Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Don't Camp at the Permit Window / Echo Canyon

Adventure Report: Check out Adventure Reporter Eric Godfrey's latest canyoneering video and pull up a chair for a campfire story about why it's not a good idea to camp at Zion's permit window!

It’s been a busy month for me. In all of June I was able to only do a quick one day trip down to Zion. I took a buddy from work that had never been through a slot canyon before, down Echo Canyon and we both had a great time. Nothing too exciting happened though so here is the video:



As for the write up, I elected to tell a story from when I started Canyoneering. Before just jumping into a new sport I decided to get a little training to increase my chances of not dying and signed up for the American Canyoneering Association’s excellent three day course. The class taught me all the basics of setting up the ropes and I felt confident jumping into some easy slot canyons. I had arranged to meet up with a group two days after the class ended to give me a chance to go through a canyon with some more experienced guys, leaving Saturday open for whatever. There was another guy in our class that had some experience and he was meeting up with one of his rock climbing buddies from Salt Lake to do a canyon or two on the day I had nothing going on. He invited me to go with them and I of course accepted.

We drove to Cedar City to meet his friend then found a place to camp. By the time we ate some grub and got our plans together it was around 1:00 a.m. Now for those not familiar with Canyoneering in Zion National Park, they have a horrendously obnoxious permit system that requires you to stand in a long line in the morning hoping that you can descend the canyon you want that day. If it’s popular forget about getting a permit unless you get there the day before really early in the morning. We decided in order to ensure actually being able to get a permit one of us would get in line around 4:30 in the morning. As we settled in for some sleep, one guy suggested we just camp at the permit window since we will have to get up in a few hours to get in line anyway. We all agreed that was a good idea, even though we had heard your technically not supposed to. Whats the worst that can happen?

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