Pandora's Box |

Capitol Reef

Canyoneering Pandora's Box - Capitol Reef Canyoneering Pandora's Box
Capitol Reef

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments


TICKS & TODOS: 28 Todo Lists / 8 Ticks
LENGTH: 10-14 Hours
GEAR: Standard Technical Gear
RAPPELS: 7+ to 45 m ( 148 ft. )
WATER: Typically no swimming, but a couple of spots of possible deep wading. In most conditions, no wetsuit needed.
FLASHFLOOD: High, although the canyon has a small drainage, so it would need to be raining heavily right over the canyon.
SEASON: Spring, Summer, Fall
Tue Hi:70 Lo:44 Wed Hi:74 Lo:46 Thu Hi:77 Lo:49 Fri Hi:80 Lo:48 Sat Hi:77 Lo:48
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Pandora's holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the first canyons I explored without beta. The first time we checked it out, we found no signs of passage, and fixed the first several drops. Impressed by what we found, but out of rope and time, we retreated to come back and finish it another day. Since then I have done the whole canyon several times, and just the upper section another 3 or 4 times. It never fails to impress. The canyon was done without the use of bolts.

Pandora's has a unique character. The canyon is in the Wingate layer and follows/crosses many joints. This gives the characteristic of alternating between tight slot sections, and open areas. This canyon is bound to have something for everyone. Expect physical sections that are narrow, and much beauty.

Note: Meeks Mesa Exit

The Meeks Mesa exit requires advanced navigation and route finding through several broken cliff bands. This exit is very difficult (at best) and ALL BUT impossible in the dark. If you are planning on the Meeks Mesa exit, start very early (5:00 am or earlier). Be prepared to exit out the Chimney Rock exit if you reach the end of Pandora's late in the day. If you find yourself exiting Pandora's late in the day, you most likely will not have enough time to finish the Meeks Mesa exit before dark.

The National Park Service, along with the state and local search and rescue organizations, have been involved in multiple search and rescues for groups attempting the Meeks Mesa exit. The Meeks Mesa Exit is currently open, but those intending to use the exit are asked to contact the Capitol Reef National Park Rangers (435-425-3791) before attempting the route for up to date information and conditions.

WARNING: I rate Pandora's as a R- canyon. There are sections requiring high stemming, awkward downclimbs, and difficult starts off marginal anchors. Due to these factors, coupled with its length, this is likely not a good choice for beginning canyoneers.

Canyoneers that are larger than myself (6'2" / 170 lbs) may have to go high over several tight spots, increasing the difficulty.

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