When we decided that we would be going to Zion for Labor Day, Blake reserved six permits for us, Dan, Kristin, Alison and Eric to canyoneer Pine Creek. We spent one night a week for the past three months learning and practicing to rappel. Blake was such a great teacher; he always made me feel calm and confident. One week, Blake, Dan and I went up Big Cottonwood in preparation for our 100 foot free rappel. This rappel was about 100 feet and had a very intimidating start. I was feeling pretty scared but Blake’s calm presence and encouragement helped me get down and after that I felt like I could accomplish any rappel. I was ready for Pine Creek.
The first rappel is about a 50 foot descent to a small sandy bowl. From this area we stayed on the rope and had a short walk to another rappel that is only about 20 feet. Blake did this rappel first and I followed him. He would always help me out from the bottom and tell me where to put my feet so they didn’t slip as much. Dan was also very helpful at the top; he was the safety checker. He would make sure we were connected to our belay device and harness correctly.
|Rappelling into the Cathedral Room.|
|Helping Kristin get off the rope in the deep water.|
After the Cathedral Room, there were a couple more rappels into more water. Most of the water that we encountered was waist deep. We did have one more swim in deep water that was through a very narrow part of the canyon. It was cool to be swimming through a slot canyon that was narrow enough to touch the walls on both sides. After this swim, we had one more short rappel into chest deep water water. After this rappel the canyon opened up and we finally saw the sun. We took a short break in this spot and warmed up and ate some treats.
|Looking ahead at the winding canyon.|
|Looking back to the slot canyon we swam through.|
|Taking a break in the sun and posing for some photos.|
|The final 100 foot rappel. Unbelievable.|
The second to last rappel was about 60 feet; it was a little bit of an awkward rappel. From here it is a very short walk to the last rappel. We were able to see a few people begin this descent, so that was very encouraging for us.
|The awkward second to last rappel.|
The final rappel is the longest and in my opinion the best. It is a 100 foot free rappel with the most beautiful view of the canyon. The beginning of this rappel is quite intimidating because you can look down and see the bottom 100 feet below you. We all sat down and inched our way off the rock to start the rappel. Once I was off the rock, I was no longer scared or intimidated. Dan went first so he could get some GoPro footage of all of us coming down. I also brought my nice camera so I could get some photos in this spot. Because Blake was leading the rest of the rappels there aren’t any photos of him coming down, so I was glad that I could take some photos of him doing his thing.