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Backpacker Magazine – September 2009

The Manual: How to Explore a Slot Canyon

Explore these redrock mysteries safely with expert tips on gear and technique.

by: Kristin Bjornsen and Rebecca Kane

(Illustration by Supercorn)
(Illustration by Supercorn)

Stay Away From Keeper Potholes
A dry or partially full pothole (or bowl-shaped depression) can trap you if its edges are too high to reach once you drop inside. To avoid these "keepers," test water depth by lowering rope into several spots and checking the watermark. If you can touch bottom, you'll be able to stand on a partner's shoulders or get a boost out. Too deep? Check if you can stem across it or traverse a side ledge. "Often, you'll find shelves running just underneath the water's surface," says Black. No safe way across? Turn back.



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