Monday, July 07, 2014

Zion: Jenny Peak and Little Jenny Peak

This is my 500th post, so I thought I'd indulge myself and reflect on the past.

Many years ago I hiked Jenny Peak and Little Jenny Peak on the east side of Zion NP.  Jenny Peak is marked on the USGS topo maps as peak 6310.  This google map is centered on it.  Little Jenny Peak is farther south, right near the cliffs above Parunuweap Canyon.  I hiked that area a lot from 2005 through 2007, but I haven't hiked it since.

Here is an old post I wrote in 2007.  It has a link to an annotated Google map I created with popup photos.  That was before I carried a GPS receiver that could export my track, so the route was crudely drawn from memory.

If you're tempted to hike this area, then I should warn you...

WARNING 1:  Jenny Peak is now off-limits to hikers.  Several years ago the park service established a research area that encloses Jenny Peak and that area is off-limits to hikers.   My hikes in this area predate the closure.  Summitpost also indicates that it is closed to hikers.  They even mention a sign that was not there when I hiked the area. 

The research area is marked in bright green on Map D of the Zion Backcountry Management Plan on this NPS page.  Jenny is in the green zone, but Little Jenny is not.  The easiest legal route to Little Jenny would be via Gifford Canyon.

I don't suggest breaking any rules or laws.  Check with the rangers at the visitor center.  

WARNING 2: This route is dangerous and difficult.  It includes steep class 4 slickrock and a lot of route finding.  I'll describe my route and show some photos here for the historical record.

My route begins at a turnout on highway 9 sized for a single car, down a trail to Clear Creek below and then heads south down a canyon.  In 10 minutes you reach a really hard part.  I know that other hikers use different routes up the hills on the left side of the canyon.  I just walk right up the steep slickrock hill.

This hill is very steep, but only in short sections.  It is steeper than the hill from Canyon Overlook up to the East Temple Saddle.  It is not quite as steep as the south ridge of Lost Peak.  Like all such hills, coming down is harder than going up.  On one hike I chose to take an alternate route down adding 45 minutes and requiring bushwacking down a very steep tree covered hill (or an easy rappel down a 50 foot rock face if I had a rope with me).  This is the view north, toward Progeny Peak, from partway up the hill.

After getting up that hill, there's a surprisingly easy way to ascend the slickrock to the west and get to Jenny Peak.  Pine trees mark a spot where you can begin a long traverse north along a natural shelf in the sandstone.  In a few places, that shelf gets narrow and kinda disappears, but then resumes.  This shot looks back down toward the pine trees at the beginning of that ramp.

Do not try this traverse if you're afraid of heights.  There's a huge drop on your right.

The hard part is reaching the pine trees.  It requires about 50 feet of bushwacking.  The Zion BC map I linked to above shows that the traverse would cross the research area boundary.

At the end of the traverse, you're at the base of a series of slickrock bowls.  Just walk up them any way you like and head up and around the north end of the peaks.

Here's the route shown on a photo I took from the top of Progeny Peak.  

Here's the route shown on a photo I took from the top of the hill directly east of Jenny Peak.

Here are some of my photos from around the summit of Jenny Peak.

This one looks south zooming in on the direction I was headed.

Here's the southwest face of the hill with the twin peaks (looking northeast).  That's steeper than it looks.  Each time I hiked it I found myself traversing, using the natural sandstone inclines.

Approaching Little Jenny.

And finally, Parunuweap Canyon from the top of Little Jenny.  I'm sorry my photography skills aren't a match for Joe Braun and others.  But I still think it's a great view.

Here's a shot of my Magellan GPS map.  This particular hike was to Little Jenny.  You can see that it skirts the top of Jenny.  I'd hiked to the top of Jenny Peak the previous summer in 2006.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Zion: The Triplets and The Fin

I hiked a loop on the south side of Highway 9 to get a good view of several remote peaks that I might hike in the future: The Triplets and The Fin.  I've seen this area several times from the ridge below Nippletop and it looked like a fun hike.  It was.  Here's the Summitpost page for The Triplets, and 13er Girl has a great post about hiking them all.  Here is a google earth image with my route as tracked by my Garmin fenix GPS watch - looking south.

