Cassidy Arch Canyon (3AII)

Where: Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
When: March 2009
Partners: DB

Heading up the Cassidy Arch Trail

Rising casually from our camp on BLM land, DB and I headed into Capitol Reef eager to explore this mostly-unknown-to-us national park. Stopping off at the Goosenecks overlook, we then headed in to the visitor center and inquired with the ranger there about routes up Capitol Dome (she said she didn't know of anyone having been up there before) and Ferns Nipple. We decided on Ferns Nipple.

Arriving at the Ferns Nipple/Cassidy Arch trailhead, we made a last-minute decision to bag the canyon afterall. Tom had recommended it as a nice half-day affair, and we were in a canyoneering mindset. So we set out on the stunningly beautiful trail to the arch.
Our first view of Cassidy Arch from the trail

Ferns Nipple (right of center) from the trail

Soon reaching the top of the arch, we established an anchor off of a small juniper at the edge of the drop and headed 140 feet down to a slot. A short hike down-canyon brought us to a 2-bolt anchor on a slab above another 140-foot drop. The view back up to the arch was stunning!
Looking up at Cassidy Arch from the area of the 2nd rappel

Below the second rappel, which culminated in a little overhung grotto, the canyon made a hard left turn. Soon, a few more short rappels presented themselves, one of them through another arch. Below that, a challenging downclimb leading to another downclimb and then a fork in the canyon. Hmmm, a quick look down the left fork quickly displayed an impressive dryfall.
DB at the fork

Just down-canyon of the fork, we came upon another 2-bolt anchor above an arch. Sweet - 3 arch rappels in this canyon!
DB above the 3rd arch rappel in the canyon

Looking up at the 3rd arch rappel

Just below the third arch rappel, we gained a slab on the left that led to a 2-bolt anchor for a rappel to the canyon floor. Negotiating this rappel, we headed down-canyon to another short rappel (or stiff downclimb) that led to walking ground leading back to the road.
DB on the 3rd arch rappel

Heading back to the vehicle to drop the gear, DB and I then hiked back up the trail to the arch to retrieve our webbing and rappel ring. What followed was a pleasant hike back down the trail to our patiently waiting vehicle.