Telephone Canyon

When: Fall 2005
Partners: Mike Cressman & Rick Kent
Rating: 3AIII

I don't remember who it was, but someone once recommended an obscure canyon for me to do in Zion National Park. Short and sweet, but packing a punch, I was told that Telephone Canyon could be combined with the popular and classic Behunin Canyon for a fine day of canyoneering.

So one morning, Rick Kent, Mike Cressman and I started up the West Rim Trail on our approach to Telephone. Making good time up past Scout Lookout, and eventually, Behunin Pass, we soon gained the rim. There, we left the trail and headed cross-country to our drop-in a short distance away.

Despite a reasonable weather forecast, as we hauled out a rope for the first rappel, a short step that would bring us to the station for the biggest rappel of the day, a cold wind arose, clouds rolled in, and the mood became ominous. The first two rappels were dispatched without incident.

And then we wandered down canyon...

What a terrific canyon Telephone is! Lots of downclimbs, short rappels, weaving and bobbing through slots. Nothing particularly hard, and everything enjoyable.

Encountering water as we neared the lower part of the slot, Mike bridged his body across a pothole so that I could climb up and over his back and drop down to dry terrain, thereby avoiding getting wet. A bit of ingenuity for the simple sake of fun.

Below the "human bridge," another rappel or two, and then we were finished with the canyon. We hadn't secured permits for Behunin, so instead we collected our gear and made the short hike back down to the Grotto.

*Photos courtesy of Rick Kent