Caving in Wyoming.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
3.5 days1426 miles driven
8 miles in kayaks
2000 ft portaged
9 miles hiked
1.5 miles in Poe Canyon
4 pot shots across the monster
8 sandtrap anchors
4 pieces of webbing
1 spider cave
1 core shot
1 broken potshot
and a dead goat in a hole
Poe canyon is an extremely dangerous place, it wants to kill you. If you can't throw potshots 45ft on flat ground, partner stand, climb v4, hike like a crazy person, ascend multiple lines, batman a rope, jumar on unknown anchors, freesolo 5.8, use a gps, swim, set a sandtrap fast,and drill bolts DO NOT GO INTO POE. Even if you can do all of these things you probably shouldn't go into Poe. Poe wants to kill you and it will not let up. There are few bolts, and some of the ones that are there are shitty. The sandtrap is often your only real option.
Here's Leigh kayaking to the Bullfrog Hall's Creek Cutoff.
Wrong turn into some flooded tamarisk.
The three of us at a place we called Beaver City, the ponds were welcome
because we were able to walk in the water for a good half mile.
Here's some nice clear water further upstream.
This cool lizard rested in the shade with us for a while.
Leigh takes a break at the campsite with Poe in the background,
it's the canyon just right of the tree behind her.
It was a long hot walk to camp and we were all too happy to rest in the shade.
Getting dinner is A0.
Blah Blah Blah I need to add some shots from the video here since I didn't take any pictures...
Bypass those potholes, there'll be enough later to get your attention.
Some narrows, some holes, some sandtrap rappels, spidercave, the snake, and then BAM!
This thing is legend, it's the single most technically difficult aspect of the canyon and the one from which it gets it's name, Poe you see is named after the Pit and the Pendulum. The Monster is the Pit. And what a pit it is, the biggest keeper I'd ever seen, dwarfing everything we've seen so far. This thing makes the keeper in the Quandary look like the sort of place you'd let children play. It's pretty well impossible to take a picture of it since the canyon slots into it, but it's about 20 ft across, and maybe 30 ft deep, overhanging pretty well all the way around, and the opposite side is protected by this nasty 12 foot flat slab. To get across you have two hard options, you can either stem up about 10 ft above the slot and throw a few potshots about 40 ft followed by ascending the line on a Bachman or you can stem up and start hooking, follow some scary looking hook holes in soft rock to a bolt, tension traverse to another bolt and finally pendulum to the ledge. Personally I'd recommend the potshots, but make sure somebody can hook, even Adam took several tries to sink the first potshot.
Here it should be noted that Imlay potshots should be reinforced on the seams; one of ours blew so we put rocks in it... We had extras, but you'd be screwed if a couple blew apart like this.
The monster is serious serious business, it took us about an hour to pass and we had put some serious effort and thought into it. MAKE NO MISTAKE YOU COULD GET STUCK HERE, and rescue is a long way away.
The cairn anchor I built by the monster, I don't know what the ethic is on these...
This was easier than the sandtrap since sand had to be ferried.
Adam jugging out of the monster, big and dark down here.
This is the view from the bottom taken in three tilted shots, the last looking straight up.
They left me in the monster pothole without a rope at all.
Adam making one of his daring leaps.
Leigh in the only swim we found.
At the next drop after this swim we encountered a really marginal bolt and a sandtrap placement I didn't trust. So I drilled a bolt, but due to really soft rock even with a 1/4 in guide hole my 3/8 hole was too big for the sleeve on my 3/8 bolt to fit. I hadn't anticipated this, so I suggest that anyone doing this canyon bring a 1/2 in and 7/16 in bolt to try to fill that hole... I really wish I had done a better job.
Alternatively I have a sandtrap theory that might work, but needs testing since the other time I tried it we couldn't get it to pull.
Rapping off my poorly placed bolt.
The rap off of a marginal bolt and my own farked up one goes into a really big intimidating pothole, makes the monster look small potatoes, but has a V3 way out. Alternatively a partner stand. Then you go into a sandy room and then...
We found the last keeper, a really nasty hole that you can't seem to see the bottom of. I finally did see the bottom when we climbed to the wart described by others, it's about 30 maybe 35 ft to the water. The damn wart is super sketchy and should not be used! To pass the last keeper one can either toss potshots or climb to near the wart and drop them; and then pass the keeper directly. Nobody should rap on the wart!! There's a nice little chute to carry a potshot into a pothole with a good lip, so you might only need to get one or two across. Once past this it's just a couple slab rappels to the ground, no idea how the party that ghosted managed the last rappel.
Then it's a really ugly bushwhack out, lots and lots of poison ivy out here. Cut to the slabs on the left as soon as reasonable.
So this happened too, which made the last 200 foot rappel into the trees really exciting.
If you look closely you can see a droplet of water inside the battery case of the GPS which went for a swim, works like a champ still. Go Garmin.
This rope saw it's last trip, we left the other end on a bolt on the last rappel.
Adam's got chewed on a bit too.
Leigh's old reverso is now only good for wall decoration.