An unusual route to an amazing Zion summit that requires descending a technical slot canyon
Petroglyphs can be seen on the approach to Spry Canyon if you know where to look.
The East Temple is first visible on the approach to Spry Canyon and can be seen along much of the subsequent route up Mount Spry.
The early morning sun shines on Twin Brothers, an impressive, steep, slickrock mountain.
This little pothole is located near the entrance to Spry Canyon. The water was a sign of what was to come below.
CP rigging the first rappel in Spry Canyon. At 165 feet, it is the longest rappel of the entire descent and requires two ropes. We rapped on a full 60 meter rope (blue) and used a half 50 meter rope (green) as a pull cord.
CP on the initial rappel into Spry Canyon. A small trickle of water is flowing down the center of the rather low angle chute.
DB trying to stay dry at the bottom of the first rappel. A thin, downsloping ledge can be carefully negotiated to reach dry ground. It was a chilly day for wet canyoneering: in the 50's and partly overcast.
CP & DB heading down Spry Canyon after the initial rappel. This was the mellowest part of the canyon but the forest and small pools made for interesting scenery.
CP providing a human rappel anchor for Dwight as DB looks on. This was the first time I had rappelled from a person and I must say that it felt surprisingly solid!
The pool at the bottom of the second rappel was unavoidable. It was waist to chest deep depending on the person and exactly where they touched down. Here Dwight can be seen exiting the pool. Notice the marks on the right side of the canyon caused by the ropes of previous canyoneers who used a different anchor point. . The sandstone is very soft. The log jam in front of Dwight serves as the next rappel anchor.
Dwight trying hard to avoid the cold water in some small pools.
Once again Dwight rappelled this section first and was nice enough to help with a guided rappel for the rest of us. We still got wet, but we were able to touch down in a much shallower spot.
Mount Spry finally came into view after we'd made numerous rappels down Spry Canyon. To reach the summit we'd ascend the steep slickrock face shown in the picture. This east face route is fairly easy except for one short low 5th class pitch.
DB climbing the low 5th class crux on the east face of Mount Spry. CP & Dwight were comfortable climbing this short pitch unroped while DB and I welcomed a belay.
The West Temple as seen from near the summit of Mount Spry.
Dwight, DB & CP on the final scramble to the summit of Mount Spry.
The incredible view north up Zion Canyon from the summit of Mount Spry.
View of Twin Brothers from the summit of Mount Spry. The easiest route goes up the steep slickrock face and while it is only low 5th class, extreme exposure and lack of protection opportunities make it a very serious undertaking, one that I do not aspire to at this point in my "career".
View of Bridge Mountain from the summit of Mount Spry. The easiest route to its summit is little more than a scramble but extreme exposure makes it a serious undertaking. I hope to find the courage to attempt it someday. UT-9 can be seen switchbacking up below Bridge Mountain toward the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel.
We chose to descend Mount Spry's north ridge instead of retracing our steps down the east face. Although this route is only 4th class, the exposure above Mount Spry's vertical west face is quite extreme.
The East Temple as seen from Mount Spry's North Ridge. Unfortunately I don't quite have the skill to scale this beast. Rumor has it that the climbing isn't particularly difficult, but that its extremely spicy.
The views from this little lookout point on Mount Spry's north ridge are simply amazing and probably my favorite of the day.
After descending the North Ridge of Mount Spry we made our way back down into Spry Canyon (which required one section of bushwhacking that involved crawling through a brush tunnel). Once in the canyon, a long series of rappels ensued. My favorite of them all was down into a deep, narrow slot. I took this picture partway down. Dwight is standing at the bottom.
DB rappelling into the deep, dark, narrow slot.
CP pulling the rope after the long rappel into the slot.
After walking through the slot we found ourselves in the sun, a welcome reprieve from the chilly air. The next rappel (and more water) awaited us so we soaked in as much warmth as we could. The red sling in front of Dwight is part of the next rappel anchor.
DB gives CP a light belay as he rappels.
Dwight on another short rappel into a skanky pool.
DB disconnecting from the rappel so she can try to avoid the water below. CP watches from above.
Things are getting tricky for DB. That water doesn't look inviting.
Mount Spry as seen from UT-9. The exit of Spry Canyon is at the lowpoint on the right.
The Watchman from Springdale in evening light.