September 09, 2014

The morning was windy and a bit cool as it swept a light chill across the surface of our tired bodies while getting ready for the day. I intentionally left my sweater at the campsite to get a bit more chilly before we started our hike up to the west rim trail and down behunin canyon.

Angels landing connector trail to the west rim and Behunin Canyon
We caught a early trolly that goes around the park that took us to the trailhead. The grotto trailhead was the best entry point to hike up the west rim as we had to hike up the trail to angels landing and continue to hike up, around, down, and back up a slab rock trail to the entry point of the 3BIII Behunin canyon.

Entry point into Behunin Canyon
 We got an early start as the heat would have made the hike a bit more challenging for us low landers so the cool wind gave us a nice breeze and a little bonus for our mentality. We took some breaks while carrying 25 lb packs up the angels landing and connector trail to the west rim and eventually made it to the entry point canyon. The slab rock face was a forth class slope so at times we found ourselves zig zagging on a 45 degree slope over 100ft up until we negotiated our way down the watercourse below. There were plants and some water pools to work around when we were in this wash canyon but after a half hour or so we went left and encountered a massive 550 ft dry fall slope with free hanging intervals. The heat started to intensify and a ravens old crackle echoed throughout the canyons eerie silence as we realized we were at the first rappel of behunin canyon! 
1st Rappel of Behunin Canyon
Some people seem to not care much for this canyon but I was rather impressed with how big this place was. I spotted the first two anchor points and also realize that first four 100 to 150 ft rappels were stationed in consecutative order one after another just to get to the bottom of the entrance to behunin, awesome!!! 

4th rappel in behunin canyon

The first rappel consisted of a 100ft drop down a steep slope to a ledge with a tree. We had to catwalk 50ft across this small ledge and clip into the bolts so we would not tumble down the first rap. I tied a pull line to the mainline and blocked the raps with a Biner and a clove hitch through out most of our raps. We rapped down the first drop, pulled the rope and threaded the rope through the next anchor in place. The 2nd rap was about 150ft down a slope and some free hanging sections. For the third rap, we had to clip in before getting off rope because the next 150ft drop was about a 30-45 degree slope than free hanging. This have us a new variation to what a tree hugger is and instantly became intimate with our oxygen bearing friends hanging over the edge.  We pulled the rope and rapped the third rappel into a pothole. The final rap was another 130 ft which brought us to the bottom and the beginning of behunin canyon.

4th Rappel in Behunin Canyon
I was impressed with this as we just dropped over 500ft already on 4 rappels!!! The sun was hot and our piraña's were hot from the heat of the sun and the rope. I tied on a French wrap above my descender with a mariners hitch and cord which worked out fantastically.
Finally at the base of beginning of Behunin Canyon
After we got down we continued down canyon and came up on 80 ft rappels into water and a couple of 100 footers which soaked us from head to toe. It was a good thing,  as it chilled us out a bit but the canyon didn't open up much until the end.

As we rapped down canyon, the canyon brought us to some amazing gorge views and narrows which was fantastic as we had solitude and a sense that this was for us to enjoy without the tourists.

We did not see any other canyoneers and no tourists would even be able to come close to where we were until the end where they could watch us on the last rap so we were on our own.
Behunin canyon's Narrow gorge watercourse
8th rappel from the bottom Behunin Canyon
We make it to rap 8 and successfully drop that one until we came to rap 9. This is where we ran into some challenges.

Canyon walls of Behunin Canyon
Rap 9 is infamous for sticking the rope which is where your rope can get stuck  due to various reasons. We decided to rig high on this 150ft drop into the last ledge of behunin and made sure we set the rope right so it wouldn't get stuck but as I started to tug on the rope it locked in place......,  we now have a stuck rope. It would not move for the life I us.
Rigging the final rappel in Behunin Canyon

We brought one frog system used in our vertical caving trips so I set that up and ended up ascending the rope to a ledge where I was attempting to negotiate the release of the rope. I could have climbed up with a tibloc and prussiks but I am glad I brought this setup as it made it efficient to climb and it had other contingency uses.

on the last ledge overlooking behunin canyons wash onto the grotto and emerald pools of Zion National Park
Finally I was able to get the rope and release it from the top for the final 160ft rap out into the emerald pools below us.

Adam Haydock Rappelling the last 160ft rappel in Behunin Canyon
The last rap was a 160ft free rappel down to the bottom. We both made it down and pulled the rope out the last anchor. Wow what an amazing experience that was!!! We had some excellent challenges to overcome and we had an absolute blast doing it! That canyon was awesome!!. We were a bit smoked from that canyon so we ended up going out for dinner and got a good nights sleep to get ready for the next days canyon.
out of behunin looking towards heaps canyon

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