Personally, I am not a fan of spring conditions in the mountains and am currently hooked on canyons. Since I was meeting my friend from Durango at the Sandthrax campground and driving alone, I stopped and bagged some local county peaks in Grand Junction to break up the drive. 5239 outside of Grand Junction is a true gem.
I met Tony late Tuesday evening, found our camping spot, slept in and finally started hiking towards the top of Miss Piggy (Hog 4) around 9:00 AM. A good trail led us around the rim of the Hogs and we quickly found our starting point for Miss Piggy (N37.9835 W110.5225). We geared up and started heading down the v-shaped canyon.
Reaching the rim of the Hogs. Boss Hog in view.
Starting the v-shaped slot in Hog 4.
Down-climbing was enjoyable through the v-shaped section with 2 distinct difficult down-climbs before the rappels. The first down-climb was about 25 feet while the second one was around 15 feet. After the down-climbs we encountered our first rappel a few hundred feet further down canyon. We had to down-climb a short 10 foot section that was a bit tricky to get to the first rappel. Anchored off of a good chockstone, we did the first 60 foot rap.
Second interesting down-climb in Hog 4.
A down-climb in Hog 4. Well, sort of.
Tony on rap 1 in in Hog 4.
Working our way further down canyon we found our second 2 stage rappel of 90 feet. The deadman anchor was less than inspiring. After careful inspection, we started down and at the bottom of the rappel, we joined with Boss Hog (Hog 1) canyon. We enjoyed some good narrows in lower Boss Hog where the only real obstacle was a 30 foot elevator.
That's an inspiring anchor!
Tony starting rap 2 in Hog 4.
Finishing the second stage of rap 2 in Hog 4.
Narrows in lower Boss Hog (1).
Narrows in lower Boss Hog.
30 foot elevator slide.
Before we knew it, we were at the confluence of Hog 1 and 2. A steep slick rock exit between the two canyons made for a quick return to the top of the Hogs. The initial climbing moves on the exit are 5.0-5.2 friction for about 40 feet. We decided to pull out the short 30M rope to haul bags up since the climbing was a little exposed.
Climbing on the ridge between Hog 1 and Hog 2, the views were stunning. We quickly found our entry point for Hog 1 (N37.9855 W110.5186) and started down our next Hog adventure.
Looking at Hog 4 on our ascent for Boss Hog.
Enjoyable down-climbs led to our first rappel of about 20 feet anchored off a solid chockstone. Some could down-climb this short rap but the exposed gymnastic start, would make for a high penalty fall. Even starting the rappel was a bit tricky.
Starting Boss Hog.
Tricky start for rap in in Boss Hog.
Shortly after the first rappel, we encountered our second 2 stage, 45 foot rappel anchored off of a rock flake. I down-climbed the first stage and could almost down-climb the second stage. Personally, I think an anchor at the bottom of the first stage would make for a better option.
Tony finishing rap 2 in Boss Hog.
The real fun started after the second rappel. Steep chimney down-climbs and high stemming led us down canyon. Just my luck. At the bottom of one of the down-climbs, I found two freshly diseased ducks. Yuk. These ducks stank more than the dead cow I found a week prior in Repeater Jr Canyon.
As the slot narrowed, we were easily stemming 15-25 feet off of the canyon floor. Tony was not as excited as I was about the high stemming but I found it highly enjoyable. Plenty of high stemming later, we reached the 3rd 35 foot rappel anchored off of a large boulder. Tony was relieved but was starting to enjoy the stemming.
Let the high stemming begin.
View of high stemming.
More high stemming.
Looking back up at Tony.
Will this stemming end? 25 feet off the deck.
Tony on Rap 2 in Boss Hog.
Neat rap 2 in Boss Hog.
The canyon widened and we quickly reached our familiar junction with Hog 4. Knowing the canyon, we quickly moved and reached the junction of Hog 1 and Hog 2. After a quick break, we were on our way back up the ridge between Hog 1 and Hog 2.
View on our hike for Hog 2.
For our last canyon of the day, we hiked to the top of Hog 2. Due to the lack of beta, we had trouble locating the down-climb start to Hog 2. If we started from the head of Hog 2, we would have had a 125 foot rappel for which we didn't have enough rope. Carrying extra rope through Hog 4 and 1 just to do one rappel in Hog 2 wasn't worth it.
Scouting around, we found the down-climb entrance (N37.9842 W110.5176) which bypasses the 125 foot rappel. The joint which can be down-climbed can be found on the right side (looking down canyon) from the top of Hog 2. Some interesting down-climbs led to some scenic areas. A good chockstone anchor was in place for our first 60 foot, 2 stage rappel.
Interesting slot section in Hog 2.
Tony inspecting the rap 1 anchor in Hog 2.
Tony on rap 1, stage 2 in Hog 2.
A scenic slot section led to our 2nd rappel of 45 feet anchored off a chockstone. Being mostly a free rappel, it deposited us into an interesting hole. If the water flushed out the sand, that would be an interesting endeavor to overcome.
Tony on rap 1 in Hog 2.
Now for the interesting section. I down-climbed a short section and looked into a 20-30 foot pit. I couldn't tell if it continued so I carefully stemmed over the pit and saw light through a second pit. Tony was a little intimidated by the down-climb into the unknown, so I put him on a quick belay as he down-climbed.
Through the darkness, he reached the bottom. We couldn't figure out where the first pit went. The pit is probably a 30 foot keeper. Good thing we didn't go down that! Cleaning up my quick anchor, I carefully chimneyed the final 30 feet to the bottom of the canyon. I was told that the bottom held water but we got lucky and the bottom was bone dry. Heading out of the canyon, we intercepted our Hog 1/Hog 2 intersection. Too bad we didn't get an earlier start or we would have tried to to finish on Hog 3 (Razorback).
The dark slot finish. Do NOT go down the first pit.
Exit on Hog 2.
From the Hog 1/Hog 2 intersection, we continued down canyon and looked for our long exit hike back to the rim. We left the main Hog Canyon (N37.9761 W110.5200) heading south and started up a side canyon. With some minor class 3 scrambling, we were out of the canyon. Since 5322 was so close, I decided to do a quick cross country jog to bag the peak. Excellent views of the Henry Mountains from the top. I returned to car and we enjoyed a fun filled day of Hog adventuring.
Scenic exit hike.
And for those who don't know they like canyons yet, this will be cont: Hog 3 and Northwash Shorties.
Note: Due to GPS inaccuracies in canyons, this GPX should not be used for guided navigation.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.