November 11, 2018

View canyon rating for Lomatium

For the final day of the trip we had gotten Fiery Furnace permits and intended to descend Lomatium and Krill canyons.

Ready to start exploring the Fiery Furnace

We went the scenic route - taking the Surprise Arch detour before heading to Lomatium.

Standing below Surprise Arch

After a few wrong turns - it had been a couple of years since I was here last - we eventually made our way to the up climb to get to the top of the canyon.

One of the many climbs to get up to the top of the fins

We made it to the top and were greeted with scenic views and terrible wind. Seriously, it was so cold up at the top.

Looking down into the Fiery Furnace from near the top of Lomatium
The rest of the group freezing behind me

A little more winding and we made it to the top of the drainage. The first half of Lomatium consists of some really cool and difficult down climbs. From each drop it looks like it will be a rappel. Upon inspection, however, the way to down climb reveals itself.

Me at the top of the drainage

The first down climb is a steep ramp to a crack. The scariest part is the ramp and once into the crack each movement give the canyoneer more confidence. Some nail-biting moments and then we exit the crack and continue on.

Transition out of the crack on the first major down climb

Next comes the rabbit hole down climb - so named because sometimes there is a hole where canyoneers can climb through to get to the bottom of the climb. Today, however, it was not possible so we were forced to climb near a chockstone. I provided a top rope belay and each person successfully climbed down the obstacle.

Final major down climb by the rabbit hole

Next there was another small crack down climb with a dead tree at the bottom that helps people avoid some mud. After that there is a bit of hiking and we're at the top of the big rappel with a view of Abbey Arch.

Underneath Abbey Arch with the canyon dropping behind me

I had heard a couple of years ago some discussion on placing bolts at the top of the rappel. Having rappelled from the arch before it was illegal and from a tree before the bolts were placed, I agree that the bolts are the best option of the three and I'm glad they were placed.

We rappelled down, pulled the ropes, and continued towards the final rappel. At the bottom were some hikers enjoying a bit of sun while having lunch. One of them asked if they could take our picture as we rappelled down. It was very cute and they seemed to enjoy themselves a lot. The hiker told us he had been in the Furnace many times and this was the first time he was able to catch people on the final rappel.

Last rappel of Lomatium
Skull Arch

After the final rappel we decided to skip Krill and instead explore the south end of the Furnace for a while before heading out. I was actually really glad for that opportunity because there were a bunch of really cool places I had forgotten about.

Exploring up one of the side canyons

Great trip, great people. I'm glad I was able to visit such a beautiful and unique place with them and hope we can get through Krill soon.

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