Sundance Canyon Technical Canyoneering Beta

Overview: A short fun technical canyon that can be a fun, easy trip or a deadly trap, depending on water conditions.

Warning: This is a technical canyon with some keeper potholes, you will need a full set of canyoneering gear (helmet, webbing, rap rings, harness, belay device, carabiners, and a minimum of a 1x 200 ft rope and 2x 100 ft for the last 180 ft rappel.If water levels are low this canyon can be difficult. This canyon has some deep water and may be quite cold. A shorty might be fine for summer if you’re warm blooded, but a full wetsuit or drysuit might be preferrable, especially if conditions are difficult and you spend alot of time in the water and/or potholes. Experienced canyoneers only, you are responsible for self-evaluating your abilities.

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Canyoneering Rating

  • Grade: 3
  • Water: B
  • Risk: R
  • Time: II
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Route Finding: 2
  • Distance Round Trip: 1.5 miles
  • Trailhead Elevation: 6,563 feet
  • Elevation Gain: 750 feet
  • Accumulated Gain: 850 feet
  • Average Time Round Trip: 2-6 hours

Danger: this canyon can contain keeper potholes, canyoneers must be prepared with keeper exit strategies! Don’t do this canyon alone! Don’t pull your rope until someone is out of each keeper in case retreat is necessary!

Danger: always check the weather before entering a slot canyon, don’t put yourself at risk of a flash flood!

Hike: From the trailhead head south on the road you drove in on. after a few hundred feet head east down the hill. You should be able to follow the route created by others. Once in the canyon you can suit up. This is a quick canyon and you will be rappelling soon. Downstream you will encounter some shallow potholes and wading through muck. After 20 minutes you’ll reach a rappel. It is 7 feet to a ledge and another 15 ft to the bottom. This will be followed by a series of pools to a slippery log, splashed some more until we reached a pothole at a bend in the canyon, one of the keepers. Past this is another rappel which you rig, then walk 10 feet to rappel 20 feet into a bowl. This bowl is a deep keeper and you will have to fight to get out of the pothole and into the precarious keyhole. You can stay on rope and rappel the 10 feet to the final pool or downclimb a slick log if it is still there. Set up your final rappel which is a stunning 180 ft. You may want to hang your packs. The last 130 ft of the rappel into the grotto is free hanging, enjoy it while you can. Send down an experienced canyoneer first to clear the rope and provide a fireman to any novices. make sure the second to last persontests the retrieval rope. After pulling and coiling your rope exit the canyon and turn left, downstream, through West Clear creek to the Point Trail. Head up the steep trail 750 ft to your car.

Directions to Canyon: From Phoenix, take I-17 north to exit 287/HWY 260. Take 260 east and just before milepost 249, turn left/north onto FR 144. Take FR 144 1.8 miles and turn left onto FR 149. Follow FR 149 1.1 miles to a T intersection with FR 142. Turn right onto FR 142 and follow it .8 mile to FR 142E on the left. Turn left on 142E and continue 2.7 miles to the end.


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