Several years ago, I tried a loop hike down the Zion Narrows and up Orderville Gulch, but I got stuck in an unexpected deep plunge pool at the bottom of a chockstone about 1/3 to 1/2 the way up the gulch. I ended up having to bail down the Narrows and onto the shuttle. I've been anxious ever since to get all the way through Orderville.
Eros and I are starting to venture into more technical canyoneering, and Orderville is a great canyon to ease into simple rappels. It was nice to have Berkeley along with his climbing/canyoneering experience to make sure we didn't do anything stupid.
As we descended the canyon, I tried to recognize the chockstone and pool that stopped me a few years ago, but everything looked different. We didn't come across any pools more than waste deep, so the troublesome deep pool from years ago has since filled in with sand.
Here are some of the highlights:
|The dry, upper end of Orderville Gulch.|
|Eros works his way down rappel #1 in Orderville Gulch.|
|Midway through Orderville Gulch, the Navajo Sandstone taken on some nice red hues. This is also where groundwater begins to reach the surface, and a small stream develops.|
|Orderville Gulch ranks up there pretty high as one of the most colorful canyons on the Colorado Plateau.|
|Berkeley make short work of rappel #2 at "the Guillotine" in Orderville Gulch.|
|"The Guillotine". This unique double chockstone and pool best fits my memory of the problem pool that stopped my upward progress years ago. Back then, the pool was completely scoured out and the water was well over my head.|
|Don't call it cheating. Eros make good use of his shoes' "stealth rubber" while descending a slippery waterfall.|
|We began to "meet the masses" near the bottom of Orderville Gulch. This was easily the most people I've ever seen in the Narrows.|
|The Narrows exit.|