Fall 2023 Waterpocket Fold

We had a great time out in the canyon country this October. Perfect weather for 2 weeks+ allowed us to explore new routes and add variations to previously explored areas. Our first itinerary was a 7 day backpacking loop traveling across, up, over and down through a remote section of the Waterpocket Fold.

(click any photo to enlarge!)

The Waterpocket Fold is a massive uplifted slickrock feature nearly 100 miles long and often 2,000′ or more of vertical relief. The “Fold ” is fractured by deep canyons that often have impassable pour overs. The expansive slickrock areas in between the canyons are further fractured by cross canyons, domes, ramps and more. It’s very complex terrain.

Finding ways thru the remote slickrock wilderness is a unique and rewarding experience. It’s challenging and requires experience, good map reading and route finding skills, the right equipment and more. We saw no signs that anyone had traveled through the central part of our route.

That 7 day trip was a standout for us. It checked a lot of boxes including perfect weather, new route, spectacular slick rock wilderness, no people, solar eclipse plus Mr. A was with us. Mr. A was an integral part of the adventure to say the least. He is the master of traveling thru this zone.

photo by Mr. A

Arriving back at the van in the early afternoon on day 7, we drove a few miles North and parked at another spot in the valley below the Fold. After shaking out the sand and getting cleaned up we had a nice night in the van.

The next morning K and I launched on another backpacking trip following a more established 15 mile loop thru the “Fold”. Many people do this loop as a 2 day trip. In 2012 we had done the entire loop in a single day. This time we took 3 days and that felt just right.

On day 3 we spent the morning hiking from camp with light day packs. We went “off route” finding our way up and around through another fantastic section of slickrock that brought us to one of the high points on the crest of the “Fold”. A spectacular hike! Back at our camp in the early afternoon we had lunch and were pleasantly surprised to find an inscription from 1911 etched into a slickrock wall. We arrived back at the van mid afternoon and drove a short distance to a superb van camping site where we spent the night.

Having spent the past 10 days backpacking we were ready for a short break. We drove to Boulder and landed at Mr. A’s paradise. Groceries, burritos, laundry, dinner and a life changing sauna were much appreciated.

The next day, after a fun, interesting and beautiful half day hike with Mr. A, we drove over Boulder Mountain and landed at Mr. B’s 5 star compound. Mutual friends were there and we had a good time catching up and telling tales.

In the morning, we rallied and set out with Mr. B to connect some dots on a fantastic day loop in Capitol Reef National Park. We had been to the high point from two directions but had yet to connect it all in a day. It stands out as one of our all time favorites.

photo by Mr. A

A nice evening at Mr B’s and we made a plan for the following day. Another hike up thru challenging terrain in an attempt to connect to a previously established route. It involved tricky route finding and was somewhat vigorous but we did make the connection. Next time we will put it all together as another exciting day loop.

Everything came together for a great session! The weather was about to change and we had been out long enough. Satisfied and happy, we headed for home.

See the Best of Photos here.

2 thoughts on “Fall 2023 Waterpocket Fold”

Comments are closed.