North Wash March 2019

March 16, 2019

Near the end of 2018/2019's long winter, canyoneering season has officially kicked off. Wow it was cold - we ended up abandoning our original plans and treated the weekend as if it were still winter.


View canyon rating for Arscenic

We decided on descending a couple of the Poison Springs canyons. Each of us got to descend at least one new canyon, so that was good. Arscenic was the first canyon.

We arrived at the trailhead and spoke with a group who had done it the day prior. They said there was one unavoidable section of ankle-deep water and a couple other places where some tricky maneuvering would avoid the rest. The challenge to stay dry was on!

Now is a good time to mention the first rule of canyoneering: Thou shalt not get injured trying to avoid water. Anyway, on to the rappel.

Starting the rappel

That first rappel can be broken up into a few smaller rappels or done as one long rappel. We chose to leave one long rope at the top that made it all the way down but still broke up the rappel into three parts. That way we could stop and make fun of each other through the entirety of the canyon including the rappel, rather than just when we were hiking.

Finishing up the second rappel section
Me standing under a cresting wave. It crashed down on me right after taking the picture and I got all sandy but didn't take pictures of that.
Starting the final part of the rappel

After finishing the rappel we moved down the canyon and hit our first water obstacle. Randy easily bridged over it and helped the rest of us across. We were very appreciative of his efforts and I dubbed him "The Hero of Arscenic". The title didn't catch on.

Stemming over what might have been the mandatory water

After that we were treated to the scenic portion of the canyon. The lighting was just spectacular - bright white walls up top that gradually changed color to a deep orange and then maroon the farther down they go.

Enjoying a dark corkscrew section
More stemming over water

As always, the slot had to end. We had one more stop on our way back to the cars, though.

Arscenic Arch
Arscenic canyon with Henry Mountains

With all the time spent avoiding water and fooling around, we probably didn't set any speed records. But we did tie the record for "most fun ever had in Arscenic" that day.


View canyon rating for Constrychnine

Lunch, bit of chatting, then Constrychnine. What about pictures? None were post-worthy but you can see them all, plus a couple from the Shillelaghs the next day.

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