Sunday, March 16, 2014

Boltergeist Canyon

Check out this short sequential edit to give you a feel for the canyon. 
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Boltergeist is a fun but short canyon in the Silver Reef area about 15 miles north of Saint George, Utah. Take Oak Grove Road above Silver Reef as it winds west and then south. At the fork for the Oak Grove campground stay left. A few miles after that fork you'll pass through a private ranch. After passing through the ranch, take the third dirt road on the left. Park on the right after 100 yards. Walk southeast until you find the start of the canyon and start descending. 

If you take your time going through, it will probably take about three hours. If you're going for time you could probably do it with a small group in about an hour. There are three mandatory rappels with a possible fourth depending on your ability. The first drop you come to can be downclimbed with relative ease or you can rappel off a chockstone if you're more comfortable with that. Immediately following is a 40 foot rappel anchored off a tree, and immediately following that is a 40 foot rappel with an awkward start anchored off a chockstone. Both of those rappels may have knee to waist deep water at the bottom which can usually be avoided with some stemming. 

Hike a little ways further and you're at the last rappel. The first option which only requires one 60 meter rope is to rappel down 80 feet to the first big wide bench and easily slide/walk down the rest of the way. The second option is to bring two 50 meter ropes, tie them together, and rappel 150 feet (with a big horizontal jog in the middle) to the very bottom of the canyon. The second option seems a little silly to me personally, but it's up to you. 

Once at the bottom of the canyon turn left and hike upstream for a quarter mile or so past a couple waterfalls until you see a good spot to start hiking up the left side of the canyon (sometimes marked by a cairn). The trail is not well worn, but route finding to the top of the canyon is not difficult. Once at the top, follow the dirt road back to your car. 

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