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Arco Grande

Recently I've been interested in scouting out little canyons surrounding St George to get out and do when I don't have a full day to play. I've been running around the rims of several canyons that I've found by searching on topo maps and google earth, and I've found a few pretty cool ones, both big and small. This canyon was scouted out by my good friend, Brent Mecham. One of my favorite things about Canyoneering as a sport is that age doesn't seem to create any barriers for making new friends. Many of the great people that I've met while Canyoneering are a lot older than me, but you'd never know it based off of how well we all get along. Since I met him, Brent has been an incredible team player, hype man, and friend. He's a badass adventurer and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.


Anyways, down to business. Brent told me he had scouted out a new canyon with potential for a big 300' drop. When he told me where it was, I was surprised to find out that it was one of the canyons I had planned to go check out later that week. Brent had already done the work of finding an approach route and finding an anchor for the first rappel. Somebody had already bolted the entry rappel for the canyon.


Turns out, just because the canyon is bolted, doesn't means it's easy. For some reason unbeknownst to me, the first descensionists of this route elected to place the bolts way out on a blank face with a shoddy traverse line to get over to it. The traverse line was totally sun rotted when we got to it, and there was no way I was about to hang on that alone, so I climbed up the hill and rapped down to the anchor from above. From there, I rerigged the fixed traverse line, set the next rappel for about 150' to a ledge (I eyeballed it), and went down the first drop while Brent cleaned up behind me and traversed out to the anchor.


Looking down, I decided it would be easier to rap down to the next ledge rather than re-rig for another rappel, so I radioed up to Brent and asked him to give me another 70' or so of rope, making for a 220' rappel instead of the 150' that I had originally guessed. That ended up being spot on, and I ended up in a nice little crack on a ledge, with some more bolts around the corner. Brent came down after me and tied on a second rope to use for the pull, since our rope was 370' and not 440' like we would need for such a long rap. After pulling the rope and cleaning up, Brent and I down climbed around the corner to another bolted anchor where we went down about 100'.

After this, we continued our descent of the canyon with a lot of boulder hopping and one nuisance rappel before getting to one last 40' rap where the canyon took a sharp right. We could see the big drop just ahead and made our way down to it. I spotted the rappel anchor in the middle of a big bowl on top of a large dryfall, buried in a mountain of tat. All of the webbing and rope were absolutely rotted and torn to shreds. They must've been up there for years.


We rigged the last rappel with our 370' foot rope and a toggle. We weren't sure how long it was and we prepared to pass a knot if it ended up being too short. Turns out it was way shorter than we expected, at 280' or so. It felt airy though, and definitely seemed like a huge rappel. We got to pass two massive arches on the way down as well, hence the name "Arco Grande".


We made it back to the car and headed to Guru's for some food after. Yum! Thanks for the great day Brent!

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