South Guardian Angel ~ Zion National Park (July 1991)

South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on Kodachromes. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the Kodachromes haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. This is one of those.


In July 1991, we, along with our friends John and Donna, backpacked the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park and then turned our attention to a climb of South Guardian Angel via the Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway route). John and I were both working on the Desert Peaks Section (DPS) list at the time (he with more intensity than me) and South Guardian was one of the tougher ones on that list (mostly because of its remoteness).  Back then this area was still largely undiscovered (this was before canyoneering became popular), so getting a backcountry permit was no big deal and we could still camp in the canyon. So we just parked at the Left Fork Trailhead, followed the use trail down into the canyon and on up to near the start of The Subway, and camped. The LovedOne had badly bruised her feet on The Narrows backpack and this camp was as far as she could go without prolonging her sufferfest (she had to save some suffering for the hike out).  That left John, Donna, and myself to continue up the Left Fork in and out of pools of water, over various obstacles, up some steep rock to the plateau, then across it to the peak and a Class 3 scramble to the summit. We went all the way back out that same day, wondering why we were feeling so lethargic. Later we would discover that it had been 108ºF up on the plateau that day – hot enough, despite the cold water in the creek, to suck the enthusiasm out of anyone. But it was a good climb and The Subway was amazing. We were fortunate to be able to visit this area before it was closed to camping and constricted with permit requirements.


South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
The use trail up the Left Fork
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Approaching The Subway
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Camp
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
The LovedOne soaks her bruised feet while filtering water
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Into The Subway
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
One of the first obstacles
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
The Log Room
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Wading…
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Much wetter obstacles
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Going above the creek on some ledges
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Starting the climb out of the canyon on sandy rock
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Some Class 3 moves here
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Across the plateau
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
South Guardian Angel
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Steep, flaky rock near the top called for a belay
South Guardian Angel Zion National Park Utah
Summit!

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