October 17, 2016
Asbestos Canyon to Vishnu Canyon
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Today's route stats:
Distance: 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 2000 feet
Elevation Loss: 1000 feet
This morning we headed up Asbestos Canyon, each carrying about 3 quarts of water. It's about a half mile of easy walking to where we turned off into a steep side canyon on creek-right. There are a series of small springs in the lower section of this side canyon. I drank a quart, then refilled my bottle.
We soon came to another branch in the canyon, and took the left one. It now began to get steep and rough. We eventually veered out of the canyon bottom and went up a steep slope toward the Tonto Platform. Once we were on the Tonto, we continued uphill to the right of a small hill, then over a low saddle. From there it was just a matter of trying to contour at a constant elevation towards the large saddle north of Newberry Butte. The views were spectacular.
Once on top of the saddle, you cannot drop directly down into Vishnu because of cliffs. We headed to the right, the way I had previously gone. From looking at Google Earth and USGS maps, it looks like it would not be difficult to go left at the saddle, then down some steep slopes into the lower section of Vishnu Canyon. This would avoid a large bypass necessary when going directly down Vishnu from the upper section.
Once past the cliffs directly below the saddle, we angled slightly to the right as we headed mostly down towards Vishnu. Our route ended in a 100 foot cliff. So we contoured up-canyon a ways until we found a relatively easy way down. Then once in Vishnu Canyon, we walked up the canyon through the narrows. We wanted to spend the night above the narrows where we knew of some nice campsites. We also expected to find pothole water.