Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

Jet lagged in Barney Spring Canyon

Posted in Northern Arizona & the Mogollon Rim by canyoneering on May 5, 2009

Barney Spring Canyon, 4BIVR
10.1 miles
Coconino National Forest, tributary of the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon


Barney Spring is one of those canyons that in all honesty has a scary reputation, what I like to call a “man eater”. Barney Spring is portrayed as being for only the most brave and learned souls. Naturally this meant Barney Spring Canyon was something that must be conquered. Barney Spring is known for its many awkward rappels and of course the infamous keeper pothole (hence being a “man eating” canyon).

The day before we did the canyon I flew back to Arizona after a wonderful and relaxing week in Maine with my family. One day I was eating lobster by the Atlantic the next I was bushwhacking and boulder hopping on almost no sleep. David picked me up from the airport (needless to say my flight was very late getting in) with all our canyon gear ready to go and we headed up 89A past Oak Creek Canyon to camp with Pat and Chris.

On about 4 hours of sleep (and jet lag for me) our group headed out for the canyon. Barney Spring Canyon is a beautiful and fun canyon with about 10 rappels. The big event of the day was the tricky pothole escape. After an hour of trial and error David and Chris screamed and grunted their way up and out of the pothole so all Pat and I had to do was swim across the pothole and climb up the etrier attached to Chris. Barney Spring is technical, strenuous and an exercise in teamwork.

Probably the greatest treat of the day was after the technical canyon section was over; a six mile hike in the sweet light of early evening down the beautiful and majestic canyon, The West Fork of Oak Creek, to our car at the Call of the Canyon trailhead.



4 Responses

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  1. […] sight after a long day of technical canyoneering as a number of technical canyons drain into it (Barney Spring & Flintstone). The creek meanders through boulders and red rock. Along the way it carves narrow […]

    • Jay W said, on July 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      Hey im thinkin of doing barney springs, Will a 60 millimeter (197 feet) rope get me thru this hike on double rope rappel ?

      • canyoneering said, on July 2, 2011 at 11:45 pm

        I think you mean 60 meters as 60 millimeters is just over two inches. You will be cutting it really close by just taking one 60 meter rope. I think the longest rap is a little over 100 feet and if the anchors have changed you could be in trouble with just a 200 footer. Also what happens if you get a core shot in your rope? I would highly recommend taking at least an additional 50-60 feet of rope. I think we took a 200- foot rope a 100- footer. Good luck. It is a great canyon.

  2. […] wasn’t yet part of his resume. I had descended the canyon with Laura shortly after I had begun canyoneering five summers ago. My recollection is that it was the first canyon descent during which time I was thinking this is […]

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