Zion: Stevensworth Peak

Categories: Zion

Somewhere in Parunuweap Canyon (which is entirely off limits) are some notable ruins under an alcove. I have never seen any evidence of an alcove during my trips to the rim, but i’ve been far from everywhere. I decided looking over the curved lip of Stevens Wash might be an interesting possibility. It looked like an overhang at one point, and there was a nearby alcove above the wash that looked interesting on Google Earth. I decided that if i threw in Stevensworth Peak I could try to make a loop to the normal Hepworth Wash route, where I had not been in over 20 years. So, a new area I had never seen, a new peak, and a return to a route I had not travelled in several decades sounded like a worthwhile day.

I did the typical route up Gifford Canyon out to the rim but did not see anything of interest, in terms of alcoves. The one that I had seen on Earth turned out to be much smaller than it looked from space. Fortunately I was easily able to get up Stevensworth Peak and the walk along the ridge top was spectacular. Getting off was even easier than the route I took up. In fact, the only place I had any issues at all that day was the downclimb from the side of Destination Peak into the upper areas of Gifford Canyon. First I tried to climb up too soon and had to go back down. But the downclimb had more exposure than I remember, and requires some care to avoid falling.

All in all it was a great day. Stevensworth is definitely “worth” the effort. There’s virtually nothing on the internet about it, so enjoy the pictures!

After climbing out of Gifford I had a nice break through a flat pinyon grove.

The saddle south of Roof Peak

It was winter and there was water flowing.

The forest broke up into slick rock.

I approached a lip that looked steep, possibly a cliff that would turn me back.

This spectacular basin of slickrock was easier to get down than it looks, thanks to cracks and small ledges.

Looking back up the basin wall.

Not far beyond the bottom of the basin it became woody again, briefly.

I followed the sandy wash all the way to the rim, where it pours over the edge here in the center.

I looked over the rim in several places and was kinda surprised there was not even a pool or anything at the bottom. It also wasn’t as high as I was expecting.

After I was satisfied with exploring my first set of goals I headed up Stevensworth Peak. I found a brushy shoot that worked well.

Looking back at the route I had come from. A lot of fun stuff over there.

From the ridgetop looking towards the cliffs above Parunuweap.

Gifford Peak and Hepworth Peak.

The other side of Stevensworth where Stevens Wash empties out.

I headed north along the top of the mountain. This is looking south. On the left you can see the bushy notch I climbed up.

Like any good hike in Zion this one led to more future adventures. I had never seen this wall up very closely and it looks possible, though far from certain. On the other side is one of the least seen canyons in the park.

Looking up Hepworth Wash towards a distant Three Patriarchs.

The West Temple, G2 and Bridge Mountain.

Looking at a really nice broad dome south of the summit.

This crazy panorama shows half a dozen of the highest peaks in East Zion. From left to right is an unnamed peak, The West Temple, G2, Bridge Mountain, the Three Patriarchs, The East Temple, part of Destination Peak, Gifford Peak, Hepworth Peak, and Roof Peak on the far right. That’s a lot!

I can’t believe how easy it was to get off Stevensworth. I had been a little concerned because I was going down a different way than I went up. It was actually harder to push through the forest so I could get here, to the exit canyon.

Beneath Gifford Peak looking at Stevensworth. It’s more of a wall than a peak.

I had forgotten about an awkward but short little area where it almost slots up. It’s neat because the higher wall is sort of metallic. A while past that you must exit the canyon via steep rock slopes.

Looking back down near the top of the slopes.

Destination Peak. I still need to do that one.

Finally done with climbing for the day, it was downhill into all too familiar territory.

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