PNW Hall Creek

August 7, 2021


If you haven't already, check out the previous days' trip report where we descended South Fork Snoqualmie.

View canyon rating for Hall Creek

By day three all of us students and the instructors were accustomed to one another and so we cut the morning chatter short and went straight to Hall Creek.

I was the only person who didn't suit up at the beginning and the only person who brought a rain jacket for the approach. Consequently, I really learned these two lessons on the approach of this canyon.

  • If the weather isn't hot and the approach is less than about 1.5 miles, wear the wetsuit on the approach.
  • Don't bother with a rain jacket because you'll sweat a ton and you'll be just as wet on the inside as you are on the outside.

After the approach and gearing up, we took a look at the first drop of the canyon. This place was bolted to death. I was initially questioning the ethics and as usual there was a good explanation that makes lots of sense in a swift water context. There were bolts for low, medium, and high flows. There were also bolts to set up a traverse line. And this is apparently a SAR training canyon so I assume they placed additional bolts to suit their needs.

Our instructors set up the traverse line and went over clipping in - short safety tether clips into both lines and the long one on the bottom line (picture is slightly incorrect) with the gates facing away from the rock so they don't get scraped.
Bottom belay is done the same in the PNW as it is in the Colorado Plateau
So is stuffing a rope bag
It was mind-boggling how slippery this canyon was. There could be a 15 degree slope and we would all have to crab walk or crawl to safely traverse. This is real slickrock.
Another mind-boggling thing were these anchors. Two appropriately spaced bolts with steel rings, no chains, and no webbing. More American Death Triangle than EARNEST. I don't think anyone knew the exact reason they were all like this but here are some speculations:
  • SAR practices with them this way and we're just using their bolts for not the intended purpose
  • They used to regularly have webbing but would get ripped off in flooding events and become trash later in the canyon. So no one uses webbing anymore.
  • Having chains thrash around during floods damages the rock
One of the better rappels in the canyon. I gave up on trying to stand and just started sliding half-way down.

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