A Travellerspoint blog

Scariest day of my life at Zion National Park

The day I almost died - day 16

sunny 2 °C
View USA 2016/17 on vansantjordan's travel map.

Today we would be exploring Zion National Park. We woke up at our normal time of 6am. It was another cold night, dropping to about -10 degrees Celsius. We drove back into the park and had a little look around. It is an amazing place. It is not as huge as Yosemite, or as grand as the Grand Canyon, but the mix of the two parks is present. The rock is similar to the Grand Canyon, and the spontaneity and magnitude is similar to Yosemite. We decided that we wanted to try and climb Angels Landing. It is only a short walk, however it is extremely steep and sketchy! The first part of the walk was reasonably easy, with wide tracks and nice switchbacks, however the last half-mile is extremely different. The track heads straight up a very narrow pathway, with over 400m sheer drops either side.
To make things even sketchier, the snow from a few days ago had melted and froze into ice, making the track extremely slippery. Most of the track has chains you can hold onto, however, the parts that do not are extremely dangerous. This walk would be by far the scariest thing I have every done in my life. We, however, were definitely not the worst walkers on the track. There were some people on the track who were so underprepared it was scary. Even though there have been 7 deaths on the walk in the last 12 years, with the quality of walkers that attempt this hike, I would have expected this number to be much higher. We did not quite make it to the top, as we got to a point that we thought was not safe enough. This point still gave us an amazing view of the park and surrounding mountains.
As we managed to start the walk fairly early, the track wasn’t too busy. However, as we were descending the track, the volume of people was increasing significantly, and the quality of walkers was decreasing further. We were extremely glad that we managed to get up early, as the walk would have been even more dangerous with the larger volume of inexperienced traffic! On our way back to the car park, there was one section of the ‘easy switchbacks’ that was extremely icy. An older lady was coming up the section we were coming down, and slipped and hit her nose on a rock. It was quite nasty, and she was bleeding quite a lot. Thomas quickly sprung into action, putting his first aid into practice. She ended up being fine, and we walked her, and her husband back down to the car park. It just shows how easy it is to make a simple mistake that can ruin your day. This wasn’t even on the sketchy bit, and she definitely wasn’t the worst prepared. We drove around the park for a little bit, looking at the main attractions.
It is definitely an amazing place that you could spend weeks exploring. We decided that we would head to Bryce National Park, so that we could have a full day there the following day. We stopped at a shop to buy some stuff for dinner, however the quality of the food, along with the price was ridiculously poor. We opted for Subway instead. It was dark by the time we entered the park, so we didn’t get to see any of it. We camped at the North campground, inside the park. This was the only one that is open during the winter. All the sites were covered in snow, so before setting up camp, we had to dig away a spot for our tents. This was hard work and challenging in the dark. Another challenge was getting the tent pegs into the frozen ground. We managed to get some in, and improvised with others, using skis buried in the snow, and freezing pegs to the ground. We were all extremely tired after a long day so we went straight to bed!

Posted by vansantjordan 16:18 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter views walk utah holiday usa amazing bluebird angelslanding zionnationalpark brycenationalpark scariestdayever

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.