Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Squeeze

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One of two natural bridges in The Squeeze

Potholes, potholes, potholes

Cool chokestone over one of the potholes

Map of the route

Potholes are the name of the game in this canyon.

It had just rained the day before we descended the canyon so everything was full of water to capacity. When one of us would get into a pothole, water would be pouring out the other side. 

Even under these conditions, the canyon was still challenging. I personally would not have wanted to bring anyone along who wasn't experienced. In dry conditions I imagine it would be quite a challenge. 

We started our day from the Hidden Splendor Airstrip and hiked through the Muddy River Gorge which was a beautiful hike. 

It added 2.5 miles onto the trip each way which may not be the best option if you're attempting this canyon mid summer. We each had two liters of water but could have used double that. The muddy river looks like a greyish brown paint so there was no pumping that. There was a small stream running from the exit of The Squeeze down to the muddy river which was mostly clear but I don't know if that is there all the time or only after it rains. 
The hike once you leave the river to the start of the canyon is long and very exposed (to the sun). It's not terribly steep but you will definitely feel it carrying all your gear uphill. We did this canyon the second week of July and didn't need wetsuits of any kind. I would recommend spring or fall however during which times you will undoubtedly need wetsuits. 

We did seven rappels in the canyon, but I've heard of groups doing as many as seventeen. 

We just set up a quick hand line for many of the drops as most were 10 feet or less. It seemed like every drop over five feet had a bolt placed above it barring a few natural anchors.

From the approach we used, our total time was about 13.5 hours. We were taking our time on the approach hike through the Muddy River Gorge, exploring the mine and such. 

We also took our time going through the canyon, testing our 
climbing skills by trying to stay out of as many potholes as possible. 
This is to say, it can be done faster. 


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Make sure you have the right gear for the current conditions and enjoy!

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