Choprock Canyon


Choprock Canyon is commonly regarded as one of the more physically challenging routes on the Colorado Plateau and I would certainly agree with this statement.   The price of admission is well worth the show.  The main feature of this canyon is that it is relentless.  Once you are in the narrows it does not stop.  It does not let up.  There seems to be no end in sight; and surely, once you drop in you are in it for hours upon hours.  Time begins to warp.  A minute turns into 10, an hour turns into 3.  It increases both in immensity and difficulty as you work your way thru countless downclimbs, slides, wedges, worms, swims, logjams, and the occasional rappel.  This goes on for the majority of the day without much intermission.  If there were to be any place in the world that was the bowels of the earth this may be it.   I have had the opportunity to drop this route twice now and both times were equally challenging even with a fast and competent crew.  Both times we were pushing daylight and it took the entirety of a day to complete from Fence Canyon.  Both times beginning at dawn.

This canyon gained a lethal reputation when two young men lost their lives due to hypothermia and eventual drowning as they failed to escape a major obstacle in this canyon; a difficult logjam wedged in a narrow section of canyon that is too narrow for a human to go through.  This is magnified by the fact that you must jump or slide into the pool and has a very difficult, nearly impossible lip to climb back up. The difficulty of this problem is highly dependent on water level and even in favorable conditions is an extremely difficult problem.  The tactic to overcome this was the same both times; take your smallest and lightest person along with the tallest and strongest person.  Send them into the pool but MAKE SURE you leave someone on the entry end in case they need to come back out.  This was the fatal mistake of the two men who were unable to escape the pool and ultimately drowned here.  The bigger person helps to push and move the smallest person up the narrow walls as they wedge and wiggle up until the walls separate more and it allows passage down canyon.  From there, bring a ladder/etrier/rope along with that smallest person who will then act as an anchor for the remaining team to use in aid of escape.  The rest of the canyon resumes its typical character of gnarlyness, before finally returning to the land of the living with a finale of a 100 foot free hanging drop.  Kiss the ground and each other as you have now survived one of the most difficult routes in the realm of canyoneering.

-> Choprock Canyon September 15, 2007 <-

-> Choprock Canyon March 28, 2011 <-


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