Monday, May 16, 2016

Angel's Landing (& Scout's Lookout) - Zion National Park - 5/11/16

Up River from Scout's Lookout (Narrowing Canyon)

Across River from Scout's Lookout (Echo Canyon)

Down River from Scout's Lookout (Angel's Landing & Great White Throne)

Starting Up the Trail to Angel's Landing
 Twenty-seven hikers got a late start climbing Angel's Landing in Zion National Park on Wednesday. In the afternoon sun, they got off the park shuttle at the Grotto shuttle stop and crossed the Virgin River bridge to turn right onto the Angel's Landing Trail. Although this trail is short (less than 5.5 miles out and back), the elevation gain of around 1500 feet is found challenging by many tourists every day. The club hikers took the climb "in stride." We quickly separated into a loose three groups.

The Group Chooses a Pace
 With adrenaline pumping, the strong hikers advanced rapidly. The middle level of hikers enjoyed the scenery and the slower hikers took several breathers. It is a steep climb.

Joan and Doug in the Cut Out
 The trail's engineering is interesting. A few sections of the trail were cut into the rock since there was no other place for the trail to go.

Heading Up Refrigerator Canyon

Walter's Wiggles
 After enjoying a stroll through the cool Refrigerator Canyon, the trail continues its switchbacks up to Walter's Wiggles. Walter was the first park custodian who found that the 23 little switchbacks of his namesake were a fantastic solution to the final climb up to the area called Scout's Lookout. Nine hikers decided to stop at the Lookout for various reasons. One reason that was probably on everyone's mind was the exposed trail laying before them. Angel's Landing is a test of the nerve!

Chuck arrives at Scout's Lookout

Warning Sign at Beginning of Chains
 Today, in the middle of the week, the sandstone fin was not extremely busy as it is on the weekends. The stronger hikers had already disappeared up the chains and the middle level hikers were on their way, quickly making it past the first set of chains. The remaining hikers sat for a few minutes, signed out, then one by one started their descent to the rest of the day. We shared our seating with brave squirrels and chipmunks. One service dog also sat nearby wanting to chase the rodents off of the 1000' cliff.

Various Photos from the Fin Climb

Cairn Garden on Top

This summit deserves 3 photos!

Part of the Gang finishing Descent from Fin
 From the writer's previous experience, the fin can be thought of in three sections. The first section takes hikers up to the ridge of the fin. Second, the trail traverses the very narrow saddle. The third section is the formidable stair-stepping climb with chains up to the top of the landing. The complete hike is balanced between two 1000' drops. As club members finally descended back to Scout's Lookout, newbies were exclaiming awe! The best hike ever!!!

5 miles; 1500 feet elevation gain

Interesting Light on Descent into Refrigerator Canyon

Exiting Refrigerator Canyon

Virgin River from Bridge

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