Need to wake up this afternoon?
Just watch this extremely stressful video of canyoneers getting caught in Zion National Park’s Keyhole Canyon during a flash flood. It will surely get your heart racing and blood pumping.
I’m not going to pretend like I know a lot about canyoneering, because I don’t, but I can confidently say that I wouldn’t have entered that slot canyon knowing that a rain storm was making its way through the area. I’ve seen enough videos of people getting stuck in slot canyons with raging water barreling down on them from a random rainstorm for me to do something like that.
Keyhole Canyon looks incredibly beautiful, but all of these people should feel very grateful that they’re alive. You can even see some of the last group embrace each other after exiting the canyon in relief that they survived.
Stay safe out there, friends.
Jerry Arizona: “Keyhole Canyon – Zion National Park – Flash flood conditions Canyoneering can be dangerous. One of the more prevalent dangers is complacency. Like all skills, you start canyoneering in easy canyons, then do progressively harder and harder canyons, gaining skills and experience along the way. This builds confidence. And as your confidence grows, it’s easy to take ‘easy’ canyons less seriously. It’s a fine line between confidence and complacency. That’s really not what happened to us on this trip, but it was a good reminder that ALL canyons should be taken seriously. We were recently in Zion National Park to do several canyons. But the weather had different plans for us. There was rain in the forecast for our first day. The kind of rain that causes canyons to flash flood. We’d had permits for Pine Creek Canyon, but decided it was much too long to do on a day with this type of weather. So we changed our plans to go through Keyhole Canyon. Keyhole Canyon is a very short but beautiful slot canyon inside Zion National Park. Keyhole can be done in well under an hour, with few obstacles and only two short rappels. For this reason, Keyhole Canyon is probably the first choice for beginner canyoneers at Zion National Park. Keyhole Canyon is also responsible for the largest single event loss of life in Zion National Park. In 2015, a group of seven descended into Keyhole Canyon. A micro burst hit and caused it to flash flood. All seven died. Being fully aware of this, Nick and I went in with intentions to go fast. I’ve been through Keyhole before and knew you could exit between the upper and lower sections of the canyon if things started to go sideways. So off we went. You can see the blue skies as we entered upper keyhole. What the video does not show are the dark clouds to the west that we were keeping an eye on. This is where I feel it is important to say that you need to know the drainage of a canyon. Sometimes, the drainage is so large that it can rain and flash flood without you ever seeing a cloud. Keyhole Canyon has a much smaller drainage, which is why we picked it. We had also been watching the doppler radar and knew where the clouds were. We got to the saddle between upper and lower Keyhole, and looked up at the clouds. I’d gone through this section before with a group of 2 and made it out in about 15~20 minutes. We saw the dark clouds west of the ridge leading into Keyhole’s drainage. We looked at the ground and saw it was not saturated. And we decided we had time, so in we went. We overtook two larger groups. One of 4 and another of 12. I am not here to judge, and will leave you on your own to decide what they did right or wrong. The rest speaks for itself.”