LENGTH: 5-8 hours West Fork / 7-9 hour for East Fork
GEAR: Standard Technical Gear
RAPPELS: 2-5 to 12 m ( 40 ft. )
WATER: A few pools. Wetsuits required in all but the hottest times.
SEASON: Spring, Summer, Fall
Misery, or Fat Man's Misery as it is often referred to, is one canyon that definitely does NOT live up to its name. This is one of my favorites in Zion. Though the hike starts in the park, the technical section is outside of the park, so no permit is necessary, it has enough length to keep the gumbies out, and the scenery is about as good as it gets without being particularly technical or difficult. Absolutely a must do!
The first time I did Misery, I did the West Fork the first day, and the East Fork the next day. Surprisingly, probably 90%+ of people that do Misery do the West Fork. It has a slightly shorter approach and more rappels than the East Fork, BUT is much less scenic. If your only going to do one fork, do the East Fork. It has several stunning slot sections, and includes the spectacular slot section below the confluence that the West Fork also visits.
The canyons dumps into Parunaweep, which is similar to the Narrows in its beauty and scale, though far enough from the beaten path you aren't likely to see others. With an early start before the heat, this is a good canyon to do in the summer, spending the hot part of the day in the slot and Parunaweep, then making the exit hike in the evening.