A Tale of Two Sundays

Posted by on September 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm :: 2 Comments

It’s definitely no secret that I love Utah’s peaks. There’s just no substitute for the serenity of our unkempt wildernesses. That’s why Jason and I happily spent two consecutive Sundays in American Fork Canyon.

The first Sunday we went for a lovely hike on the Tibble Fork Loop. This path is approximately 3.8 miles long and roams through hillsides of fragrant pines, graceful aspens, and rolling grasses. Beautiful! We enjoyed our low-keyed exercise but countered these mellow meanderings the following Sunday with an adrenaline overload.

Nestled between a speckled canopy and a cascading creek was the perfect spot for some picture taking.

This stream was accented by a timber rainbow that arched elegantly over its banks.

The next week we went rock climbing and rappelling with a couple of our buddies: David and Chuong. The two cliffs we scaled, Stoic Calculus and Rockapella, were ones that Jason and I have ascended before on a couple of occasions so they didn’t scare the bejeebers out of us. However, after we were good and tired from climbing David took us further up the canyon to a different block of rock, which we accessed through the Echo picnic area, for some rappelling, a much more intimidating task.

Jason is a natural climber. He's got long limbs and he knows how to use them.

Jason and David make quite the pair. They're even goofier together than this photo suggests.

Our friend Chuong hadn't been climbing in years and he was a little unsettled by the idea of starting up again but you'd never guess it from the way he spidered up the walls.

A ridge at the top of Stoic Calculus provides a great spot for resting and gawking. Here Jason is taking in that view from 70+ feet up.

I accidentally put my helmet on backwards without realizing it. That prompted a lot of smack talk and the taking of this picture.

None of us, besides David of course, had rappelled before so when he explained that we would have to belay ourselves on the way down, in essence do our own braking, everyone panicked. We didn’t know what we were doing so we were sure our amateurish self-belaying would result in some colossal mishap.

I may be smiling here as I take a leap of faith over the side of this cliff but inside I'm crossing my fingers that I don't end up a flattened morsel.

Jason was hesitant to plunge into the abyss but, since Chuong and I had already done it, he knew he'd most likely survive.

Here I am dangling just a few feet from the ground. No splat for me!

David has been rock climbing and rappelling for years. He "showed us the ropes."

No one wanted to be rappelling contestant #1 but somehow I got volunteered to be the guinea pig. Sure, send the girl first, she’s expendable. Those first few steps over the ledge of that imposing drop-off were nerve-racking but then I loosened up and realized I was having a blast. Once I got to the bottom I understood David’s reasoning for forcing me to lead. Those manly men wouldn’t want to be shown up by little ol’ me. Calling their masculinity into question proved greatly motivating. Chuong was very worried about going down and Jason was a bit anxious as well but they both reluctantly scurried along the precipice. Their braking hands were so tensed around the ropes during their descents though that by the time they reached the bottom those grips of steal had cramped their palms and they both had to have help getting their gloves off. Surprisingly, I had kept my cool while dropping so my hands were just fine and I decided to go back up to the top and give it another whirl. So much fun!

Jas and I had a great time in the canyon two Sundays in a row. Between the steady constancy of hiking and the adrenaline rush of mountaineering we experienced the full spectrum of what American Fork Canyon has to offer, from the relaxing to the taxing.

2 Comments

  • Heather says:

    Can you give me more information on where to find the rappelling routes or their names?

  • Rachel says:

    There isn’t a website that I know of but there is a book that is available on Amazon for under ten bucks. Climber’s Guide to American Fork Canyon, Rock Canyon by Stuart Ruckman and Bret Ruckman. It’s more for rock climbing but I would guess that a number of the routes would also work for rappelling.

    Happy climbings!

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