Sunday, October 20, 2013

Leprechaun Canyon

Leprechaun Canyon is the most popular of the Irish Canyons located in the North Wash area about 30 miles south of Hanksville.

Video courtesy of Jason Williams. Subscribe!

 If you're comfortable with squeezing, downclimbing, and awkward rappels off of cairn anchors, you might want to check this one out. Of the three forks, the East Fork is the easiest, and most scenic. The Middle and West Forks are extremely challenging with extensive sections of Mae West slot (sections so narrow you can't hike in the bottom forcing you to stem between the walls, often very high off the ground). So make sure you're dropping into the correct drainage. A few years back some guys dropped into the Middle Fork thinking they were in the East Fork and got stuck. One guy tried to climb out and fell from the rim to the canyon floor fracturing his skull. Luckily search and rescue got there in time to get him the medical attention he needed and save his life. So make sure you know where you're going

I get most of my beta from and I recommend you do the same however for this canyon I would change it up a little bit. Their beta says to take the green dotted route below to access the canyon, but I recommend taking it from the start. The GPS coordinates for my drop in point are 38.036912, -110.518734. It adds three rappels the longest being 25 feet, and is not more challenging than the rest of the canyon. Also you go through some really cool sections of slot that you would otherwise miss. 
From the trailhead hike up the canyon to where a side drainage enters from the left. Hike up the buttress between the side drainage and the main canyon and follow the ridge line up and around to your desired fork.

Adding some flare to the approach hike.

Overlooking the three forks.




 Not the safest way to defeat a pothole, but definitely more fun than getting wet.

 We almost stayed dry. There were two short pools after the technical section.
Turned out to be a swimmer.

Walking through the big subway section at the end. 
This and the kiddie narrows below are accessible to hikers. 

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