September 09, 2014

Orderville Canyon near the Narrows Zion National Park
It was quite difficult to wake up the following day as we were quite tired from going to a wedding to a plane to canyoneering in Zion with little sleep. We decided to change our schedule around and do birch hollow instead of spry canyon as this would be a long but not so difficult day and it will change up the scenery a bit too. We get shuttled up to the east rim and onto the birch hollow wash which started from a dirt road as a small infeeder and opened up considerably. We were passing beautiful pine trees and the cool morning air gave us a nice stroll down to the first 100ft rappel in birch hollow. Birch hollow is a 3AIII canyon based on the canyon rating system
First Rappel into Birch Hollow, The guy on the left did not bring any gear!?!?

 We were pretty high up in elevation as the rock layer gave evidence to our elevation. We found a group of four in front of is and we were able to by pass them as we had no choice but to come out of the narrows on this trip. The trip itself was not going to be strenuous like Behunin but came out to over 12 miles of rappelling and down canyon hiking with some plunge pools and slippery rocks. Every day we were presented with different challenges and today is no exception. We encounter a series of small drops upto 30ft so we set up a double line and pull the rope once we get to the bottom of each consecutive rappel.
Birch Hollow Canyon

 Eventually we come out into a wash and we are surrounded by beautiful pine trees and the top of orderville canyon can be seen.
Birch Hollow more raps await while we look at the top of Orderville Canyon

We walk up to the next rap and find a another deep rappel.
Birch Hollow canyon wash Utah

After dropping this rap we find that if we set up the 200ft rope as a double line, we would have short roped ourselves 6ft off of the ground.

So I told the next group above us to make sure they don't short rope themselves after pulling our single rope down with the pull cord. That was a beautiful drop.
Birch Hollow Canyon Utah

There were a series of 8 to 10 more rappels one after the next as we set the rappel drop and re set until we got to the last two raps.
Birch Hollow Canyon Utah

The canyons were a smooth meandering yellowish white color which was a bit different than the other canyons that we encountered previously.

Birch Hollow Canyon
. That was a lot of fun and a lot of rappelling!! There must have been up to 20 different rappels from 25 to 110ft. depending on where you anchored the rope. 

Birch Hollow Canyon Zion

We packed away out rap tools and started on our long but interesting hike through the 3BIII Orderville canyon and out the narrows. The sun was hot and the canyon walls would open up and close in at times giving way to the sun and shade which allowed us to cool down and heat back up again.

Orderville Canyon Zion National Park
 It must have been in the lower 70s in the canyon but the weather reported temps at 100 degrees in the open desert that day with clear sky's.

Orderville canyon heading towards the narrows Zion Utah
 We encounter two large choke stone boulder we had to rappel down to so we could continue our pursuit for the narrows.
 Furthermore, we wanted to make sure we caught the last trolly which left at 915 from the narrows, plus we didn't have any headlamps.

Orderville Canyon Zion National Park
We moved carefully but swiftly through the scalloped and fluted narrow gorge and as we continued down canyon the walls climbed higher and higher!!!

Orderville Canyon Zion

 It was amazing to see how high the wall got. It must have been almost 1000ft up when we got close to the narrows. I could see where we were on the map as the narrows were around the corner but the confluence was not going to be handed to us. We had to negotiate three plunge pools 
  I shuttled the packs as we made our way to the other side of the pools while the sun started to set over the canyon and the cool desert winds continued to chill our bodies.

Orderville Canyon

We continued on so we could stay warm as we scrambled around large boulders, waterfalls, and deep sections of the stream that was starting to turn into the river.  It was interesting to realize that we came from a super dry section of this canyon to a very wet and deep section.  I remember passing the water table at one point and noticed the stream turn into a flowing river.
Orderville Canyon

We worked our way through the remaining part of the canyon and passed another restriction along the way which got us wet once again.  Thankfully it was not too cold out and the it is the desert so we were able to start to dry pretty quickly.

Pools of water Orderville Canyon Zion National Park

We make a turn in a bend and started to hear people talking about how they don't want to continue on due to getting wet and all we could think about is civilization, narrows, and trolly!! WOOHOOO!! we made it to the orderville canyon and the zion narrows confluence.  We had people walking by us going in and out so knowing that, we knew we will be able to catch a trolly that will be able ot take us 6 miles back to our campsite.  nice!!!

Confluence of the Narrows and Orderville Canyon Zion
I tend to be inclined to avoid the tourists and the tourist locations but the Narrows was in fact an acception to that, along with knowing that they are not going to want to be left behind so we will be able to make it back

The Narrows was a very impressive place and the canyon walls reached high!!! Very High. I don't think I have ever seen canyon walls reach so high before and I was impressed at how large this place was.  There were a good amount of tourists coming in and out of the narrows so it was interesting a nice to see the casual strollers going through.  The amount of water and time it must have took to cut the Narrows must have from the last few ice ages and I keep finding myself fascinated with the artistic hand that water can have when given the right elements and opportunity.  Truly amazing. 
Narrows Zion National Park
We make it back to the trolly and again treat ourselves with a nice meal and rest for the next days canyoneering event.

Narrows Zion National Park

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