Rodeonexis Photo

Dangerous Beauty

When the average person thinks of the American southwest, grand vistas with spotted deserts come to mind. Less often will the same person think of the macro aspects of the desert. What makes it so amazing, and what about the finer details? That’s where slot canyons come in. These dangerous places are nevertheless intriguing, and therefore draw us into their depths. The same carving force that has created these smooth vertical walls will bash and drown its victims instantly if heavy rains are introduced. Even if there are blue skies above, floods from other regions can dissipate to where you stand.  Imagine trying to get out of this place quickly:

Dangerous Beauty

Zebra Slot, found deep in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT

Finding this canyon was a pain in the neck, even with notes. With that said, here are the directions to Zebra Slot. Then you, too, can tempt fate and experience the unimaginable:

  • From the town of Escalante, UT, drive about 5 miles SE on Hwy 12.
  • A well defined sign for Hole-in-the-Rock Rd will emerge on the right hand side of the highway. Turn right here.
  • Drive 7.76 miles to a cattle guard that crosses the well graded road. You will see a small dirt parking area on the right. On the left is the trail head. Keep in mind, this point is 1.06 miles North of the Harris Wash turnoff.
  • Grab snacks and plenty of water, then start the 2.61 mile hike to Zebra Slot.
  • Follow the trail until you come to Harris Wash. You’ll know you’re there because it’s by far the largest dry wash that crosses your path. On its edge should be a distinct cairn after about 2 miles. Turn left here.
  • Follow the wash for a few minutes, and the main wash will curve to the left around some slick rock buttes. Look for a smaller but significant wash that continues straight. This is very close to the slot.
  • Follow the subsidiary wash to a crack in the rock wall. Quickly, you will see this leads to a small canyon. Once inside, it’s time to get creative. You will see the striations on the walls, but to get to the best “zebra stripes,” you will have to friction climb a few obstacles, and finally a dry fall.

Though this place is visited quite often, be smart. This would be the perfect place to fall from a friction climb and lodge your foot in the V-shaped canyon bottom.  But with that said, go off and challenge your mind, eyes, and body to a short but exciting adventure…

Check back later this week for more details and images from © Rodeonexis Photography…brought to you by Jeremy Weir
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