Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

Too good to pass up in Frye Mesa Canyon

Posted in Southern & Central Arizona by canyoneering on August 25, 2014

Katie swims during David's trip.

Frye Mesa Canyon, aka S’mores Canyon, 3CII
Coronado National Forest – Pinaleno Mountains
04/26/14, 04/30/14

Laura was able to get away for the day and join the crew for a run down a new Class C canyon we had become aware of, Frye Mesa Canyon, also referred to as S’mores Canyon. I met Laura, Eric, Kyle and Mark for dinner after they finished their run. They were still buzzing describing it as an “instant classic”. As I listened to their canyon tales from the day, the wheels began turning in my head to try and figure out how I could sneak in a descent before summer temps and diminishing snowmelt would make the canyon less desirable. With an extremely busy schedule, a working mom and a 3 year old to boot, I could only find one day where it would even be possible. That day was smack in the middle of my upcoming work week. Now I just needed to get the day off from work and find some partners that can also take a day off from work on a Wednesday just four days in advance. Miraculously I was able to do both and without telling the boss I suddenly got a cold! While rush hour traffic was heading west on the US60 into downtown Phoenix, Brian, Katie and I head east as we make our way to the Pinaleno Mountains.

Mark rappels during Laura's trip.

Its a dusty and windy day as we make our way up an old jeep road to the head of the canyon. We are quickly able to see several waterfalls from the approach that in a short time we will be rappelling down. We know we are in for a fun day. Upon arrival about 2 cubic feet per second flow through a corridor of polished off white granite with blemishes of beiges and blues, providing the backdrop for a number of exciting rappels, down climbs and slides. The lower section is particularly exciting as the canyon bottom narrows into less than a body width, intensifying the flow. It is every bit as much a rock star as Laura, Eric, Kyle and Mark described. The canyon ends just on the other side of Frye Mesa Reservoir from where our vehicle is parked. Brian and I wade into the reservoir and swim the less than quarter mile across. It is the first time the exit from a descent is via swimming instead of on foot, completing what I would also characterize as an instant classic. If only every Wednesday could be spent this way.