KSL Outdoors: Canyoneering adventure with North Wash Outfitters

(Adam) coming up tonight on KSL Outdoors, we are rubbing slickrock in Southern Utah.

(Adam) A relatively new sport is gaining momentum, especially here in Southern Utah. We’ll show you some of the tightest slots right here in the North Wash. I’m Adam Eakle and KSL Outdoors, starts right now.

(adam in truck off cam) we are here, there’s Jared.

Tonight we’re heading out on a canyoneering adventure with North Wash Outfitters.

(coming of Northwash Outfitters on truck) (adam) hey Jared, Adam Eakle. (jared Hillhouse, Northwash Outfitters) nice to meet you. (adam) this is Kirsten and Karen with Goal Zero. Kared in scared, Kirsten is the rock star. (jared) alright, nice. (adam) so where are we headed? (jared) we are heading to Leprechaun canyon today.

(jared) It’s going to be a little bit of squeezing.

(Adam) This is when being a big guy is not that great!

(jared) a little bit of stemming.

(karen Screams) I can’t move now!

(Jared Hillhouse, Northwashoutfitters.com) couple of rappels and a lot of fun. (adam) well lets go get these girls geared up. (jared) right on!

Karen and Kirsten from Goal Zero are here not just for the adventure but to test out some new Goal Zero gear you could use on a canyoneering trip.

(Kirsten Wood, Goal Zero) we’ve got our backpack with our Nomad 7 solar panel on here, with our Guide 10 plus. (adam) this is the exact same thing we give away on the show. (kirsten) so we’ve got our AA batteries which are awesome for our camera’s that we bring out. We’ve got a USB that will charge our phones, our ipods. GPS if you bring a GPS unit, Go Pro.

(jared) This here I call my box of comfort.

(jared) We have knee pads, elbow pads, sunscreen.

(Jared) We’ll do a lot of close stemming and squeezing in this canyon, so getting up close and personal with the rocks, these actually make you feel a little better in there, protect the skin a little bit.

(Jared) And everybody gets a nice fancy skull cap. Red so that I can find you.

(Jared) lets go do this. We are going to start hiking up this ridge right here.

North wash is about 30 miles south of the town of Hanksville, just East of the Henry Mountains on highway 95. Off of North Wash is a series of slot canyons with Irish names. Blarney, Lucky Charms and our destination, Leprechaun Canyon. It’s about a mile and a half hike from the truck to get to the entrance of Leprechaun, a three forked canyon that has special meaning to Jared.

(Jared Hillhouse, Northwashoutfitters.com) When I started canyoneering this was the first canyon I ever did out in North Wash. And it just hooked my love on this area and the features that are in here. Actually named our company after the North Wash. Because of this area, this canyon. I love coming back here.

(Adam) time to get on the rope and on belay. Who’s up? (karen) not me I’m not first. (laughs)

Kirsten is a avid climber, for Karen this is a bit out of her comfort zone. Our first descent will using our bodies to stem down into the slot. Jared gives us a demonstration and makes it look way to easy.

(Jared Hillhouse) so we are going to use our full bodies in these canyons. Everything that is used to get down into here. You can use them this way, use two feet, stem down. But using the friction of the sandstone and just keeping your body plastered right into this rock. All the way to bottom. Just like that, come on down.

(Jared) I’ve done these canyons so much that the biggest joy I get out of them now is seeing people experience that joy for the first time. And watching their excitement when they see everything and the sunlight bouncing off the walls. It’s great. (adam) conquering that fear sometimes? (jared) absolutely.

(Rick) do you have an extra large canyon that we can get Adam down? (laughs) (adam) I feel like I’m being born all over again.

Up next, we work our way deeper into the abyss of Leprechaun Canyon, and try and ease Karen’s nerves as she conquers her fears.

(Karen Probst, Goal Zero) (jared) it’s a lot to go through. (karen) I’m just nervous without this dumb thing. I can probably make it down there without it. (adam) no you can’t. (karen) head rush. So seriously, do you think I’m ok? (adam) your fine.

That just ahead, but first tonight’s quiz question on a movie that put canyoneering in the spotlight and was actually filmed right here in parts of Leprechaun canyon.


(Karen going down) lean back? (adam) yup, trust the rope. Let a little bit of slack, there you go.

(Karen) Adam you’ve got me! (adam) I’ve got you know, just trust the rope.

(Jared Hillhouse, Owner North Wash Outfitters) The popularity of canyoneering is growing and we are starting to see a lot more people in here in these different areas but for me being able to show them these places, this canyon is a place where 95% plus percent of the population is never going to see, never going to experience without, especially without the proper help and guidance into here.

(Karen down) woo hoo! (jared) I think that calls for a party dance. (adam) not too hard, give me five. Nice job.

Jared is a Certified Master Guide through the American Canyon Guides Association. He and his wife Amanda started North Wash Outfitters about eight years ago. Jared is also a full time police officer in Blanding. He works with search and rescue and says he takes canyoneering and the safety of his clients very seriously.

(jared throws rope) rope.

(Jared) what we like to use is a single strand rappel with a contingency anchor backup. So we are going to rig our system with a backup contingency on it, so if someone were to get stuck on rappel or if there was a knot in the rope. We could actually lower someone down and safely get them still to the ground.

(Jared) most guide services add canyoneering to what they do. We specialize in canyoneering.

(Jared) We offer everything from a one day introduction to canyoneering class. Where we actually teach you about the rope work and rappelling and take you through a few short rappels and canyons. To three day classes where we teach you how to get out and do it on your own for some basic canyons. We do intermediate canyon courses for people that have some rope experience already and don’t want to jump right from the basics. Then we offer advance and rescue courses.

(Jared) and then we offer our guided trips for those that just want to get out and see something fun and exciting. We have the guided trips like this one here in Leprechaun. We have different levels from beginner, to intermediate to more technical advanced type trips.

(jared) We get a lot of incidencies with people coming into these canyons that just don’t have the experience or understanding of what they are getting themselves into. The physical effort that it takes to get through. As you guys have seen it’s not just a walk through a narrow slot, there is some work to do.

(Adam) alright this is when being a big guy is not that great.

(Kirsten) Yeah I’m glad for the elbow pads. (adam) they make it nice. (kirsten) yeah they do. (jared) friction on both sides, there you go. Nice job Kirsten.

Trying to get my 240 pound frame through some of these tight slots is like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. But If Karen, Kirsten and I can make it, so can you.

(jared to Karen) You guys are going to be pro’s by the time we are done. Look at that.

(Adam) alright it’s really dark, really tight, packs have to come off, super cool in here. And the temperature nice too, it’s cool that way as well.

Jared guides in the fall, early summer and from late August until about November. He takes people as young as eleven and as old as seventy. Leprechaun is the perfect canyon for a introduction into the sport of canyoneering and Jared is a great guide.

(Jared) we say it’s not a good day in a canyon until you leave a little bit of blood, but that’s all we want to do it a little bit. Having the knee pads and elbow pads make it a little more comfortable to push yourself through the cracks and get yourself out safely.

(Tag) (jared) we call this the subway, really gorgeous, really picturesque, it’s great. (adam) if people want to come and do this, bring their family out, how do they find you? (jared) they can contact us on the web, northwashoutfitters.com or by phone 435-678-3255. (adam) Thanks a lot sir, you guys have fun. (girls) definitely. (adam) not scared anymore right. (karen) no. (adam) hey we’ve got more coming up from Northwash in a minute, but first back to the guys at Fish Tech for tonights fishing report.


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