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Scree - April 21, 2011

NPS canyoneering photo

NPS Photo

Zion Hikers Assisted

The Subway in Zion National Park (on page 11) Utah, is one of the best slot canyons. Reading the National Parks site, they give considerable advice on the Subway. Most morsels of wisdom contain cautions as to the seriousness of the route.

Last Saturday a couple of folks started the hike (AP Story). They were surprised by the depth of the water in the canyon and tried to reverse their path. They were unable to climb back up some of the rocks they had descended. They were trapped and decided to wait for assistance.

The National Park Service has style. Years ago the NPS tried to qualify who was capable of attempting certain risky adventures. After years of passing judgement on abilities, they began to only offer advice. Now the offices and web sites are full of helps. The staff wants the visitor to safely visit the Park; but they no longer tell visitors they are not qualified. The visitors must decide for themselves what they are capable of doing.

The Subway route was supposed to take six or seven hours to hike. Our pair probably had food and gear for that length of a hike. They had to make a difficult decision; but they knew they were on a popular route, someone would be by soon, why not wait.

Spending one night out, without much food and bedding is tough; but as Sunday (day 2) slipped into Monday and then on to Tuesday, I am sure that 127 hours was entering their heads. Our hikers were probably hungry, tired, and cold. I would have been second guessing if I was still on the trail or lost. It was about 96 hours before some other folks began arriving. Our hikers were assisted by the other experienced canyoneers and everyone walked away.

What a great ending...

The hikers were assisted across the water.

The experienced group of canyoneers were heroes.

The Park got everyone home safely.

And our assisted hikers now have stories to tell for the rest of their lives. What an adventure!

Note: I will try to find out more about the trip and as information becomes available, I will share.

More on the Hikers

Researching a bit more the National Park Service made a statement...

"Certainly we told all these people that the water was going to be higher and colder than they might expect and we give them all kinds of safety tips," said Eaker. "Ultimately, it's their decision whether they want to go."

Eaker, NPS Spokesman - TimesUnion.com

Remember it is dangerous out there. We take chances each day of our lives. Be patient and slowly build your skill levels. There is adventure at every level. Do not let the risks out weigh your skills.