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Canyoneering Telephone & Behunin Canyon
Zion National Park Utah

Date: 06/10/06

Click for TOPO! map of Telephone Canyon ACA Rating: 3A IV & Behunin Canyon
ACA Rating: 3A III

*additional info at bottom of page

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Trip Report

Donnie B., Gary, and I linked Telephone and Behunin together on Saturday. Picked Donnie up at his place Friday afternoon and raced to the backcountry desk to pull the permit for Telephone and get a drive-in tag. While making conversation with the attractive ranger Donnie asked her what her favorite canyon was. She replied “oh, definitely Goose Creek.” Donnie and I exchanged a glance which she must have detected because she quickly added “before the closure, of course.” Uh…ya…sure.

Found a sweet, little, secluded spot just outside of town and promptly went to bed. A few hours of fitful sleep, a full moon, and biting mosquitoes and suddenly the alarm goes off. Its 3:15 and time to go. Begin hiking at the Grotto at 4:15. I couldn’t believe the absolute beauty at the overlook with the rising sun and perfect temperatures. Continued to crank up the West Rim trail, at the entrance to Behunin we had a brief discussion about the “West Behunin” guys and how they missed the entrance, continued on to the junction with the Telephone canyon trail. We arrived at the head of Telephone at 8:00. A little water, great entry rappels and a fast dropping canyon make for a great early morning. Telephone was the first time I was able to be at the entry into a canyon and be able to see the exit in the distance. That’s how quickly Telephone drops. Donnie was down first and promptly noticed that someone had been through very recently, new webbing and the tell tale orange fuzz of a canyon pro rope on all the edges. We had a blast in Telephone, the beginning section and the middle sections are very scenic with great rappels. On the third rappel we experienced the horrific rope pull that we had been warned about. I finally gave up and was pulling out my tiblocs and webbing when Gary threw me aside and said “let a MAN try first.” With some wicked whipping and cowboy lasso type loops he was able to free the rope. We called him the “Cowboy” the rest of the day. Later on in the canyon we adjusted the anchor in one spot to allow for an easier pull, since the majority of the rappels had tough pulls. In a few down climbing spots, Donnie B. amazed us with his 5.13 climbing abilities, after watching him make the moves, Gary and I looked at each other and said “uh…ya.. I think we’ll rig a rope.” Overall the anchors in the canyon were in good condition; the anchors at the last rappel weren’t very inspiring but looked solid enough. We finished Telephone at noon and hit the social trail contouring out and back to the West Rim Trail. We took a brief rest in the shade before slogging back up hill to the entrance to Behunin.

We dropped into Behunin at 1:00. It was the first time in Behunin for Gary and Donnie and they liked it. Even I had forgotten how fun the four entry rappels are. While pulling the ropes at the bottom of the 4th rappel we heard this massive rumbling, rock fall. We walked down the canyon a little bit and came upon a ton of red dust and fresh rock. Very interesting to see the white sand slowly fade to red as we hiked over the new debris. Glad we weren’t ten minutes faster. Marveled at the deep pothole at rappel seven. Gary attempted to avoid the water at the bottom, did a great dance move with slipping feet trying to gain purchase and finally slipped into the chest deep water. Caught up to a party of three at the last rappel who had rigged two ropes for a simul-rap. Donnie asked if we could rap down their ropes, they agreed and down we went. Arrived at the bottom at 5:00

Overall a great day. From Grotto to Grotto was 14 hours. Telephone and Behunin make a great link-up. The two canyons complement each other because after dealing with Telephone you’re ready for the straight forward Behunin. Telephone had very little water; we only got our ankles wet while Behunin had the typical wet spots. Thanks to Donnie and Gary for the great company and intriguing conversations.

Christian N.

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