Today is Halloween, thus I will be eating junk food, going to school, and watching Walking Dead. But I am not here to talk about these, I am here to talk about the scariest hikes for the season! Yes, there are hikes that I have been on that are dangerous, nerve racking and a we bit scary, especially for those who are terrified of heights or who are claustrophobic. So Lets do a count down of the scariest hikes I have been on.
5- Spooky Slot Canyon
Hopefully you are not claustrophobic because this hike will put you in a pinch that is uncomfortable for even some of the most experienced canyoneerers. Spooky slot canyon is located down the Hole-n-The Rock Trail in Escalante Utah and is usually done with a few other slot canyons which are all right next to each other. I went when I was about 16 with my dad and a few others. After we began going down we soon learned why it was called spooky. The slot narrows down to about 15 inches wide, too narrow to walk straight, but have to shuffle sideways down this dark windy canyon. And the only way to escape the canyon is to squeeze through a section of canyon that is 8 inches wide. If you weigh more then 200 pounds you may not be able to go on this hike, or will get stuck.
4- Kings Peak
Kings Peak is the tallest mountain in Utah. It’s found in the Uinta Mountains on the north east side of the state, and is often a destination for Boy Scouts. The hike in its self is not all that dangerous. You start at base camp and work nine miles up to the top of the mountain then come back down. But it’s in the coming back down where things get dicey, especially if you take the short cut.
If you have ever been to the mountain you will see that at the base of the mountain there is a big chute that descends about 1500 feet to the valley below, and in the valley is base camp. (The chute is that big snow streak that leads into the valley) If you do this it will shave 4 or 5 five miles off your trek home. But the trade off is a land slide mecca. When my dad had descended it earlier they could hear rocks clatter and fall from the cliff sides around them. When we went down, we had to go down in a horizontal line 10 feet apart from each other so that if we kicked up a rock or landslide it wouldn’t kill the people below us. Remember a 10 pound rock moving at 10 or 15 miles an hour can bust you up as bad as a bullet.
3- Hidden Canyon
I have written about this hike in the past and if you have been following you will have seen the pictures of this place. There, just before you get to slot canyon portion of this hike you must walk along the edge of a cliff, giving this hike the third place position. The space to walk on is no larger then two people wide and often is only wide enough for one. To make things better, the cliff you are walking next to has about a 600 foot drop. So if you can’t handle heights this might be a tough hike to finish. Fatalities have occurred here, but the hike is worth it once you get past this portion and get to the slot canyon.
2- Repelling in Zions.
I am actually not sure what this hike is called. I was 17 when I went, and it was for The Boy Scouts so I was not really planning it. I just know its in Zion National Park. The hike begins out side the park but slowly works its way down a wash that turns into an amazing repelling trip through some slot canyons. Well this one lands into number 2 because if you have never been repelling before, it’s one heck of a thing to convince yourself to lean backwards off a cliff.
The hike had 8 repels. The first had a lip that requires you to jump and drop at the same time or you will smack your face on the rock. The others where some what more simple except the 110 foot repel. That one was simple stand at the edge of the cliff and lean backwards till you were walking on the cliff wall rather then the ground. Then you had to drop down 110 feet which is a long ways. Just don’t let go of the rope.
1- Angels Landing
I choose this hike as the scariest hike to go on for the season. The entire hike is next to a cliff. The first part of the hike is not terribly bad but still quite strenuous. This will take you to scouts landing, which is the beginning of Angels Landing. Before you actually go any farther there is a sign that says something like 6 people have died on this hike since 2004. So about 1 a year. From that point on you are walking on a fin that takes you about half a mile out to center of the canyon.
It’s not long into the journey where you are walking on a spot that is only wide enough for single file lines with 1000 foot cliffs on both sides. Not only that, most of the hike you are next to these 1000 foot cliffs but there are chains in place so you have something to hold onto. The other things that make this uncomfortable is that if you tripped and stumbled, the mountain is nicely sloped making it easy to simply roll off. One time when I was here I stumbled but caught my self before I fell, but as I looked around I realized how easily it could have been my last mistake. It’s safe to say I was a little more cautious after that.
Last time I was at Angels landing some poor lady from Wyoming was hyperventilating all the way up the hike, but I think she made it. Many others don’t make it to the end but turn around at Scouts Landing. I say press forward. The hike is rewarding but requires some nerve to push your way to the end.
Well that is my list, but no doubt next year when I do this again, there will be some new ones. Have a happy Halloween and I hope you have a fantastic time munching on candy and watching Walking Dead too.