North Fork of Iron Wash | San Rafael Swell

Canyoneering North Fork of Iron Wash - San Rafael Swell Canyoneering North Fork of Iron Wash

San Rafael Swell

Overview

RATING: 3B R+/X

Mon

Sunny. High near 80, with temperatures falling to around 77 in the afternoon. South southwest wind 5 to 23 mph.

80 | 52

Tue

A slight chance of rain showers before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 66. West northwest wind 8 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

66 | 46

Wed

Sunny, with a high near 77.

77 | 41

Thu

Sunny, with a high near 79.

79 | 50

Fri

Mostly sunny, with a high near 72.

72 | 46

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SEASON: Spring, Summer, Fall
RAPPELS: 2 to 12 m ( 40 ft. )
WATER: General wading to waist deep with a possible short swim.
FLASHFLOOD: High in the technical section.

Mon

Sunny. High near 80, with temperatures falling to around 77 in the afternoon. South southwest wind 5 to 23 mph.

80 | 52

Tue

A slight chance of rain showers before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 66. West northwest wind 8 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

66 | 46

Wed

Sunny, with a high near 77.

77 | 41

Thu

Sunny, with a high near 79.

79 | 50

Fri

Mostly sunny, with a high near 72.

72 | 46

View Full Weather Details
Views on the hike out - North Fork of Iron Wash - San Rafael Swell

Views on the hike out - North Fork of Iron Wash - San Rafael Swell

If it weren't for its final obstacle, I am convinced the North Fork of Iron Wash would be deemed a Swell classic. The canyon offers a short approach, short exit, and very nice narrow section. The upper section, in particular, has many beautifully sculpted pools and small drops. A rarity in the Swell, the canyon also tends to have crystal clear, clean water. This canyon is a gem!

The downside? The end of the canyon has a serious obstacle to overcome, a 5 m ( 17 ft. ) deep keeper pothole. It HAS been conquered via several pack tosses, but it is very difficult. The common way around involves exposed lower 5th class chimneying up and over the obstacle, then a rappel down. This climb is not suitable for beginners, advanced canyoneers and climbers only. Even with competent leadership, the final climb is difficult to belay securely. A fall would be disastrous!

If you are lucky enough to descend the canyon when the final keeper is full, you will wonder what all the fuss is about!

Entry Canyon - North Fork of Iron Wash - San Rafael Swell

Entry Canyon - North Fork of Iron Wash - San Rafael Swell

Cristina in Iron Wash

Cristina in Iron Wash

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