Escalante River and Side Canyons

March, 2001

Part 3: Upper Steven's and Down Fold Canyon

Day 4, 3/25/01

Up Steven's canyon, over a pass, into Fold Canyon

We expect a moderately long day so we get an early start. The first section wanders up the meanders cut into the Wingate, passing many inviting pools.

After that is a more ordinary section: beautiful canyon with a clear flowing stream. 20 minutes later we come to more pools and take a break.

The day is neither exceptionally sunny or exceptionally warm but is still a hot day. We frequently dip our heads and hats into pools to help keep ourselves cool. Again, more ordinary beautiful canyon and clear stream. At one point we have to make our way through some tall grass.

There is more water here than I remember from last time. When the stream finally dies out we stop to fill up on water and dunk both our hats and hour shirts. Later we will be walking up on a bench were we won't be able to cool ourselves with water. In fact, wetting our clothing has been so comforting that I decide to load up on an extra gallon of water just for that. When we are up on the bench, hot and tired, I'll pull it out and offer it around as a gift. After a while the stream reappears as we carry our precious water for miles past a clear flowing creek.

The remainder of Steven's is longer than I remember. I'm amazed that Marie, Andrew, and I covered the distance from the boulder camp to just below the rim in one day. Eventually we pass our previous right exit then come to the left exit. We scramble over some rocks to a wide ledge. From there we climb up long slabs to a large bench

Climbing out of Steven's

Putting our rope of many colors
together to belay the slabs.

We walk along the broad bench for an hour or so. It winds in and out of several alcoves. We have spectacular views of upper Steven's, one of the most scenic places I know.

On the bench we past several potholes of water. After the second I drop my pack and dump the spare water that I'm carrying.

Expansive views into upper Stevens Canyon.

After and hour or so of that we pick our way up through Kayenta ledges to a pass.

Kayenta ledges to Fold Pass.

Looking toward Fold Pass.

Looking down Steven's canyon.

At the pass Fold canyon lays out in front of us. We also get a look at the clouds to the west and see that some rain is coming. We drop down to the Wingate bench and start looking for a good flat camp. Some raindrops fall, but not hard enough to get us wet.

Peerless slickrock.

Our fourth camp.

This has been a much longer day than we expected.

Day 5, 3/26/01

Down Fold canyon to the Escalante escarpment.

We had figured that this would be a rest day which would allow us to explore into several side canyons. There is a lot to see around here. Unfortunately, we have not made it as far as expected. In fact, we are a day behind. So, instead of poking down into the inner gorge:

We hit the trail:


Half way down fold canyon we come to a place were we can walk down to the inner gorge. We do that and explore down a couple bends:

Pool at base of entrance.

Subway - like section

Climbing back out.

From here we cross a sand hill then walk a long ways on the left side Wingate bench.

Crossing the sand hill.

Looking up into branches of Fold Canyon.

Crossing some cracks in the bench near the Escalante

And we arrive at the escarpment above the Escalante:

Me at the rim.

Looking north.

Looking south.

From here we round a corner and find a pothole with water.

Water Pockets.

All water sacks full.

It could be a while before we find water again so we fill all of our sacks. We then head south a short ways into the next little side canyon were we make a beautiful camp.

Walking along ledges above the Escalante.

Camp 5

Looking over to the west side of the Escalante.

From there we can see south along our route. It is going to consist of alternating between walking narrow ledges above the Escalante and heading large canyon systems. It's remote, challenging, and exciting.

The route ahead.



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Page last modified:  Aug 20 03:23 2008  by  Tom Unger