Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

What’s around the next corner in Crack Addict Canyon

Posted in Northern Arizona & the Mogollon Rim by canyoneering on July 16, 2012

Crack Addict Canyon, 3AIII
approximately 5 miles
Coconino National Forest


“What’s around the next corner,” is one of the more intoxicating aspects of canyoneering. For this reason first descents or perceived first descents (in most cases you can’t know with 100% certainty that you are the first one down) are so exciting and seductive. Almost on par with a first descent is that where you have absolutely no beta on a canyon, but know others have been down before. Such was the case during an early Spring time romp down a Mogollon Rim drainage. We were tipped off by a friend that something was there although he himself had never descended the canyon nor knew a single detail about it. All he knew, directly from those who had actually been down, was where it was and that they called it, Crack Addict.

After nearly getting Kyle’s pick-up stuck in thick mud on the drive up we bedded down on a cool night under Ponderosa Pine trees and bright stars. The following morning, as we finished on foot what we could not continue the night before by vehicle, I couldn’t help but wonder what was in store for us. Would it be a gem or a stinker, easy or hard, dry or wet? Probably best to be prepared, but not expect too much.

With that what we found was a canyon with nearly a dozen rappels, fine sculpted sandstone walls and nearly devoid of water, except in the frozen form as several giant and compacted snow patches filled the canyon bottom at the base of a few rappels. Webbing existed at several drops but with clear signs of Father Time, as in one case a sapling had grown several feet right through a rappel ring.

Crack Addict is not destined to be a rock star or classic as others in the area, but it is a fine canyon indeed. It far surpassed my tempered expectations. Not knowing only enriched the experience. This does make me stop and think how guide books, online beta, forums and blogs, including this one, effect the experience of others. The truth is there is a lot of good, some bad, black, white and a million shades of gray in between that comes with that communication. In the end we live in an era where communication is easier and more aggressive than ever, nobody is stopping this reality and for the most part that is a good thing. Never the less, it feels good when you get the opportunity to get out and see what’s around that corner of the unknown.