Holy Cow Canyon
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Difficulty:4B III (v4a2 III)
Raps:6, max ↨100ft
Red Tape:No permit required
29 Oct 2023
"What an amazing canyon!
Water level: Deepest was chest level. Some other unavoidable parts were shin- to waist-deep.Wetsuit: One person had a well-
Holy Cow is an adventure that requires work and teamwork. It requires advanced canyoneering techniques as there are no fixed anchors in place. It is a pretty canyon, one of my favorites in the Escalante area. We used pothole scape tools, fiddlesticks, sandtraps, and possible water anchors if full of water. Longest Rap is 100' We did the canyon two weeks after the last precipitation in the fall and we still required wetsuits with the water level in one pothole to the chest.
The approach from the parking lot follows a well-marked trail until you find a distinctive large rock (37.77351, -111.19230), you need to turn right and look for the uphill approach. You will be able to identify the ledge (37.77469, -111.19705) that you need to take to get to the next level. It is a ledge that a good climber will have no problem to ascend and others may need assistance. It is exposed. Once over the edge, you will go west finding your way through the cross fins to the top (37.77511, -111.19929). Continue northwest until you get into the drainage of Holy Cow (37.77642, -111.20231) keep following the drainage until you get to the technical area.
I will not spoil the canyon with details, sufficiently to know that you will need: experience with retrievable anchors (we used fiddle stick), potshots sometimes we used mud/pebbles instead of sand, people able to pull themselves out of potholes, sandtraps -in one rappel we used the sandtrap hanging above water (water anchor is a substitute)-. There are a couple of narrow sections at the end, for large people/backpacks it is possible to stem up. Beautiful scenery and formation with a very distinguishing place with 3 arches and subway formation. You finish the canyon with the longest rappel.
The exit is to find your way down through rocks and boulders to the river wash, find the trail, and follow west. At some point, you will reach the big rock where you turned right for the approach. Continue northeast until you reach the parking lot.
- BluuGnome.com : Holy Cow Canyon
Trip reports and media
October 7th, 2017 : Holy Cow Canyon