Conditions:Old Bill Canyon-20230522030044

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Latest:

21 May 2023 (18 days ago)

Reported by: Lukemurray2016 (3 reports)
Quality:

Great
Waterflow:
Deep pools
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Wetsuit:
None
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Water temperature:
55F deg C
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Difficulty:
Normal
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Time: Time4.png 10 hours Bar4.png

Team: 4 people with experience level Intermediate to Advanced

Trip report URL:

Comments: First time through Old Bill Canyon. Not as intimidating as people make it seem. Everything is bolted or has a great natural anchor, the big wall can be done easily with 200' ropes, and the pools got warmer and warmer as we got down the canyon.

We did probably 15-18 rappels. A lot of raps in the upper section can be downclimbed easily by wedging in to the crack. If you don't look for downclimbs you could easily rap 30 times.

I have to agree with the beta on this page that it is ridiculous that going through the state park, which for some reason has their boundaries go right up to the cliffsides of both LDC and RDC in the exit, is illegal. It creates for a more dangerous exit on an already long day. Would love to work with the park and some advocacy groups to find a solution there.


All condition reports


Date Quality Waterflow Wetsuit Difficulty Time Team Reported by


Great

Deep pools
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None
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Time4.png 9 hours
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5 people
Beginner to Advanced
RFontaine (125 reports)
Comment: This is a great canyon that is of similar style/feel to String of Pearls or Mud Springs but is a step up challenge wise due to more advanced downclimbs and rappels.

We set our shuttle at First Creek TH and hiked in from Little Zion TH. The hike up was very easy and straight forward. I don't understand why anyone would go in via QD approach, this seems like the more arduous option. The shuttle drive is only 30 mins.

Some of the downclimbs are similar to Northwash where you stem or chimney down, elbow pads would be nice to avoid wearing holes in your shirt like I did...

The big sequence is very nice, perhaps the best part.

We spent some time wresting with a stuck rope on the first anchor of the big sequence. Eventually got it free with some effort.

There were a few ankle to waist deep pools through out and 1 brief swimmer. The water was very refreshing, no wetsuits required.

Canyon is very straight forward, plenty of bolted anchors.

On our exit we disregarded the GPX and crossed open desert staying well above the state facilities below. There are plenty of small use trails to follow, leading over to First Creek Trail. We saw people at the facilities below and none of them bothered us. Staying just below the cliff band on rough terrain above seems like an obnoxious and unnecessary option. Didnt see any "tree cops", didnt get close enough to the trees I guess...

The original beta on this page was a hodgepodge of old mis-placed trip reports and outdated information, so I cleaned it up.

Enjoy!
21 May 2023


Great

Deep pools
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None
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Normal
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Time4.png 10 hours
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4 people
Intermediate to Advanced
Lukemurray2016 (3 reports)
Comment: First time through Old Bill Canyon. Not as intimidating as people make it seem. Everything is bolted or has a great natural anchor, the big wall can be done easily with 200' ropes, and the pools got warmer and warmer as we got down the canyon.

We did probably 15-18 rappels. A lot of raps in the upper section can be downclimbed easily by wedging in to the crack. If you don't look for downclimbs you could easily rap 30 times.

I have to agree with the beta on this page that it is ridiculous that going through the state park, which for some reason has their boundaries go right up to the cliffsides of both LDC and RDC in the exit, is illegal. It creates for a more dangerous exit on an already long day. Would love to work with the park and some advocacy groups to find a solution there.


Amazing

Deep pools
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Full wetsuit
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Special challenges
Bar3.png
Time4.png 9 hours
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7 people
Beginner to Expert
Scientist (7 reports)
Comment: Great canyon! Amazing views. We did in total about 15 rappels and some very good down-climbs. Nice cool weather, some deep pools with couple of swimmers. All stations were in a good shape and easy to find. Will do again.


Ok

Deep pools
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Thin wetsuit
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Normal
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2 people
Advanced
Ibleedcoffee (5 reports)
Comment: Approach through questionable is... Questionable at best. Canyon is rather mediocre for the exit that needs to be completed. Beta is completely off on the entire page re: length and amount of raps and downclimbs.


