Angels Landing–Not for the faint of heart

This post will be our first one as a joint effort.  John will be helping this time since he completed this hike and I stopped 3/4 of the way up.

A little background on the name.  In 1916, a group of people were passing through and a Methodist minister by the name of Frederick Fisher gazed up at the sandstone monolith and commented that only an angel could land on it!  Hence the name–Angels Landing.

We began our hike at the shores of the Virgin River.  As you look to the very top of this mountain, that is our destination.

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The total length was about 2.2 miles, one way.  Not a terribly long hike, however, it has an elevation gain of 1,516ft in those 2 miles.  As we began, the trail started to climb rather quickly up along towering rock walls.

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A look back down the valley and you can see just how far we’ve come in a very short climb.

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We arrived at a section called Walters Wiggles.  This is a series of 21 switchbacks that makes a very quick ascent to the next level.

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After an icy climb up the wiggles, we arrive at Scouts Landing which is 1.8 miles into the hike.  This is the point where I (Felicia) took one look at the next section and said —there is NO WAY that I’m climbing that!  I gave John a kiss, wished him a safe hike and asked for the truck keys 🙂

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Once you continue, there is a sign telling you that 6 people have died on this hike since 2004 by falling off the 1,400 ft drop to their death. We jokingly said, I wonder how long it’s been since they updated the sign!   In addition, the sign says that you shouldn’t do this hike when snow and ice are present.  HMMM, what’s that on the ground?

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From here, along the majority of the trail, there are chains bolted into the rock to serve as a handrail.

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You begin by climbing up the face of the sandstone rock.  At times, you climb along the side of this rock all of the time looking down over 1,00ft.

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Along the trail, steps are chiseled into the rock to help make the climb a little easier.  To add to the heart pounding adventure, people are making their way down as you climb up.  This requires you to hold on to the chain with one hand, wrap your self around the other person’s body while grabbing the chain again with your other hand.  All of this while looking off a 1,400 ft cliff.

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Once you ascend this section, you reach what is called “the knife’s edge”.  This is a section where you climb your way up by going from one side to the other.   Keep in mind, it’s a 1,400ft drop on either side of you!

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As you continue, you reach a narrow section that is actually the easiest part of the climb.

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From here, you make the final push to the top and your reward is a 360 degree view of the Zion valley.

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But wait!  You now have to make your way back the same way you came.

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It seems like a short 1/2 mile trip but your adrenaline is pumping, you’re fearing for your life and sweating like crazy that it takes about 1 1/2 hours to make the round trip of just this small section.  A safe return back to Scouts landing and we begin our descent back down.

A look back on this hike and John would say that he has never attempted anything quite as dangerous as this hike was.    I keep telling him that he was crazy to do it in the first place, especially with the snow and ice on the ground!

Here is a link to a YouTube video of this hike.  It’s not John, however, it gives a really good perspective of how crazy this hike is.

http://vimeo.com/12463658

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