Outfitter: Excursions of Escalante
It's rare to pick a trip specifically because it has a great guide, but Rick Green, owner of the Escalante, Utah-based canyoneering company Excursions of Escalante, has past clients who are willing to travel across the country to go on new trips with him.
"He's amazing," says Tampa, Florida, resident Lucinda Zuaro who has been on several canyoneering trips with Green. "I've been on quite a lot of guided trips and he's just the best. He's very patient and able to talk you through these technical moves you never thought you could do." Zuaro plans to return to Utah this fall with her mother to try out the company's newest trip: backcountry canyoneering in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Green, who's been scouting new routes in southern Utah for 15 years, recently got a permit to run trips in Glen Canyon. Unlike other popular canyoneering spots in the area, Glen Canyon is almost entirely composed of the type of sandstone that's ideal for the sport, meaning there are many more canyons to explore. And because of its remote location and the fact that no else runs similar trips there, many of its canyons are virtually untouched. "For the record, the canyons are sweet," says Green. "This is about as remote as it gets in Southwest canyoneering and the variety is seemingly endless."
On a typical three-night trip, you'll hike two to three hours into a base camp, and from there launch day trips into different canyons. Depending on factors like the weather and the skill level and interests of the group, Green will select suitable canyons each day. Then, using ropes and skills you'll learn such as bridging and stemming, you'll wind your way up and down narrow slot canyons.
All Glen Canyon trips scheduled this spring are full, but more trips are lined up for September and October. Trips include all technical and camping equipment, guiding, and meals. You don't need canyoneering experience for this trip, but you should be in good shape. Escalante is a little less than 300 miles from Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, the nearest major cities.