January 22, 2024


It continues to amaze me when I look up at canyon walls and think " what if there is a nice canyon back in there". 

I don't know why others haven't ventured back into this desert region except for a group that wants to keep the canyons quiet. 

I get it.  We don't want the desert to be destroyed, we don't want people leaving trash or placing bolts in canyon drainages and we all want to do our part to be ambassadors of our lands. 

So I can see how leaving a lack of information on canyons would keep most people away. I also see the theory of inclusion.  An opportunity to enjoy even more of an activity cannoneers love, while taking new opportunities to treat the lands with respect, keeping canyon drainages clean, and practicing safe and responsible canyoneering. 

I also think there is no right answer. If human beings impact ground than, No human impact sounds like the best.  Plus these drainages are "self cleaning", to an extent. the rains come and wash away debris into the river. that is the mere design of these drainages anyway, water found weaknesses in the rock and carved its way downhill. 

WE are left with a conundrum to either hide precious places or allow humans to walk on the lands, either for scientific research, mining resources, sport recreational activity, etc...  I think the answer between hiding and allowing access is in the middle. 

The answer is in the culture. Our ethos to bolt or no to bolt are quite different than European canyons.  When comparing bolting / do not bolt practices with canyoneering or sport climbing activities, we would find an abundance of "steel rusting away on outside mountain cliffs" which is accepted.  Bolts are no accepted in canyoneering. The use of webbing and replacing webbing is accepted but not accepted as a means to provide protection for climbing routes. 

I like the idea of no bolts in canyons and practice religiously practice a no bolting policy when canyoneering.  yet, we are using and producing more webbing which does create more trash.  This particular canyon is short, most of the dry falls you can downclimb.  The first rap we ghosted to ensure nobody will find evidence of a canyoneering route. descriptions are a bit vague, and the big rap is 320 ft.  We brought a 330 and we had 10 ft on the ground.  This is one piece unknown that is not going to be experienced by following groups which might take a bit of the "fun" out of the research, ( yes did extensive research to estimate rope length and build contingencies into our plan), so you don't have to. Not everyone shares my view but now you get to experience more great canyons within this range.  You can even float go up a break and down Black Jack Canyon, float again to AZ springs and hike out in a day called "Black Jack Magic".  This info is available to instill trust into the community's present and future.  Do your part to treat these places how the first descent crews and we would like,  its up to you to turn the page towards better canyoneering practices. 

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