Pitman Creek (Sierra National Forest)
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Raps:8, max ↨125ft
Red Tape:No permit required
Shuttle:Required 30 min
10 Sep 2023
"Great day in Pitman! Air temps were in the 70s with clouds and breeze so a thin wetsuit + rain jacket was helpful. Anchors are different from the be
Jul-Oct (avg for this region)
Not as good as nearby Big Creek, but still a good swift water canyon. A very short approach and return make this canyon a favorite for a last day, before driving back home.
A gorgeous canyon with lots of fun rappels and a couple of nice jumps into clear yet cold water.
Park off Tollhouse Rd walk down to dirt road 37.198971, -119.210688. Descend west into Pitman Creek following the path of least resistance. Once you reach the creek, turn right and head downstream. Continue downstream for about 1/4 mile, passing man-made cement slabs and a structure that spans the width of the creek. You will soon come to deeper and deeper pools depending on the time of the year. Suit up when you feel necessary but before the canyon begins to lose elevation significantly at 37.199954, -119.216515.
All rappels are bolted or in an area with sufficient natural anchor building supplies. Depending on water levels, down climbing ability, and comfort with jumping into pools, expect 8-12 rappels up to 125'. (One optional rappel at the end is 200' altogether.)
Several sections of boulder maze require scrambling. Probably only 4-5 rappels are mandatory for strong downclimbers, but there are numerous fun slides both on and off rope, one of which is nearly 60' long (halfway thru DCL, currently (7/31/16) anchored to a large log in a pool DCL w/ blue webbing- there is also a bolted anchor here DCR for a dry rappel).
One particularly confusing rappel (likely the last mandatory rappel) is anchored to a bolted station ~40' upstream of a walled pool with a narrow outflow (below which is a series of short drops). This anchor could be missed by downclimbing DCR into the pool, but there is no suitable anchor in the pool and the climb back up to backtrack is challenging.
Eventually the canyon will become less precipitous in nature and open up as a normal creek bed. Continue downstream in the watercourse. When you are approx. 100 yards from the road a small use trail will appear DCR, follow this to your car. If you miss the trail you will come to a bridge where the road goes over the creek, scramble up to the road.
Trip reports and media
Canyon is inside burn area of 2020 Creek Fire. Expect impacts to road, canyon, and surrounding area. Before going, review any relevant Sierra NF alerts and closure orders.