LOWER WATERHOLES CANYON, PAGE ARIZONA

June 28, 2017


Peter Buschbacher descending the big drop in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
Waterholes canyon is a famous tributary in the North Arizona region near the city of Page.
Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
The drainage created some beautiful narrows and commiting 600ft drop over a cliff that continues to drop to the colorado river. 

Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
You must get permits from the Navajo Nation recreational center in page to visit both upper and lower waterholes canyon.

Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
Upper waterholes canyon requires a separate permit and is a non technical hike through some really nice narrows and beautiful desert.
Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
Lower waterholes canyon requires a team of canyoneers to be competent for a 4BIII canyon and in addition, bring a pack raft to float down the Colorado to Lee's ferry, which is where you want to leave a car.
Chris, Daniel, and Peter going down a chimney climb down in  in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
This is your shuttle car ( don't leave the keys at the top car or you will have to hitch hike....Chris :) )
Chris, Daniel, and Peter in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
I drove up the night before and parked my car at the trail heads top to wait for the remaining members to show up for the trip down waterholes.
Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona

I woke up to the sun rising over the horizon and cooked up a great breakfast, relaxed and ever fell back asleep before Daniel, Chris, Gokcen, and peter showed up.

Daniel Martin coming down a rap in waterholes canyon
Daniel peeled into the trailhead and soon after we started our descent into water holes canyon.
Chris, Daniel, and Peter in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
The canyon was a nice wavy fluted sandstone with some interesting swirls and fascinating strata layers.
Chris, Daniel, and Peter after the big drop in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
We started to drop through the first few raps and made it over to the first series of down climbs.
Chris, Daniel, and Peter in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
After a few more drops the canyon started to get deeper and the walls started to tower.
gokhen descending lower waterholes canyon.
We uncounted a few drops and some interesting down climbs until we got to the nasty water passage.
pack rafting out the colorado river, arizona

The water is indeed pretty retched but we all jumped into the green slime decaying matter and swam across the pool until we got to the start of the real technical portion.

Chris, Daniel, and Peter in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
At the top we could see the canyons washed out bottom which included over 700ft of descent to get to but the following drops are what make this canyon, waterholes canyon.


The first rap is 90feet to a table top where the large segment is located.

The top of the edge of the earth in waterholes canyon, arizona
Now the three drops to follow include the famous "edge of the earth" drop which is right at 310ft. We had a 330ft rope and rigged from the bitch perch at the edge of the earth and we had between 5 and 10ft of rope on the bottom.

Chris, Daniel, and Peter in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
The three segments are as follows:

Chris, Daniel, and Peter in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
I used a 200ft rope on the first drop and had over 100ft in the bag when I got into the crack passage.
Daniel being, Daniel in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
The crack passage can fit two comfortable and can be made to fit three people.

Chris, Daniel, and Peter in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
The next drop is right around 15-20ft that takes you down the first piece of the drop but gives you better access to the "edge of the Earth" rap anchors. 

All you need to do is to clip in to the bolts and change over to the next rap station.


The 310ft drop is a fantastic smooth ride down the red sandstone and an excellent place to pull the rope with out too much trouble. Just make sure you do not get the rope into the final segment of the crack

once we were all down we worked our way down a few more raps and a final 90ft rap to a inferno of heat and a mile hike out to the Colorado river.

Once we got into the Colorado river I ran into the water and didn't realize how cold it actually was!!

My feet went from burning hot to freezing cold pretty quickly. I could only stay in the water a few minutes before the cold temps chilled the body.

daniel descending down the edge of the earth in waterholes canyon.

We had a four mile pack raft down the Colorado river which was a highlight for us.

Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
I recommend bringing a water filter so you can drink right out of the river as you are taken down with the current to lees ferry.

Chris, Daniel, and Peter in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
The shoreline looked like it could be traversed if the occasion is deemed necessary due to a deflating pack raft or any other incident of that nature.

Chris descending as peter prepares for a belay in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
After about an hour we made it to lees ferry and portaged our rafts for the wait to get the shuttle car.
At the head of the Colorado river Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona
What a fantastic canyon this was and one that I highly recommend for any canyoneer. 

Chris, Daniel, and Peter about to pack raft out in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona



pack rafting out the Colorado river




Chris descending in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona




Peter in Lower Waterholes canyon, Arizona






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