Blue John Canyon
November 18th, 2010
7:30am- We left Provo, Utah going south on I-15 to Highway 6 toward Green River, Utah. We filled up the truck in Green River and went west on I-70 to the Highway 24 exit. We traveled south on Highway 24 about 24.5 miles (see photo 1) where there is a sign on the left to Horseshoe canyon (see photo 2).
11:00am- We traveled east for 25 miles on a dirt road (see photo 3) which led to a fork in the road with an information board and direction signs. We took the right fork and continued on for 6 miles to the West Blue John Canyon trailhead. We parked here next to a car from New Jersey.
12:00pm- We got our packs ready and started out on our hike through West Blue John Canyon (see photo 4). We carried a quad-copter that we used to take video aerials of the canyon (in video).
12:30pm- A half mile into our hike we encountered a 25 foot rappel (in video) and went through a short slot canyon (in video). After the slot canyon we hiked down a wide, sandy riverbed for a few miles.
1:00pm- As we walked down the wash we merged with the main Blue John Canyon and shortly after we merged with the East Blue John Canyon. We continued on until we reached the "Narrow" slot canyon entrance (in video). This slot canyon is only 200 yards long but very narrow, deep and twisty. Incredibly beautiful! This is where we met up with the guy from New Jersey who continued on through the slot canyon with us.
2:30pm- We hiked through the slot canyon to the accident site of Aron Ralston (see photo 5-7). This is a narrow canyon that requires some technical bouldering skills. This is where we took video with our Quad-copter (in video). This is a very quiet spot in the canyon. As you stand there looking at the rock that pinned Ralston for over 5 days you can only imagine what thoughts were going on in his mind. It is not a difficult place in the hike, just an unfortunate situation where a loose rock rolled perfectly to pin his arm against the wall.
3:00pm- The view behind the accident location is a narrow slot canyon. We continued on through the slot canyon which gets deeper and narrower. One area was dark enough that we needed our headlamps to get through. (see photo 8 and in video). One drop had a pool of water that we were able to scale around without getting wet. This was the only water we encountered. Eventually we came to Big Drop, a 70 foot cliff to the bottom of Horseshoe canyon. (see photos 9-10)
4:00pm- We did not go down Big Drop (70 ft rappel). We left the same way we came in. After we got out of the slot canyon we took one more aerial shot with the Quad-copter as we started back up the sandy wash. When we got to where the canyons merged we decided to climb up the side of the canyon and walk around the rim instead of continuing up the wash. We did this so we wouldn't have to climb the first rappel in the dark.
5:30pm- It got dark on us by the time we got up on top of the canyon and were walking along the rim. We had to use headlamps once again to finish out the hike. There was a beautiful sunset before the dark set in (in video).
7:30pm- We arrived at our truck, made dinner and drove back home. This made for a very long day. Next time we will go when it isn't so cold and we will camp so we can have a full day in the canyon.
DISCLAIMER: Blue John Canyon is in a very remote part of Utah. There are no services within 60 miles. You are 30+ miles from any paved highway. The canyon requires technical canyoneering skills. You need to have plenty of water, food and canyoneering gear.
Additional information on Canyonlands National Park and other southeastern Utah attractions can be obtained by contacting the following travel regions:
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