User | mjlafon

Tick List

4 trip Chaffin Ranch Cold Water Geyser - San Rafael Desert
Date: 04/28/2023
This is a geologic oddity worth checking out! Weston, Carson, and I camped here overnight so got some good intel on the current eruption schedule. The geyser is going off every 6-8 hours. The peak eruption height is about 20 ft with some spurts reaching 30 ft. This lasts about 8 minutes and then erupts at a smaller height for about two hours. If you arrive and the surrounding area is completely wet you probably missed it. If you see gurgling water and bubbles coming from the opening an eruption is coming within an hour or less. The first eruption, Weston and I stayed up and saw it finally erupt around midnight after waiting since about 6 pm. It was worth the wait. We then saw it erupt around 9 am the next morning. It's so strange seeing a cold water geyser. Was definitely the highlight of the trip.
3 trip The Great Gallery - Horseshoe Canyon
Date: 04/28/2023
Was completely dry this time around. The farther up the canyon we went some natural water seeps started appearing. The hike felt much faster this time however it still took around 6 hours to complete including a really long lunch/viewing break at the Great Gallery. Went with Weston and Carson. There was some rumors of a mountain lion in the canyon but we never spotted it.
1 trip Alcatraz Canyon - Robbers Roost
Date: 04/27/2023
Once again had a blast! This really is one of the best canyons in the Roost and one of the best campspots around. Did this with Weston and Carson. Still seemed pretty straight forward and easy. Not as tight as everyone makes it out to be. I did wear a heavy hoodie and knee pads under my pants this time which helped immensely. Would recommend doing that from now on for these tighter canyons. Had some water but it didn't detract from the experience. Pot hole rappel was deeper than last time, which was tricky to jump out of.
1 trip North Fork of Robbers Roost - White Roost
Date: 04/26/2023
This is such a great canyon. It seemed shorter the second time around and I was a little disappointed it ended so soon. Felt like mostly hiking. One of the middle rappels is actually a little tricky to start so this might not be the best canyon for a rank beginner, but could probably make it work. Once again did the early exit.
3 trip Moonshine Wash - San Rafael Desert
Date: 10/27/2021
We went down the main fork and up the West Fork. It rained the night before and there was a considerable amount of water in both forks. It was waist deep in the main fork and full swimming going up the west fork. I think the climb out of the west fork was a little more advanced than Ryan makes it out to be in his description. You need some stemming skills to get over the final chockstone obstacle. The canyon was really pretty and had really cool narrow slots but was more climbing than a hike trying to avoid the water. Car to car it took 5 hours. I would call this a climbing canyoneering mission, definitely not a hike.
3 trip The Great Gallery - Horseshoe Canyon
Date: 10/26/2021
Really amazing canyon with world class pictrographs. I've seen a lot of Indian artwork and this was one of the largest and best panels I've seen. There was some slight graffiti but nothing too bad. It rained the night before and the river was completely flooded. We waited for the water to drop and then waded through a dozen river crossings. It was fun to hike barefoot for most of the journey.....just like our ancestors that left the panels. The canyon was really pretty and deep and the cottonwood trees were fully changed and bright yellow! The hike out is not very hard up the old cow road. Took 6 hours but we waited for 2 hours for the water to come down enough to cross. Will come back for sure!
1 trip No Mans Canyon - Robbers Roost
Date: 10/25/2021
Had thigh deep water in some of the potholes and rappel pools. The last rappel weirded me out. There is a 50' rappel and then a 100' rappel. I would say this is only doable as a two stager. The 50' rappel was bolted, however the most solid bolt was missing a hanger and the other bolt was pretty loose. There wasn't anything to build a backup anchor with and the pothole you are in was so shallow it wouldn't have made much difference anyways. We backed up the first down with a meat anchor but then I got to rappel on the single loose bolt. The 100' rappel was fine....good deadman with backups. If you are worried about the exit climb out, don't be......somebody literally built stone switchbacks where the man made steps were! It rained and flooded the Roost later that night so the anchors and conditions we experienced have probably changed for the worse. Overall the canyon was really pretty. There was some climbing which pretty easily defeated. It is pretty long with the exit hike which is kind of tricky to find. There were really neat iron or calcite mineralizations in the canyon. Really cool deep slot sections with interesting sinuous shaped ceilings. Took 6.5 hrs car to car.
