I wanted to get into Mystery Canyon and so I rounded up a team and chased down a permit. Talia and I opted to start from the east side which meant having to get up at 4am in order to make the shuttle.

We began the approach at 6am as the sun was beginning to rise.

Talia was very happy about the fact that our approach was downhill and very pleasant.

Wild flowers and other sights abound on the hike in.

After 61 minutes of hiking, taking pictures and woolgathering, we reached the head of the canyon…

The entrance to the canyon is called “the Death Gully” and would be more aptly name “Wishing for Death Gully”. Imagine a half hour grovel down a limestone-shale hillside which fills your shoe with sand and detritus on every step. No need for pictures of that…

Once in the canyon, things got moving a bit with some short rappels and fun downclimbs.

Here is some interesting and brightly colored fungus we encountered…

The first “big” rappel…which was followed by eight more. All stellar, no awkward, hateful squeezes…

After the first five or six raps, things open up for a bit, giving us an opportunity to get some sun.

We met a climber who was sending a 5.16 route–free solo! He cracked under the pressure though, and fell. It is likely he will be back for the redpoint.

The hottest part of the canyon offered a little shade from this overhanging wall of salmon colored sandstone. Gargantuan fallen blocks belied the malevolent nature desert erosion, and we noted more than one huge boulder which was rolled down the backside of the hill with only a little effort.

One more rappel put us in striking range of the last two rappels of 110 and 120 feet respectively–and the tantalizing prospect of cool water pools. I was pretty happy.

Talia on rappel, into the amazing and lush hanging gardens

Below the rap, Mystery Springs

More downclimbs! Now, with more water!

Its pretty green for the middle of the desert.

And then there was the final, big rappel down Mystery Falls. Slicker than goose shit–this rappel caused me to nearly bobble my footing more than once! Gawking hordes of tourists look on in horror and amazement…

This last rappel deposits us into the Virgin River Narrows.

Talia coming down

Awesome day; Mystery is by far my favorite canyon so far in Zion!