B attempting to defy gravity.

This week is going to be the trip of the year. Brandon and I have been toying with the idea for a few months now. The agenda called for 9 days in Southern Utah checking out the canyons in Escalante and surroundings. It would all be new territory for me. Neither Brandon or I have really any experience in the technical canyons of the Escalante, but luckily Dave and Penny stepped in and invited us to tag along on their adventures. Perfect.

The tough thing about trips with lots of people is trying to get a good day in while everyone is traveling. We were coming from Salt Lake, Doug from New Mexico, Penny from Colorado, Dave from Wyoming, and Malia from Torrey. Some wouldn’t be able to make it for Saturday’s canyon, so we settled on Zero G on our way to Escalante. The plan was to meet up with Penny on Saturday, and then rendezvous with the rest of the crew that night or Monday morning. B had a few friends in town that wanted in as well, but they could only stay for Saturday. Dan and Emily made the trek down from Ogden to Moab, picked up Natalie, and then over the to the Swell.

I’d yet to see this canyon, B hasn’t done any canyons in the swell, it was one of the first canyons the Ogden crew had ever been in, and we’d never met Penny before. I was pleasantly surprised when everything seemed to go so smoothly.

Penny leading the troops down into the canyon bottom. Natalie, Brandon, Emily, and Penny (from right to left). Two Dan’s not pictured.
Cool little natural bridge before the canyon gets fun. There are two of these. Shane calls them “Tinky” and “Winky,” after his favorite character from “Teletubbies.”

Zero Gravity is a pretty popular canyon. Since it is so close to Salt Lake, it sees a lot of people. Not sure why it has taken me so long to check it out, as most really seem to enjoy it. It makes a perfect half day canyon for those crappy travel days. Easy approach, no ropes needed (maybe a handline?) and plenty of fun little obstacles. Sounded just about right for our group full of unknowns.

Turns out, the canyon is a good ol’ fashioned romp. The newbies got some skin scraped off, a few got some nice jumps in, B got a chance to bath, we struggled out of a pothole, and saw some new territory.

The ladies gettin’ wet.
Penny enjoying the always enjoyable canyon water.
Emily and Natalie working a small downclimb.
Emily getting her first taste of some skinny slot canyon stemming. Lot’s of bare skin to lose…
The cooler, more handsome and, as we would learn at the final downclimb, more fragrant Dan.
Lots of shoulder wide slot in Zero G. Nice warmup before the spicier potholes.
The first “keeper” in Zero G. Probably will partner assist out of this one, but it can be fairly easily climbed with some stemming.
Penny handlining into the second keeper.
Dan and Penny negotiating the second keeper. This one isn’t a big deal.
The scene between the two keepers. It was required to struggle up this one alone, no help. Ok, it wasn’t required, but I’d rather take pictures than lend a helping hand. B enjoying the view.
Fun little downclimb into the next pothole.
Natalie escaping from the pothole section.
Penny enjoying the exit hallway.
Zero G, taking Emily’s breath away.

Dan likes what he sees.



Most of the crew negotiating another downclimb and skinny section. Nice light in here.
B demonstrates why you shouldn’t take a pig through here. Chokestone above his head is the last obstacle.
If you ain’t skinny, you better go up and above the chokestone.
The slot releases. Very beautiful grotto down here.

Ugly Dan making a splash. (Photo by Emily)
Cool Dan going for weightlessness.

By about 4 in the afternoon, we were back at the cars, enjoying the fantastic weather. Penny headed off to Escalante to meet up with Doug, and the rest of us kicked back for awhile at the trail head. Shortly before sunset, we packed up and headed our separate ways. Hat tip to Dan, Emily, and Natalie for making it down for the day. Fantastic new canyon with lots of new people, doesn’t get much better than that.