Aires Butte & Full Keyhole Canyon

Where: Zion National Park, Utah
When: April 2008
Partners: DB & Aron Ralston

DB just below the Aires Butte-South Ariel Peak col

Five years to the minute after Aron Ralston got his right arm pinned under a boulder in a lonely Utah slot canyon, he downclimbed past a dead deer in a slot and slid into a pool of water filled with maggots.

Meeting up the evening before, Aron, DB and I got started at a leisurely hour for a link-up of Aires Butte, a fun 4-pitch 5.5 slab climb that I'd already done twice, and Keyhole Canyon, a technical slot I'd done five times, on Zion National Park's east side. This time, we wanted to do the full Keyhole, dropping into the slot a quarter mile up-canyon from the usual spot that people know.
Aron leading the 1st pitch on Aires Butte

With a single chest deep wade for me, a climb-over for Aron, and a swim for DB, our wetsuits were not needed in the upper canyon, which featured quite a few nice narrows and some easy downclimbing, though we certainly appreciated them in the very chilly lower Keyhole. Water was somewhat low, but April can be a chilly month for Zion slots.

With smiles on our faces and our toes still warming, we returned to the car at the late hour of 7 p.m. and headed to Oscar's in Springdale for dinner.
DB belays Aron