Pine Creek

Zion National Park, Utah

June   , 2007

Dave Svilar, Jill


Jill raps into the Golden Cathedral.  Waiting at the bottom to greet Jill was a freezing cesspool


With my ultra-marathon coming up in three days Jill and I decided to have a lazy day in Zion National Parking Lot.  Unfortunately, having a lazy and pleasant day in Zion is difficult.  The crush of people in the "valley" is nearly unbearable.  We took a short walk from the visitor center and found what we thought was a shady, quiet spot to read by the river.  Not more than an hour into our read a girl in her 20's showed up and plopped down 20 feet from us.  Yet another example of a person who has no comprehension of another's space.  Since I can only read and sit around for a finite amount of time we thought we'd take a ganter down Pine Creek to end our day.

The waiting backfired as cumulous clouds began building over the park.  I debated whether to start down the slot canyon (flash floods), and finally at 4:00 pm we parked the Toyota at the upper end of the long tunnel and dropped into the slot.  From our experience, most of these adventures require some sort of boring desert walk in order to reach the slot.  In Pine Creek we immediately got into the business, with a short downclimb, followed by a couple of raps.  The longer rappel dropped us into the Golden Cathedral which required a short, icy swim.  This began a stretch of the most beautiful slot canyon scenery I'd ever witnessed.  Unfortunately, by this point in the day the sun had dropped too low in the sky taking the excitement out of my photos.  I stopped playing with my camera when I realized that Jill was shivering violently.  We hustled through another rap and finally popped out of the slot into the sunlight.  I hadn't wanted to spend the $$ to rent wetsuits, so I was especially glad Jill's shivering didn't end in something more serious.

We finished with the one of the most exciting rappels I've ever done - a 100 foot hanger that delivered us out of the slot.  A brief stomp brought us to the top of one of the roadside switchbacks, and the first car that passed gave me a ride back to the top of the tunnel.  Pine Creek will be remembered as one of the most scenic and enjoyable slots we've done, and most importantly, for my legs that were about to run 50 miles - it was the shortest. 

Jill looking up at the highway just a couple of hundred yards from the Toyota.  The rappels started in just a few hundred more yards.


After her cool swim, Jill takes a minute to gaze back up at the incredibly sculpted Great Cathedral.


A scene in the most beautiful slot I've ever encountered.  This photo would have been improved with the sun overhead.


Sweet Release  Hypothermic Jill emerges into the sun.


The sound of cars driving above Pine Creek give this adventure a unique flavor.  The hole in the side of the cliff is a window for motorists in Zion's long tunnel.


Beautiful texturing in the lower part of Pine Creek.


Jill on the last rappel.  A 100-foot hanger.  One of the most exciting rappels


Dave hitches a ride back up the road.

- written October 2007

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