Last summer I even hiked up from the highway to be certain that the way down was hikable.  That's important because I've learned the hard way that it only takes a 10 foot cliff to stop me.  And the southern side of Clear Creek is mostly cliffs.

I started by hiking up Cockeye Falls along the route I normally take to Lost Peak.  Then after reaching the slickrock area just northeast of Lost Peak I turned east to cross the canyon.  The Triplets are in view at the end of the canyon.

Here's a shot of Lost Peak and then looking east over toward the Triplets.

This is the head of the canyon where I crossed to the east.  It took me about 35 minutes to get here.

Hiking to the top of a small hill gave me a great view of the area.  Looking south toward the Triplets.

And The Fin.

The next photo looks north.  To return to the road, I just aimed for the left side of South Ariel Peak.

The next shots were taken while walking along that path.

I chose to descend a steep section by walking down a chute/pinch filled with trees.  There was plenty of things for solid footing and no bushwacking needed.

I didn't come down the way I'd planned.  I took a route farther east.  Based on my previous recon, it would have been easier to walk to the west a bit after descending the chute.  Then it would have been mostly slickrock to the creek bed below.  As it was, you can see that I was stopped by a couple cliffs until I found a route to the bottom.

Here are several annotated photos to show the area because most people are probably unfamilar with that part of the park.  I suspect it doesn't see a lot of hikers.  My route is crudely marked in yellow.  My planned descent route is in blue - I didn't take that route.  Still, the hike was almost entirely class 2.

These are old photos taken from the base of Lost Peak.

Next is an old photo taken from the Nippletop ridge.

And one taken from the Nippletop summit.

This one is taken from the top of the ridge east of Many Pools canyon.

And finally, one taken from the summit of South Ariel Peak.

I think I'm ready to try hiking these peaks.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Zion: Ridge East of Many Pools Canyon

On a recent trip to Zion NP, I explored the ridge east of the Many Pools hike I described in the previous post. 

I entered from the canyon to the east of Many Pools.  Advanced hikers can easily combine this with a hike of Many Pools by hiking up/down the slickrock on the east side of Many Pools canyon.    First I explored the area for possible routes up to the back side of South Ariel Peak.  This is visible in the image of my route in Google Earth.  

You can see that it's quite steep there.

Then I walked up an inviting sandstone slope to the ridge.

The next photos looks south from the top of the ridge and shows in the distance (left to right) Nippletop, The Fin, The Triplets, and Lost Peak.

I encountered a small group of 5 bighorn sheep.  They kept their distance as I descended.

Later, I came upon a group of 7 bighorn sheep.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Zion: Many Pools Hike

Here's a nice hike that's fun for anybody; from the family with small kids, to the advanced slickrock junkie.  I learned of the Many Pools hike from Joe Braun's web site and from this new book of Zion hikes (which is even sold in the Zion NP Visitor Center).

The hike starts with an unmarked trail leaving the highway and dropping down into a wide canyon.

From there you can explore the canyon, walking as far as you like.  As you walk up the slickrock, you'll come across many small pools; hence the name.  I hiked this in late May and half the pools were dry.  I'm sure all the pools are dry later in the summer.

Some of the pools had tadpoles in them.

Some had frogs.  Maybe they're toads.  I know nothing about these things.

This is an easy hike.

A little further up, there is a large shaded spot under a rock outcropping.  This is a perfect place for a rest and a snack.  I marked the approximate location of this with a red circle on the map above.

In the late afternoon there would be much less shade.

If you have more time, you can continue up the canyon.  I went far enough to leave the slickrock and found some pleasant shade in the trees.  Joe says it's possible to reach the plateau above if you keep going, but I turned around.  I'll try that some other day.