Broken bones in Granary Canyon

Friday night Katie, Kyle, Steve and myself packed up and headed down to Moab do do some canyoneering in Granary Canyon. We got to where we thought we were supposed to be, set up camp and settled in for a pretty cold night. Just before bed Katie and I tried for a few shots of the stars. It was too cold to really take the time to get a good shot. But here are the two I thought looked the best.

Notice the cool star trails and the airplane trail in this one.

Saturday morning we woke up early to hit the canyon. We were a little bit lost and found that we had camped on this little peninsula with 400' cliffs 30' in 3 directions from the car. Kind of a surprise to wake up to. But we found our way to the head of the canyon with some help from a GPS app. 

We came to the head of the canyon and decided not to rappel in at the 50ish foot drop. Instead we hiked about 100 yards down canyon to a 200' scree pile and just scrambled down into the canyon. After a few easy downclimbs and a frozen solid pot hole, we came to the first rappel (pictured above), about 25-30 feet from the floor, but it had a little landing about 6' off the ground. We got down with no problem and continued down canyon a little ways.

We then came to a little drop of about 6 or 7 foot overhang with another frozen pool at the bottom. In order to avoid this pool Kyle jumped to the left onto a small mound of sand. Steve shortly followed suit. But right after Steve landed we could tell he had done something to his ankle. He then told us he had heard two pops in his right ankle when he landed and his left ankle was feeling only a little better than his right. After seeing the swelling it was apparent we needed to get out of the canyon, but getting out the bottom wasn't going to be an option. Luckily me and Katie were still on top of the little drop, so I ran back about 20 feet to a big tree and rigged a fixed line we could use to get back up. I went down and rigged Steve up for ascent and then climbed back up the drop using Prussik loops and a little help from Kyle. Then i rigged a 3 to 1 haul system just in case. Steve was able to ascend using his left foot with no problem. I then left Katie and Kyle to climb up on their own and I went to scout out the 25-30 footer for a way back up. The rest of the group showed up soon after I had looked around a bit. Kyle spotted a route up a dome and onto a little sandy shelf with a tree growing on it. The first handhold was well above my head, but with a good partner assist from Kyle I was able to get to it. Using as much friction I could generate on the sandstone with my body I climbed up to the tree. The shelf was about a foot wide and consisted of dried clay and sand, so it was very flaky and soft. But after brushing some off and climbing through the tree and sliding down a little chute under another tree I was at the top of the first rappel. Steve was able to ascend this one on his own as well. 

Here is Kyle at the top of the rappel.

Katie and I at the top of the rappel coiling up some accessory cord we used to hold kneepads to Steves knees. The next obstacle was the 200' scree pile. To climb this safely I atteched a 30' piece of webbing to my harness and the other side to Steves. I would go up ahead and scout out the easiest route and then anchor myself in so I could provide a belay for Steve as he crawled out. Kyle was climbing out right behind Steve to provide support as well. After we got to the top Kyle piggy backed Steve back to the car with incredible speed and we were at the Moab hospital within 30 minutes of arriving at the car.

Hanging out in the waiting room, we met a lot of interesting people. Turns out Steve's right ankle was broken in two places and his left ankle was sprained. I cannot believe he did as much crawling and climbing as he did with two bum ankles. It was pretty impressive.

We then enjoyed an incredible burger at Milt's and then headed home.

Here is a map showing exactly where we went.


Post a Comment