Zion: Spry Canyon

Categories: Zion

Spry Canyon is a hidden gem of a canyon right next to one of the busiest parts of the park. It’s a technical canyon that requires a permit and some skill in canyoneering. It’s also strenuous, with an initial 800 foot climb followed by 10 rappels that are part of a 1,900 foot descent. The approach is the same as that for climbing Mountain of the Sun, so if you want to see pictures of that section check out my blog post on that climb.

The first rappel is 165 feet and the last is a 90 foot overhang. Spry Canyon is almost completely unseen from any other place in the park but you can get a glimpse into it while you are driving up the switchbacks to the tunnel. It requires two cars, or hitchhiking. If hitchhiking it’s best to get that done in the morning before you are dirty and wet.

I finally found these petroglyphs on the third attempt. Fortunately Mike or Justin had a general location on their GPS. Now i know that in the past I had ascended on the other side of the wall where these are located, so I never came close to seeing tem. And they are not very visible in the first place.

Approaching the first rappel.

As I approached the edge I startled another group of bighorn sheep. The one on the right panicked and ran straight up the side of the mountain.

The first rappel is the longest at 165 feet but it’s also the least vertical.

Coming down the first rappel. I think if you have any good climbing skills you might be able to get up out of here.

I did spry with my local friend Alan, and even before we started we ran into another group of hikers doing the same canyon. Eventually we decided to team up with Michael and Justin and their kids Isaiah and J.D.. They had done the canyon before and teaming up allowed us to get the next set of ropes rigged up while people were still using the previous set. All in all it took at least 7 hours, which was surprising considering the whole hike is less than 4 miles. But it was a fantastic day with great scenery and good weather.

After the first long descent there was quite a bit of walking to the next ledge. Twin Brothers towered over this part of the canyon.

Alan descending an alternate route and Justin downclimbing in a wetsuit.

Walking along this nice wall to the next drop off.

Frogs really liked Isaiah. He seemed to have one on him every time he got out of the water.

Alan exhibiting his chimneying and stemming skills. He did better than me but neither of us got wet.

The next rap was just a few dozen feet from the last.

Mount Spry on the left. I’d like to go there but we didn’t have time at all on this day.

Alan descending

Wandering off from the drainage I was able to follow this overhanging ledge for quite some distance.

The ledge turned into a common star shaped alcove.

A little more traversal lead to this  unique view of Bridge Mountain.

The two kids approach a dark pit.

The dark slot from above.

The dark slot from below.

This slot was dark. On the right is an additional pit where the waterfall from above must hit the opposite wall during floods.

There was a pillar that had either eroded out of slipped down, dividing the slot in half.

J.D. on the left and Isiah on the right. Both of these guys are capable canyoneers.

Alan rigs up and descends yet again.

Alan rigs up and descends.

In the bottom of a large sandy arena between two raps.

This cool looking choke point took a really long time for us to all get down. There was water straight below that the kids had a hard time getting out of. Here Michael traverses a bit to avoid a watery descent.

Alan and I decided to bypass the narrow canyon and go from here all the way down to the top of the trees.

The last rappel in Spry is about even in altitude with the highest switchback of the road to the tunnel.

This rappel sort of marked the end of Spry Canyon.

Once you enter Lower Pine Creek canyon it’s a long descent down endless large boulders.

J.D. gave me a run for my money descending the long boulder chute. Here we were taking one last break waiting for the others.

On the edge of the last rappel. It was a nice shady spot overlooking the canyon.

The last rappel is a 90 foot overhang above Lower Pine Creek.

A really nice column I have never seen before.

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