Rope Canyon 3/27/2021
WARNING: Last rope going up (or first rope going down) is UNSAFE due to DAMAGE. The 25-foot long yellow rope at the top of the 20 foot wall. See pictures!!!
Rope Canyon is a slot canyon in the Mecca Hills Wilderness east of Indio and Mecca California with a Canyoneering rating of 2AI. See Canyoneering Rating System ( canyoneeringusa.com/intro/c…
) for more details. The Technical Class rating of two means no technical equipment is required.
Due to in-place hand-ropes, this is considered to be just a scramble. The Water Flow rating of A means this is generally a dry canyon during normal running conditions and you won't be swimming though anything. The Effort Rating of I means you'll be spending a couple hours or less on this adventure. You can make this a longer day if you like by running additional canyons. And this doesn't include the time stuck on I-10 in traffic
My wife and I did a loop run going up Ladders Canyon and then coming down Ropes Canyon. As a general rule, never trust in-place equipment that you haven't inspected. And with fixed ropes, you can't inspect the critical part until you've climbed up it. But by going down the canyon instead, you can inspect the anchor and wear-point on the rope where it goes over the ledge.
Our loop was extended a bit due to a navigation error where we missed the short-cut from Ladders to Ropes. But this was actually an enjoyable deviation and I recommend it if you have an extra hour.
After completing Ladders and the added loop at the top, we arrived at the first rope at the top of the Rope Canyon. Our goal was to practice and refresh some repelling skills in preparation for some future adventures. Rappel #1 (R1) is a 20 or 25 foot rap off two bolts down a vertical wall that has some foot holes in it. The in-place nylon webbing was threaded directly through the bolt hangers which is not a best-practice due to added wear placed on the nylon.
It should be threaded through smooth quick-links instead. The in-place yellow rope was worn badly where it contacts the ledge. This rope is UNSAFE and needs to be replaced ASAP. We used our own rope (which we pulled) to do the rap.
After some cool scrambling down the canyon we encountered a drop of about 5 or 6 feet. I was able to down climb a couple feet and then jumped to the sand. After a bit more running you come to the next rope. This one was bolted, properly webbed through a link and in reasonable shape.