Larry Scritchfield deep in the Black Hole of White Canyon.
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It's easy in a blog post to fall into the trap of making a canyoneering trip sound more dangerous and dramatic than it really was, but the Black Hole of White Canyon is one of the pure fun ones, at least in the conditions we experienced--clear and warm early fall weather, no danger of flood, easy swimming, and reasonable water temperatures. Conditions change, and this trip can be more serious, but except for a couple of short stinky pools and a short, tricky climb up a log to get back to the rim at the end (probably avoidable), our trip in early October was not at all scary. We used a short piece of rope to belay the log (thanks, Larry), but otherwise, needed no gear besides our wetsuits.
Larry Scritchfield on a warm-up hike in Fry Canyon the day before we did the Black Hole.
Approaching White Canyon--it drains a vast complicated area.
Me and Larry at the warning sign that was placed one season when a huge "unstable debris jam" clogged the Black Hole. The jam has since been washed away.
In White Canyon above the Black Hole.
Getting ready to suit up for the Black Hole--the water was cold enough for wetsuits, but not very uncomfortable with them on.
Jim Akers, emerging from one of the early swims.
Jim and Larry in a Black Hole slot.
Jim and Larry, emerging from one slot swim...
...and entering another.
More swimming--at one point, we swam past a tarantula sitting on a ledge, but it turned out to be dead. How did it get there in the first place?
Jim Akers in full neoprene.
Warming up, like guards at Buckingham Palace, but less ridiculous.
Easy travel between pools. Note the flood debris wedged in about 30 feet above Larry's head.
Unpleasant travel in log-filled pools. Luckily, there was only one small section like this.
Jim and Larry, avoiding a stinky pool.
Jim with a stick. You'd have to ask Jim.
A corkscrew section, with occasional water.
Fins and water, deep in the Black Hole.
Larry and Jim approaching a fin section.
Climbing on slickrock to avoid another stinky pool (most were not stinky).
Jim, mucking around before climbing past a stinky section near the end of the difficulties.
Out! We left cars at the beginning and end of the trip, with cold beer in the latter.