Canyoneering Arizona, The Mogollon Plateau
Joe Moerschbaecher, owner of Pura Vida Adventures recently had the opportunity to travel to Sedona, Arizona and experience some of the canyons in the Mogollon Plateau region. This was Joe’s second canyoneering trip to Arizona on a previous trip he visited the canyons of Central Arizona. The canyons of the Mogollon Plateau proved to be beautiful wet narrow slotted canyons with some interesting potholes and fun technical challenges.
Babe’s Hole Canyon 3A II
Babe’s Hole was the only dry canyon of the entire trip. The canyon was a beautiful extended slot with some basic relatively short rappels and basic down climbing. The canyon also offered many great places to practice rope skills, as well as stemming and other canyon movement techniques.
Bear Canyon 3B II
Bear Canyon was a wet canyon with a few pothole swims a gorgeous narrows and some fun rappels and down climbs. The exit hike of Bear Canyon dropped us into the beautiful West Clear Creek Gorge. The exit hike from the gorge was on a steep strenuous trail that climbed up about 1,000 vertical feet back to the car.
Sundance Canyon 3B II
The final rappel: 185 ft. primarily free hanging rappel from a 3 foot wide slot canyon finishing in a wide open sandy area. There really is no way to describe that feeling. This was the greatest highlight of Sundance Canyon. However, Sundance also provided some fun down climbs and pothole swims in it short but beautiful narrows. The exit was in West Clear Creek and followed the same trail up the gorge as Bear Canyon.
Shamrock 3B R II
Shamrock received an R rating for the giant potholes canyoneers must negotiate when completing the longest rappel of 150 feet. The rappel went over two potholes the second of which can be negotiated around on canyon right using some basic rock movement skills while remaining on rappel. That pothole is a monster and very impressive to see. The canyon was beautiful with various other pothole and lots of opportunities to challenge and practice canyon skills while trying to climb around these lesser potholes. Shamrock dropped into West Clear Creek as well and with map and compass in hand you the n navigated your way down the creek looking for a specific wash, which you then bush wacked up climbing over rocks and boulders before making your way to the top of the canyon rim. Shamrock was the most technical canyon and included some fun map and compass work as you made your way to the wash that would allow you to exit the gorge.
The Mogollon plateau provided some incredible canyons with great narrows, beautiful potholes, and nice technical challenges. In the future I hope to get back at a warmer time of year with more daylight and explore longer canyons in the area.
Pura Vida Adventures was the first company to run commercial canyoneering courses in the eastern US, in addition canyoneering courses and trips are run by Joe Moerschbaecher who is certified through the American Canyon Guide Assocition. Pura Vida Adventures is the oncly American Canyoneering Academy accredited guide service in the eastern US. www.pvadventures.com