1 trip Little Bull Canyon - White Roost
Date: 10/24/2021
I didn't care for this one......was very tight. It's very tight at foot level so moving down canyon is very tedious. The main rappel was off a chockstone that you have to stem over to. If you go too low you will get stuck which is what happened to us. The rope setup and start was pretty challenging. There isn't a good way to back up this rappel and my confidence in the basketball size chockstone was pretty low. Made for a hair raising decent. Was completely dry, however it rained and flooded the Roost two days later so it might have some water now. Probably took about 3.5 hours.
1 trip East / West Fork of Big Spring Canyon - High Spur
Date: 05/04/2021
This canyon has it all: rappels, down climbing, great scenic slot sections. We did the West Fork and Ryan’s advanced route and had a blast. We rappelled the second pothole. The potholes would be more challenging if full of water...the canyon was completely dry on our outing. This was one of the more technical canyons we did in the big springs area. It was similar to some of the other tighter canyons in other parts of the roost. I really enjoyed the sinuous canyon walls and the arches down in the slot. This was equally as pretty and interesting has high Spur. Total time was 2.5 hrs.
1 trip High Spur Canyon - High Spur
Date: 05/03/2021
What a great canyon! It was incredibly scenic. Reminded me of Antelope canyon. Lots of narrow sections but not squeezy. There were a handful of sections where the canyon opened up scattered amongst the tight sections. We found the canyon to be completely dry. This canyon had a lot of character and was always beautiful. A true top tier canyon. The only rappel was a cool free hanger into a giant amphitheater. Finding the exit was easy and we even found the space cow petroglyph on the quick hike back to the car. Total time was 4.5 hours using a car shuttle.
1 trip Northwest Fork of Big Spring Canyon - High Spur
Date: 05/02/2021
This section of canyons is a haul to get To, but well worth it. It was really tight and had many undercut features I had not seen before. There are many long sections of very scenic tight slots. The canyon had some shallow standing water that could be stemmed with enough skill. Half of the crew had dry feet at the end and half were wet. Total time was 4 hrs with a couple quick breaks.
1 trip Three Canyon - San Rafael Desert
Date: 05/01/2021
This canyon is really fun. It’s more of a hike with just one long rappel at the start. The canyon is wide the whole way down. There are numerous springs with running water. This made the canyon so green and with the blooming flowers it felt like a desert oasis. We took a swim in one of the deeper pools and the water was very clear and felt great. It’s worth the extra time to go down to the Green River. I recognized an old campsite I used from when I floated the Green. It may be hard to get to the river bank during spring runoff because the river backs up into the canyon. We used a hand line we set to exit the canyon. It is fairly exposed and would have been a little uncomfortable without it. Total time was 7 hrs with two long swim breaks and a car shuttle.
1 trip Blarney Canyon - North Wash
Date: 12/01/2020
We did the Left Fork. I thought the hike up to the rim was pretty scenic and fun. Once at the top there are some big rappels that are easy. Lot's of narrow downclimbing on this one with some awkward moves but all doable. I liked some of the deeper sections where the light would creep down at funny angles. Once we got through the narrow bits Weston and Carson had a little wrestling match. I think Weston won! It took us 3 hours car to car including the wrestling match.
1 trip3 trip Leprechaun Canyon - North Wash
Date: 11/30/2020
I really liked Leprechaun. We went down the Left Fork and then climbed up the Middle Fork as far as we could. The Left Fork had some nice rappels but was mostly downclimbing and stemming. The further you go the better it got. There was a really cool dark section at the end and a subway like exit which was cool. We ate lunch and then climbed up the Middle Fork. Carson started to get pretty claustrophobic as it got really tight around your chest. This whole day took us 5 hours car to car.