Great

Deep pools
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None
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Normal
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Time4.png 11 hours
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10 people
Intermediate to Advanced
Coalemus (149 reports)
Comment: Some people brought thin wetsuits but everyone agreed they were unnecessary as the day was warm, much of the water in the upper section was avoidable and, after the big wall sequence, the mandatory swim felt refreshing. We used 200' ropes so a rebelay at the semi-hanging ledge was necessary. We had a very hard pull (rope was in a crack or something?) but otherwise everything went smoothly. I think we did 10 or 11 raps. Part of our party followed the kml up onto a sketchy trail above the cliffs and regretted it. Of those that exited via state park trails, anyone passing by after 5pm was harassed and made to pay 4 whole dollars (with only threats of a fine). I think the best route here is to stay low and just skirt the edge of the SP fence, following burro trails. The beta here is trash and needs fixed bad. Next time I do this canyon I'm going to pay more attention and start this page from scratch.


Good

Very Low
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Thin wetsuit
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Normal
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Time4.png 9 hours
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4 people
Advanced
Erichransom (20 reports)
Comment: Alternative approach used without shuttle using Questionable Decision approach. Just hop over the saddle on Decision Peak and descend south into Old Bill. Also watch out for the exit red flags...i suggest a high traverse north back to car to avoid government land


Great

Very Low
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None
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Normal
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Time4.png 10 hours
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4 people
Morgan (103 reports)
Comment: No shuttle - approached as for Questionable Decision, then continued up to a saddle and down to the drop-in. Do not exit through the state park - even though nothing is posted and the obvious trail simply says “Stay on trail,” our group was issued warnings by park LE for being in the park without entering through the fee station/park trail system.


Amazing

Deep pools
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None
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Normal
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Time4.png 9 hours
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6 people
Advanced to Expert
Conrad (12 reports)
Comment: This canyon does not deserve a 4 technical rating in my opinion. Perhaps before every rap station was bolted a 4 could be justified due to the large rap sequence after the first narrows section, but now with all of the bolts you can easily complete the entire canyon with a 200' rope. The big rap sequence consists of three stations and a very easy down on climb canyon right that the most beginner canyoneer can easily walk down.

Most of the water sections can be easily avoided with some expert stemming and bridging although there is one required 20' swim near the end of the canyon. More experienced canyoneers can easily setup a guided rappel here so that the entire group doesn't have to get wet however for us the weather was good and the water while cold, was actually pretty refreshing. All of the water holes were very cold but filled with very fresh clear water.

The first narrows section in my opinion is probably the most technical and requires some interesting rope work skills if you want to get a group through quickly. There are also some pretty good spicy downclimbs so a strong down climber is recommended and a group with strong partner assist skills.


Good

Very Low
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Thin wetsuit
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Special challenges
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6 people
CC (93 reports)
Comment: Enjoyable long canyon. A lot of additional anchors that were downclimbs per Bluugnome but some groups may be comfortable as raps. Lots of narrow sections and various fun downclimns, not a lot of empty slogs so always doing something. several rabbit holes in the final sections & bouldering, water was chilly but only 1 was a swimmer with the others being waist deep, 12 hours with a several stops for adjusting clothing & lunch/snacks.




StevePearce@Facebook (2 reports)
Comment: extracts from Facebook posts, click link for full details (privacy restrictions may apply)
  • " Good times descending Old Bill Canyon last Saturday. Thanks to Lee T Wilson for leading us and to the California team for traveling to join us." Old Bill Canyon


Great

Swimming
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Full wetsuit
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Normal
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Time4.png 11 hours
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8 people
Intermediate to Advanced
Tiffanie (139 reports)
Comment: Considering all the bad feedback of the canyon, I found this canyon quite enjoyable. The canyon offers a variety of narrow slots, downclimbs, little caves/rabbit holes, awkward starts, jumps, and bouldering that kept our group entertained. The water was frigid and despite having a 4/3 + windbreaker, I still found myself shivering (even with the sun shining). Pools were crystal clear. We went at a leisurely pace and still completed the trip (car-to-car) in 12 hours. We left at First Creek trailhead at 5:30 AM.


Good

Dry
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None
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Easy
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Time4.png 9 hours
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2 people
Expert
Lucach (75 reports)
Comment: A long haul to do a somehow average canyon. Lots of new bolts avoid the difficult downclimbs.