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Potholes in Quandary Direct

Quandary Canyon
San Rafael Swell
Technical Canyoneering

          Quandary Canyon provides a beautiful romp in a geological wonderland as it slices through the San Rafael Reef. This is one of the most scenic canyons in the area. Several rewarding route options are presented to meet the desires of the novice, intermediate or expert canyoneer.

Circle of Friends:
          Quandary Canyon 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"

Second Rappel in Quandary Natural Bridge in Upper Quandary

General Information:
          Quandary Canyon is a technical canyoneering adventure and requires complete technical gear. A GPS is extremely useful. Good map reading skills are essential. Navigation for this route is moderate.

          This canyon has a modest flash flood danger, but don't let that fool you. At least one person has died in this canyon as a result of a flash flood. Check the weather report and the sky above before entering this canyon. The entire drainage is easily visible before committing to this route.

Quandary By-Pass:
          Quandary By-Pass is rated 3B III using the Canyon Rating System. The technical portion of the canyon consists of knee to chest deep wading and fun scrambling. The By-Pass Route is suggested for those doing their first descent of the canyon or those with less than advanced canyoneering skills. Total time required for a round trip using the By-Pass Route is 6 to 8 hours.

Quandary Direct:
          Quandary Direct is rated 4B III using the Canyon Rating System. The technical portion of the canyon consists of several short swims, wading and fun scrambling. The Direct Route contains several keeper potholes that you must escape. This is not a route for novice, those lacking the proper skills might become skeleton soup. Advanced canyoneering techniques are required to escape the keeper potholes. Total time required for a round trip using the Direct Route is 8 to 10 hours.

Optional Route Information:
          In addition to the standard routes presented; members of the Circle of Friends program will also receive optional route information for Quandary Canyon that is not published or documented anywhere else. It is the intent of this website to make certain that members always have the best and most accurate information and route descriptions possible.

Sierra 6 y/o and Stormy 8 y/o in Quandary Sisters Katie and Wendy on dual rappels

Return Routes:
          Ramp Canyon and Muddy Creek Gorge are both commonly used as return routes. Maps, route descriptions, GPS waypoints and other benefits are provided.

Climbing up Ramp Canyon The infamous crux of Ramp Canyon

Trailhead Information:
          Any car during good weather can access this trailhead. This is also the trailhead for Knotted Rope Canyon. There are several nice campsites in the vicinity of the Trailhead.

          Enjoy a short video of Quandary Canyon in the San Rafael Swell compliments of Blake Merrell.


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