1 trip Hog Canyons - North Wash
Date: 11/29/2020
Started at 11 from the car. We did Hog 2 first. This one had lot's of good downclimbing. The "Birth Canal" at the end was very memorable. The rappels were wide and open and easy to move through. Weston did great on his first real climbing canyon. The canyon descended very quickly and got deep fast. I liked the rhythm of the tighter sections followed by small open section. The climb back to the rim had a coupe sketchy spots that I didn't care for. It was helpful to have some good climbers along. We were back on the rim at 2:45. We decided to do Hog 1, The Boss Hog next. This one was tighter than the first and required some tight stemming. It was helpful to have partners help with backpack management but not mandatory. The final rappel at the end was very photogenic. The climb out was loose and steep but fine with careful footing. We were back to the car at 6. So 7 hours car to car for two hogs with lots of snack and photo breaks. I would do either of these again!
1 trip Death Canyon - North Wash
Date: 11/28/2020
We did this one after Hogwarts Canyon. It was really quick, about 1.5 hrs car to car. The slot was really short with a baby rappel. More of a hike with close access, but a good one to do if you are short on time. There was some water at the bottom that was avoidable.
1 trip Hogwarts Canyon - North Wash
Date: 11/28/2020
This canyon was very short but had a lot of good rappels with straightforward anchors. The rappel where you go into a big hole in the ceiling was pretty cool. The hike up to the top is really cool and there are great views. This was Weston's first time rappelling which was pretty fun......definitely beginner friendly. There wasn't any water. My phone dropped out of my pocket on the final 80' rappel and smashed on a big rock at the bottom....that sucked. Was 3 hours car to car.....could have gone a little faster but there was a group in front of us.
1 trip Knotted Rope Canyon - San Rafael Swell
Date: 11/02/2020
The views during this canyon were incredible. Honestly they were better than the canyon itself. You climb up to a little oasis on the top of the rim of a huge canyon wall. Then carefully bushwhack over to the Knotted Rope canyon. There was lots of climbing around pot holes in this canyon. It was sketchy at time but everyone made it. Once the canyon starts to tighten up the keeper pot holes begin. For the most part you are able to stem through them with the help of some mangled metal stuck in the canyon. Partner assist made everything easier.....would need at leat 3 people on this one. The canyon was actually pretty dry which made some of the potholes harder. They still had some water but were extra deep from the rim. We used two of Chris' sand bad pot hole escape devices. You would through them across the pothole you were about to enter from the other side and hopefully have enough weight to pull yourself up. They kinda worked but ultimately we used partner assist to boost each other out. Once we got out it was a pretty hike up muddy creek although it was filled with cow poop. There were some cool old cars to check out. We did the car shuttle and total time was. just under 7 hours with a group of 7.
1 trip Bow and Arrow Canyon - Potash Road
Date: 11/01/2020
Carson, Elsa, and I did this on a MTB trip. Was a nice little short one. We hiked up to the top of the arch which was cool. Carson and Elsa crossed it and got a little weirded out. The rappels were easy but the big one had a really difficult rope pull because it was a big dome that the pull cord got a lot of friction on. Cool area and easy access to Moab. Took maybe 3.5 hrs but we messed around at the arch for awhile.
1 trip Lost and Found Canyon - Arches National Park
Date: 09/25/2020
This canyon was awesome. It had some cool views of Arches and one of the largest rappels I've done off the "Front Porch". The canyon is pretty wide with a few tighter sections. Lots of good rappels in here. The canyon itself felt pretty short. I didn't like the sketchy steepish slab hike out although it is bolted if you wanted to make it safer. There was also a cool arch at the end. Took 4 hours with a group of 7. Would definitely do again!
1 trip Zero G Canyon - San Rafael Swell
Date: 09/23/2020
The hike into Zero G is awesome. So much cool geology all around of the Swell. There were a handful of long swimming pools after downclimbs. We all brought wetsuits. I used a shorts and t shirt length one which worked fine. I don't think a wetsuit would be necessary if the temps are high. We saw a bunch of toads in the canyon which was pretty cool. We rappelled the final drop. It was pretty challenging stemming up to get into position. The rappel start is kind of weird also. It has bomb-bay doors which are too narrow to go straight down so you have to go sideways past them which causes you to swing a little. The final down climb was a little sketchy too. Car to car was 3.5 hrs with a 6 person group.
