Final Rappel in the North Fork of Iron Wash

Iron Wash
North Fork
San Rafael Swell
Technical Canyoneering

          The North Fork of Iron Wash is a great little canyon, but it reminds me of eating BBQ beef ribs. It's a lot of work, but not much meat on the bone. If you enjoy long, pretty walks in the desert with a little spice tossed in at the halfway point this route is for you.

          I had heard tale of a punishing approach and a wicked keeper pothole. Instead, I found an enjoyable technical canyon with a keeper pothole that offers numerous methods of bypassing. This is one of the closest Colorado Plateau canyons to Salt Lake City, which makes it appealing to a large number of canyoneers.


Circle of Friends:
          The North Fork of Iron Wash is part of the "Circle of Friends" program. Members of the "Circle of Friends" have access to more specific information, explicit route information, GPS waypoints, trailhead location and detailed maps.  If you would like more information on joining the "Circle of Friends" visit the sign up page.

"Circle of Friends"

Hank Moon stemming Anything to keep the feet dry.

General Information:
          The North Fork of Iron Wash requires complete technical gear. Fall and spring are the preferred seasons to do this route. You certainly want to avoid this route during extremely hot weather. In normal conditions this canyon might require knee to waist deep wading. The canyon is accessible year round unless there is snow on the ground.

          Total time required form trailhead to trailhead is 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours. A GPS is useful. Good map reading skills are essential. The North Fork of Iron Wash Canyon is rated 3B III using the Canyon Rating System. This canyon has a moderate flashflood danger, check the local weather report before entering this canyon.

Keeper Pothole:
          The North Fork of Iron Wash contains a keeper pothole. For those who plan to tackle the keeper pothole head on you will encounter a short swim. The keeper pothole can be by-passed with some minor climbing. Several easy methods of dealing with the keeper pothole are detailed in the route description.

Hank Moon wading through clear and cold water. Your handsome tour guide looking dazed and confused.

Trailhead Information:
          Iron Wash is located in Emery County between the towns of Green River and Hanksville. All vehicles can access the Iron Wash Trailhead. There are several primitive campsites in the area. A vehicle shuttle is not required to complete this route. For those interested in a two day adventure Eardley Canyon is nearby.

Sink or Swim? Looking back up canyon at the keeper pothole.

Optional Hiking Information:
          Information for an enjoyable half-day hike up the bottom of North Fork of Iron Wash is included in the route description. The hiking route is approximately 4 miles each was and should require 4 hours round trip. This is a pretty desert canyon that would make an enjoyable winter hike.

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