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Thread: spooky and other slot canyons

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    108

    spooky and other slot canyons

    hi all,

    just curious, do the slot canyons other than antelope and canyon X, really lend themselves to LF? i.e. is there a place to setup your tripod? or are these handheld MF places due to narrow walls and people saying you're in the way?

    was thinking of a trip down hold in the wall road and some other slot canyons like little wildhorse canyon on my next SW trip

    thanks!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    751

    Re: spooky and other slot canyons

    I would say that neither of the Antelope slots would be suitable for LF work due to crowds of people. If you could get in there with only a few folks--perhaps, a workshop--then, IMO, Lower Antelope would be the only real possibility for LF; Upper Antelope is much too narrow. Back in the day, Bruce Barnbaum probably managed 4x5 in both of these slots, but... I've never been to any other significant slots, but, based on some pics and videos I've seen, many offer plenty of room to setup a LF rig.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    108

    Re: spooky and other slot canyons

    @Alan, thanks years back I did lower antelope with my 4x5 but today they no longer offer the photographers tour where they leave you alone for 2.5 hours so I probably wouldn't consider either antelopes at this point but others....

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    now in Tucson, AZ
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    2,796

    Re: spooky and other slot canyons

    I took my 4x5 to Antelope Canyon (upper?) back in March 1995... paid a fee to the woman sitting in a pickup at the entrance and had the place to myself for several hours. That was the year before several visitors were killed in a flash flood. Obviously things have changed a lot since then.

  5. #5
    Les
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    1,046

    Re: spooky and other slot canyons

    There are many interesting ones without dealing with Antelope....and all those people. Personally prefer the lesser known ones like the one in Valley of Fire or Escalante, or near Kanab....and no issues using LF.

    Les

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
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    13,404

    Re: spooky and other slot canyons

    There are websites dedicated to telling you where slot canyons can be found. Most of them you'll probably have all to yourself, but other than Antelope and Zion Narrows, most are more difficult to get to. You have to be very conscious of the seasonality of storms way way upstream from slots. All of them are death traps in flash floods. Quite a few people have been instantly buried under mud in Antelope due to carelessness in this respect. Some slots require ropes to get around, as well as wading pools of very cold water. Large format cameras are great wherever the logistics themselves aren't extreme. A wide angle lens and bag bellows is often necessary. Lighting ratios can also be extreme. Flashfloods in the SW are generally monsoonal and tend to subside in November. Zion NP posts hazard levels for the Narrows, but wading is still required if you go too far. Don't worry, even a short hike can yield wonderful pictures. It's a pity that Antelope has become a cliche, but a local guide could take you into the northern part instead. I could mention a few more that are walk-in, but require 4WD even for dry weather approach. I rarely photograph them, even though I've done a fair amount of SW canyon exploring. There's so much magic in that part of the world that one never really needs to repeat the cliches.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    southeast Idaho, Teton Valley
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    151

    Re: spooky and other slot canyons

    Hole in the Rock road (I assume that is what you mean) gives reasonable access to the Spooky and Peek-a-boo slot canyons. There is enough room for a tripod in most places, but there is some climbing to get into them and through them, and it may be worth bringing a short rope (like 10 feet) to pull up or lower your pack around pour-overs and rock jams. Nothing technical or very difficult, but awkward with a tripod and LF gear.

    Brimstone is nearby, and this one is quite narrow -- too narrow to walk along the bottom after a while, so you have to bridge or stem along several feet above the floor of the slot.

    Another one is Buckskin gulch, a very long, mostly narrow slot that goes from the House Rock Valley road to the Pariah River. No need to go very far -- an hour or two below Wire Pass provides much of the variety. There are some drops over chockstones to get in there, but a little easier than Spooky or peekaboo. There can be longs stretches of thick, sticky mud after wet weather.

    Little Wild Horse is also wide enough in spots, and I don't remember anything very tricky there. Bell Canyon allows for an interesting loop. There is one exposed traverse on a narrow ledge around 2/3 of the way down.

    With all of these, the main problem could be other people traveling through, and some places are too narrow for people to get by each other easily.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    108

    Re: spooky and other slot canyons

    @mmerig thanks!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Oregon and Austria
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    Re: spooky and other slot canyons

    I used to photograph the slot canyons often, but don't go there much anymore due to the numbers of people. I won't even go close to either of the Antelope canyons anymore. I remember times when I was simply let into Lower Antelope, the open padlock hanging on the gate, with the instructions to lock up after I had finished photographing. I'd spend hours by myself there. It was a surreal and spiritual experience. I can't imagine getting the same photographs now with 45 people charging through every hour taking their selfies for Instagram... I was in Page just this last fall and hardly recognized the place. I'll likely not visit again.

    Even Peek-a-boo and Spooky are pretty much overrun by tourists during the high seasons as is Wire Pass/Buckskin Gulch, although I did work well there when I visited there last year. Unfortunately, there were graffiti and "fake" petroglyphs scratched into some of the canyon walls in several places.

    Social media and the selfie culture have ruined many of my favorite places... sigh... I'm going to spend my time looking for places off the beaten track from now on.

    Best,

    Doremus

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    AZ
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    Re: spooky and other slot canyons

    I think a good photographer can always find a nice LF shot in the desert SW, if you stay away from famous high traffic canyons. There are many slot canyons all around, you just have to find them. Your lens only needs a few feet to work in. Sometimes an open arroyo will close down for a hundred yards, then open back up. I think the attraction of the famous ones is they are longer, and you can enjoy the experience. But any one shot will just be a short distance, because of the twists and turns.

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