Still stinky. Still awesome.

Rise and shine, fruitcake. It’s time to party.

Zero G was the perfect appetizer. We were ready for a full-meal now. Saturday night we decided to make a quick run by the ranger station at Goblin Valley and see if we could wrangle up some another person for Sunday in the Squeeze. Nate is one of the park rangers, and a very talented canyoneer. We knocked, we asked, he came. Took him about 35 seconds to think about it, load his truck, and leave.

I wanted to try a little variation on the canyon, as I had just done it two weeks before. Last time, we approached from Hidden Splendor. This time, I wanted to try and do it from the Factory Butte side. Nate tried to tell us the roads sucked, but I didn’t believe him.

He was right. Those roads suck. Especially at night. Even more so when Nate drives 40 miles an hour in front of you, and the dust clouds the track. Might as well be driving blindfolded. At least we had the ranger with us, and he knew the roads well. In fact, if he weren’t there, we woulda been in some trouble. The Muddy flowed HUGE a week or so earlier, and tore up a ton of road on the Goblin Valley side of the river. There was monstrous sand and mud traps that I would’ve tried to drive right through had Nate not seen them earlier and known they would swallow my Xterra. Seeing the devastation, I’d be willing to bet that road won’t be able to cross the Muddy for awhile. There is at least a 1/2 mile of road that was under water, and is now impassable.

The Muddy with flow. Much different scene than two weeks before, when it was completely bone dry.

The drive from Goblin Valley to the Muddy takes around an hour. To Hidden Splendor, it takes maybe an hour and fifteen. The approach from the Muddy is pretty flat and easy, to the base of the Moroni Slopes, and took us around 45 minutes. So, I’d say it is quicker to get to the Squeeze from that side then it is from the Airstrip. But, the Gorge is pretty fantastic for an approach hike, and I’d have to say I favor the Hidden Splendor approach.

Man, that looks like fun. I’d love to get on a motorbike and head into a wilderness study area and just tear the place up. Giddy-up!
Some more motorbike damage on the Moroni Slopes.
Looking down into Seger’s Window Canyon.
Note of warning: don’t step on or near these guys. They don’t mess around. On the Moroni Slopes.
Hmm… Those look like stormclouds. Factory Butte is to the right. Henry’s in the background.
The beautiful view down into the Squeeze. Such a wild geological formation. And it’s even better inside.

Rumor had it, the area had been hit pretty good by some rainfall in the last few weeks. I expected this would mean the place was full and fresh. The Muddy had decent flow, and I assumed that was a good sign.

False. It had not filled at all. The water was slightly less putrid than before, and maybe a foot to three feet lower in places. Just goes to show how localized these storms can be. Still, this canyon is a goodie.

Ironically, there was a front moving in from the west as we climbed the slopes, and it looked to have some moisture with it. We watched it carefully, trying to decide if it would produce. By the time we dropped it, the sky looked pretty clear, and we decided to go for it, but we would move very efficiently just to be sure.


Nate on the first rappel into the canyon proper.
B making his entrance.
The pothole of life. Two snakes, a spider, and a nice frog.
We sent B in by himself on this one. It is the first real significant pothole. Nice form, eh?
Look at that boiling mess of organic debris, unrefined petroleum, and frothing foam awaiting us.
The partner assist. Most of these drops can be downclimbed pretty easily (despite the bolts) but the murky water makes it hard to see how deep the water is, and more importantly, if the landing is safe.
More hauntivirus water. Seriously, the stuff was black as crude oil in some potholes.
Rinsing off after a rappel into “clean” water.
Check out that bridge. The Squeeze has a few of them. Absolutely amazing stuff.


B handlines down into a dry pothole. This can be partner assisted from above and below.
More of the same. Nate negotiating some potholes, while we cheer him on.
Brandon and myself, under another bridge. This one is even better.
The big two stage rappel near the end of the technical keepers.
Nate on rappel. Notice the beautiful sunshine on the rock.

The canyon was surprisingly easier the second time through. We were able to downclimb and handline pretty much everything, except the big rappels. Brandon and Nate made quick work of any trouble, and I just coasted along for the ride. We did run into some trouble near the end that gave my heartbeat a quick jolt. After the 50 foot rappel down the shale fault with all sorts of nasty edges (near the end) it started raining. Nothing too serious, but still… So, we started moving. By the time the canyon opens up wide before the last two little rappels, it was pouring rain. There were fantastic waterfalls coming over the edges of the walls in every direction. I was cursing the other two to get their asses running. They both seemed to think it was a mystical experience, and wanted to just take it all in for a minute. It was pretty funny, I’m yelling, and the other two are basically just laughing and gawking at the scene unfolding before us. In retrospect, it was pretty impressive. I was just comforted knowing the last few rappels were only minutes away, and our risk was pretty minimal. The rain lasted five minutes, and then it was clear again. Crazy.

Of course, I put my camera in my keg at this point, so I didn’t get any pictures. Cursed expensive electronics! What’s more, I broke my camera the next day in a wet pothole…

Even after a second lap through, the Squeeze is still very high on my list of great canyons. Even better to see it with new people who solve problems differently. What I thought was a 10 or 12 hour canyon became a 7 or 8 hour canyon. Very good stuff.

No wonder they call it the Muddy.