White Pocket Arizona (Rocks & High Point) - Turktacular 2017

November 27th, 2017
White Pocket (6,128')
3 miles, 1,000' -ish
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

White Pocket is a remote grouping of dramatically colored rocks in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.  The area is better known for nearby attractions The Wave and Buckskin Gulch but due to the difficulty in getting permits for those more and more people seem to be aware of what White Pocket has to offer.

This was our second attempt to visit after the 2014 Turktacular found us out here on the final day only for me to be so floored by the sudden onset of the flu I wasn't safe to drive.  Considering the reputation of the dirt road used to access White Pocket we decided not to risk trying to have the girls drive it and instead spent the day in post Thanksgiving traffic getting back to LA.

Now it was three years later and we were back.

Smokey Mountain Road & Underground Coal Fires - Turktacular 2017

November 26th 2017
[Pics] [Map]

This was another travel day connecting the Hole In The Rock area of Escalante with Vermillion Cliffs so we could do White Pocket on our last day.  Along the way we visited a long burning underground coal fire and drove through some of the most remote areas of Escalante.

Red Breaks Slot Canyons Escalante Utah - Turktacular 2017

November 25th, 2017
11 miles, 1,400'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

After yesterday's rougher than expected climb of Fiftymile Mountain Kristen and I were both really excited to get back to more slot canyons.  And today was going to be the main attraction of the entire trip!

Red Breaks are some of the numerous slot canyons located in the area around Hole In The Rock Road though they seem to be less well known than a lot of others.  Yet when you're doing research on the area everyone talks about how they are the greatest thing out there.

And you can add this write up to that chorus of praise.  Compared with everything else we saw over the six days of the Turktacular this stands out easily.  We spent the day going up Red Breaks West and then down Red Breaks East and the route had everything from deep narrow slots, countless amounts of scrambling, tight squeezes, and two rappels.

In addition to where we came in Red Breaks can be accessed from the north along Spencer Flat Road though I really liked the way we did it.  Climbing up Red Breaks West let us do the more memorable of the two canyons first and then down East let us finish on the more technical one.

There's also an interesting geological formation you can access from the north end of the canyons called the Cosmic Ashtray.  We ran short of daylight but I would have liked to make an excursion in between the two canyons.

We left the cars at 10 am, reached Red Breaks proper around 12 pm, finished Red Breaks West around 2:45 pm, finished Red Breaks East around 4:30 pm, and returned to the cars around 8 pm.  But YMMV depending how long you want to spend taking pictures and how much trouble you have route finding.

Fiftymile Mountain Escalante Utah High ish Point - Turktacular 2017

November 24th, 2017
Fiftymile Mountain (7,641')
14.3 miles, 2,700'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

When we went looking for peaks to do out around Hole In The Rock the options were somewhat limited.  Pretty much all I had out here was Navajo Mountain and Mollies Nipple and other than that a big giant blank spot on my Peakbagger Master Peak Map.

We settled on Fiftymile Mountain because it's a significant landmark in the area and according to the limited beta we'd found we expected it to be relatively short with the crux just being the road up to the bench and the route through the cliff bands.  We had high hopes of getting back down in time to run over and do Spooky or one of the other shorter slot canyons.

It ended up being a little more involved after we didn't like the route we took up through the cliffs and went around the long way to hook up with a stock trail.  On the plus side it did make it a far more satisfying length hike even if the summit was dissapointing.

Zebra Slot Canyon Escalante Utah (Plus Bryce Canyon) - Turktacular 2017

November 23rd, 2017
5.6 miles, 500'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Since we'd gotten off to a bad start and finished our 19 mile hike late the night before today was going to be a partial travel day taking us from our campsite near Kanab to Hole In The Rock Road in Escalante.  But we managed to fit in a quick visit to Bryce Canyon National Park and a quick run out to Zebra Slot Canyon before settling in for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Canaan Mountain Utah via Water Canyon and Squirrel Canyon Loop - Turktacular 2017

November 22nd, 2017
Canaan Mountain (7,363')
19.5 miles, 3,400'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Every Thanksgiving I take advantage of the built in time off work to wander off into the desert and do a longer trip.  I call it the Turktacular and it's the perfect opportunity to escape a largely sedimentary holiday, send some time outdoors, and also enjoy a traditional -ish thanksgiving dinner prepared and eaten under the stars.

I've spent many of these trips out in Utah since there are just a disgusting amount of awesome things to see out there.  This year after much debate and planning Kristen and I decided to head out to the Escalante area with a few side trips on the way in and out.  Writeups for other days can be found under Turktacular 2017

This was the first of six days and we'd decided to start things off with a solid day of hiking and climb Canaan Mountain south of Zion.

Moapa Peak In The Nevada Mormon Mountains

November 19th, 2017
Moapa Peak (6,471')
7.1 miles, 3,500'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Yesterday we climbed nearby Muddy Peak and camped along the road out through Buffington Pockets.  Today our goal was another nearby desert classic Moapa Peak.

Moapa is also on the Sierra Club Desert Peaks Section list and is notorious for its knife edge summit ridge.  It's also one of the best on the list in my experience and makes for a great combo with Muddy for a weekend of scramble peaks.

Muddy Peak In Clark County Nevada

November 18th, 2017
Muddy Peak (5,387')
9.2 miles, 3,200'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

As much as I really enjoy the volunteer classes I teach through Sierra Club they do wear on me a bit since they keep me in town during periods I'd rather by running amok in the wilderness (otherwise known as each and every damn weekend)  So it was with great relief I wrapped up my commitments last week and set about making some last minute desert plans.

Muddy and Moapa are two peaks on the Sierra Club Desert Peak Section list.  They are located north of Vegas along the 15 in the general vicinity of Valley of Fire.  They're both 3rd class (with Moapa in particular being known for an extended summit ridge with a bit of exposure) and are really quality examples of what the list has to offer.

We planned to drive out Friday night, climb Muddy Saturday and then camp along the road out, and then do Moapa Sunday before driving home.