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Shillelagh Canyon - Right and Left Forks (Mile 27.4 Canyon) - North Wash, Utah

Summary: Two forks of a pretty good technical canyon with a few rappels and some short narrows. Short sections of wading may be required, but you should not have do do any swimming.  To complete this canyon you will need enough rope for a 130 ft rappel (conservative), webbing, harness & descending gear. Leave the bolt kit at home, the canyon is not bolted and should be kept that way. Natural anchors may be used at all drops.
Directions: North Wash is located off of Highway 95, south of Hanksville, UT and north of the Hite Marina on Lake Powell. Drive on Highway 95 to between mile posts 27 & 26 (about mile 27.6). Pull off the pavement onto a short dirt road located on the east and park at the end (UTM 0539961mE, 4208163mN). The drainage just to the left of this parking spot is Blarney.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Moderate - a GPS is useful
Length: ~2 hours each fork
Date Hiked: October, 2003
Weather Conditions: Warm and Sunny
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the car park, walk left across the wash and work your way up the slickrock. Once on top you'll see that you are on an arm between two drainages. Blarney is on your right (east) Shillelagh is on your left (west). When you reach the top of the mesa you should be able to pick up a developing trail which leads north to the heads of both of these canyons.
Right Fork:
From the mesa, head left and route find your way down into the head of the drainage at (UTM
0540215mE 4209577mN). You will soon reach two drop offs to get into the canyon below. The first requires a rappel of 55 ft from a sling around a boulder, the second rappel is 100 ft next to a nice chute from a sling around a boulder on the left. Once in the canyon bottom, you will be faced with a few down climbs and short narrows before you reach the junction with the left fork of the canyon. The drainage widens below this point & it's an easy walk back to your car.
Left Fork:

Continue around the drainage of the right fork and continue west into the head of the left fork at (UTM
539645mE 4209676mN). Walk down the shallow wash then down climb a short drop off on the left side to reach the first rappel point. Rap #1 is 25 ft (though we used 130 ft of rope since anchor was back from the edge) from a sling around a boulder. Rap #2 is 60 ft from a sling around a rock at the top of the drop. The next obstacle is a 30 ft chute which can be down climbed, but you might want to belay the less experienced members of your group. A bit of walking through short narrows and a few down climbs over choke stones will bring you to the confluence with the right fork. A short walk down the wide drainage will bring you back to your car.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author, his wife and a friend completed these hikes as a group of 3 in under 2 hours in each fork.
Books: Technical Slot Canyon Guide to the Colorado Plateau - Michael R. Kelsey
Maps: Click here for a map of the area
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Rap #2 in the
right fork.
Scenic narrows.
More nice narrows. Rappel #2
in the left fork.