1 trip Alcatraz Canyon - Robbers Roost
Date: 09/21/2020
Really fun canyon! Not as hard as expected from stories and beta. Both rappels are pretty straight forward. Mostly this canyon is just tight. There are only a few spots that you have to stem above the deck. This canyon has a unique character of very dark and sinuous. I would definitely recommend long sleeve shirts and pants since it is so tight. Also the down climbing is very knee and elbow intensive since the canyon is so tight.
1 trip White Roost Canyon - White Roost
Date: 05/18/2020
05/18/2020 - We did the East/Main Fork. This canyon was an unexpected long day. The narrow parts of the slots are very physical. It is very tight at knee and foot level which makes it a challenge. Also lots of wedging and down climbing. The first couple rappels were incredibly awkward but exposed enough at the bottom that I'm glad we rappelled and didn't down climb. I really had a good time and appreciated the challenge of all the climbing. We only experienced water at the final rappel before the canyon opens up. Water was crotch deep. The rest of the canyon is a desert oasis. We saw lots of little toads and blooming flowers and cacti. Reminded me of the Paria Canyon......huge canyon walls all around. Car to car was 5.5 hours with only two people. This canyon is pretty slow going even though it is short mileage wise......I imagine it would take much longer with a larger group.
1 trip Larry Canyon - Robbers Roost
Date: 05/17/2020
Larry's might be my new favorite canyon! We started by leaving a car at the exit and walking back to the trailhead. This was a little over 5 miles and took 1.5 hours. Would have been much better with a car/bike shuttle. We were able to down climb most of the early drops, minus the first one which was suggested as a down climb and quickly ignored after seeing it. There are so many unique features here.....every section felt like a different canyon. There was a fair amount of climbing but all doable. The deep dark parts of the canyon are pretty special. We were lucky enough to find the entire canyon dry. The hike out was pretty long but enjoyable with the high canyon walls all around. Climbing out was no problem up the recommended crack exit. The canyon portion (not including car hike) took 6.5 hours, so 8 hours total.....what a long day!
1 trip Blue John Canyon - Robbers Roost
Date: 05/16/2020
We went down Little Blue John and up the West Fork. Little Blue is a really pretty canyon. Reminds me of Antelope Canyon in spots. The rappels are all scenic and memorable. I thought this fork was pretty short and left me wanting more. We continued down to the West Fork exit to make the adventure a little longer. There were a few easy up-climbs. The day felt more like a canyon hike than normal technical canyoneering. I would like to try one of the longer forks or lower Blue John or both! This route took us just over 4 hours with a lunch break.
1 trip Lupacchiotta Canyon - Central Swell
Date: 04/13/2020
This canyon has a unique character compared to others in the Swell or the Roost.....I like it. Really easy quickie off the interstate. Mostly a hiking canyon with a few nice rappels. Ryan's app makes navigation to start of canyon very easy. Took 3 hours with a long snack break and picture taking.
1 trip North Fork of Robbers Roost - White Roost
Date: 04/12/2020
What a gem, so beautiful. Not technically hard, just some light climbing/scrambling. Took the early exit and skipped the last rappel. Hikes were pretty quick. Took about 4 hours with one really long 45 min snack break. Stopped a lot for pictures and to admire.
1 trip Maybe Mindbender Canyon - Robbers Roost
Date: 04/11/2020
Really awesome canyon. Enough sketch factor to make it interesting. Not for beginners or people that aren't comfortable climbing. A couple high stem spots however I was able to stay low and use some caving moves to keep from getting stuck and wiggle through. Would not recommend that for anyone over 170 lbs and is fairly hip got stuck once. There were a couple pot hole with barely any water. Only got our feet wet. The last rappel is mindbending. I thought the climb out was a little more challenging than a 5.5 but maybe that's because it was unroped....was my least favorite part of the adventure. Pretty long hiking sections and day...was just over 6 hours. Stopped a lot to explore side canyons and enjoy ourselves.