Day 7

April 9, 2013

Vishnu Creek to Clear Creek


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Today's route stats: 

    Distance:  Difficult to determine off-trail miles, but probably about 5.

    Elevation Gain:  1300 feet

    Elevation Loss:  2000 feet

We got off to a slow start this morning because of the mess caused by the rain.  We started hiking around 7:15.  Although it was still pretty cold, there was plenty of blue sky.  A little farther down Vishnu is where I met last year's group.  So I was now back on familiar ground.  And I knew today would not be easy. 

Just before Vishnu starts forming a slot, or narrows, we climbed out of the drainage and headed towards the drainage leading up to the saddle NE of Hall Butte.  This little drainage has a nice flow of water, and I know some folks who have camped up in this drainage. 

Hiking Above Vishnu Narrows. Climbing Towards Hall Saddle. Almost at the Top.

The climb to Hall Butte saddle is steep but otherwise straightforward.  We climbed the 1200 feet to the saddle in 3 hours.  We now faced the long traverse on top of the Redwall to Wotans Throne - Angels Gate saddle.  This section is tedious  and takes longer than you would think.  We reached the saddle at 11 am, after about two hours of hiking.  The views were spectacular.

Hall Butte Saddle and Hall Butte.

Looking Towards Angels Gate.

Brahma and Deva Temples From Saddle.

The hike/climb down through the Redwall is somewhat technical and, for me, a bit scary.  The climb certainly got my full attention.  We lowered packs in one or two places, which was very time-consuming, taking us about two hours.  Once through the major Redwall cliff, it slowly began to level out, but a couple of obstacles remained. 

Redwall Descent from Angels Gate.

Bert Waiting for Pack to Be Lowered.

Ben Working His Way Down.

Once we reached the Tonto level (the platform immediately above the Tapeats), the hiking got much easier.  We were now headed for an obscure break in the Tapeats near the confluence of the east and main forks of Clear Creek.  There are several ways down into Clear Creek, but we wanted to do something new.

Looking Back From Where We Came.

Zoroaster and Brahma Temples.

Looking Up East Fork of Clear Creek.

Probably because I was tired, it seemed like a long slog on the Tonto to get to the top of the Tapeats break.  Along the way I could look down into the East Fork of Clear Creek and see where we camped last year.  Barry had told me that he expected to camp there again, and I thought I might see them.  But I couldn't see anyone.  

I had been told that the Tapeats break was difficult to find from the top, but that there were a couple of ducks (small cairns) marking the location.  We eventually found the ducks and started down.  It was steep, but not too bad.  Once we made it down the chute, it was only about 1/4 mile to the East Fork.  We ended up camping at the confluence of the East Fork and the main fork of Clear Creek.  Clouds were threatening so I set up my tent again.

Our Camp Location Last Year.

View of Tapeats Break From the Top.

View of Tapeats Break From the Bottom.

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