Snoqualmie South Fork

August 6, 2021

View canyon rating for South Fork Snoqualmie

I took a trip up to the Pacific Northwest to take a swift water canyoneering course with Get In The Wild.

Day 1

Day 1 was mostly a ground school. The other students and myself were a little more experienced than a normal introduction to canyoneering course so we glossed over a lot of it.

A couple of the highlights were that we practiced ascending and descending with friction hitches and mechanical ascenders. I hadn't used friction hitches in a while so it was good practice to move up and down with those. I had also never tried descending with a toothed mechanical ascender. It was a terrible experience and I absolutely hated it.

We finished things really early that day and so we spent the last few hours going over jumps and slides. This was one of the highlights of the trip and I'll go over it more on Day 2.

Day 2

Ground school again in the morning. We went over swift water hazards, rigging, rappelling, and locking off while on rappel. The swift water hazards were all new to me and it was great to finally be able to learn about this. I'll update the website soon with more accurate information regarding water hazards and swift water features.

After that we went back into South Fork Snoqualmie!

Our sky on the approach. I find it funny that in the Colorado Plateau if you see even a little cloud you worry and in the PNW if you see even a little blue sky you cheer.
Scouting the drop in point to decide if the water is too high to descend. We had been in here the day before and it looked slightly higher but not enough to be a worry.
Practicing our first meat anchor
Zipping packs down. Standard zipline procedure is to clip a carabiner on the top of the pack and leave it there for the duration of the canyon. I have historically hated this because the carabiner always hits me in the head when I put the pack on or do any awkward down climbing. The lead instructor suggested clipping the carabiner into an additional loop in case the main loop fails but I also noticed that when I do this it doesn't hit me in the head anymore. I will do this in the future in canyons when we are doing lots of zipping.
Rigging for our one and only rappel of the day. I might have a better picture of the rigging on some of the other days. It was really weird and I have never seen it before. It was a contingency redirect using a figure 8 rappel device with an ultra-general lock off. The lead instructor called it an ADS (Any Device System). Let's see if I can describe it.
  • Rappel line is threaded through the rapide like always.
  • Carabiner is clipped into the same rapide and then a figure 8 device below that. The rope must be above the carabiner so it doesn't get pinched between the carabiner and the rapide.
  • For the lock off the rope wraps back up and around the rappel side and the big hole of the 8. I've heard type of lock off called the pop-and-lock. After this you wrap the rope around the skinny part of the 8, kind of like the extra half-wrap on a compact secure. Then you take a bight and put it through the big hole of the 8. Finally you use that bight to tie a mule/overhand.
This rappel was intentionally rigged a few feet above the water and we were encouraged to let go early and fall in. Oh this is the first person down posing while being lowered.
View from below
I believe this is a variation of the defensive swimming position called the sleeping swimming position
One of the many slides in the canyon

Those were the first two days. Next day is Hall Creek.

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