot in Constrychnine.
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At the bottom of this fourth rappel, was a nasty mud pit so we were careful not to rappel into it and pull our rope into it. We followed the dark slot until the canyon opened up again arriving at our fifth and final rappel.

Neat rock just prior to the fifth rappel in Constrychnine.
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It was a short 20 foot rappel into a nasty pool. Fortunately, I was able to set up a biner lock and we were able to do a short pendulum onto a ledge which avoided us and the rope going into the pool. We took off our harnesses and walked down a wide massive hall until we intercepted Slideanide. We followed our familiar tracks to the Juniper tree, the arch, and final Page sandstone cliff band. Once on top of the Page sandstone cliff, we followed a more established trail to the road just prior to the oil well. The trail petered out before the road. I retrieved the car and we headed back towards Moab for another few days of hard rock climbing. I personally thought Constrychnine was the best canyon. Arscenic would have been good if it was just a bit longer.

Fifth short rappel in Constrychnine.
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Fifth short rappel in Constrychnine.
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Nice tall wide narrows at the end of Constrychnine.
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
12ersRule


This.....     2013-07-29 12:29:11
looks amazing! Thanks for posting!


dude9478

Nice     2011-10-26 10:12:11
I was down in that area a couple weeks ago. How was Arscenic? Pretty difficult? It's on my to do list.


Furthermore


Arscenic     2011-10-26 10:39:43
Arscenic was probably the easiest of the three. After the rap, there is only one or two tricky down-climbs. Very scenic canyon.


mtgirl


Canyon eye candy     2011-10-26 14:59:16
Thanks for the canyoneering eye candy. I haven't gotten in my fall Utah trip to explore some canyons, and now you've just nudged me a bit ! It's an area of endless possibilities ! Besides BlueJohn, have you explored the Robbers Roost area much ?


Furthermore


Robbers Roost     2011-10-26 20:20:50
I haven't really explored Robbers Roost yet. There are several canyons that I am looking at doing. Are there any particularly good ones? Larry's, No Mans and Alcatraz are on the list.


mtgirl


Robbers Roost     2011-10-27 08:11:26
In Robbers Roost, I have only done BlueJohn (down the Main Fork, out the West Fork), Robbers Roost North Fork, and Horseshoe (which is just a stroll with really cool petroglyphs). Robbers Roost North Fork was really scenic...a few fun rappels, great narrows, and an upclimb out of the canyon that you would probably really enjoy. Larry's is on my short list. Oh, and you and your wife would love the canyons in Zion.....


Presto


Awesome ...     2011-10-27 16:56:13
I confess .. I'm a closet canyon freak. 8) I spend quite a bit of time on canyoneering websites. Thanks for posting. Happy canyoneering!



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