Egypt 3 Slot Canyon, Escalante, Utah 5/3/11

After Alta closing day, Liz and I spent the next 3 days in Southern Utah. May 2 we drove from Salt Lake and spent the afternoon in Bryce Canyon. May 4 we spent a few hours in Zion on the way to Las Vegas. May 3 we spent a full day finding and exploring the Egypt 3 slot canyon. We were staying in Tropic, just outside of Bryce. From there it's ~45 minutes east on Hwy 12 to Escalante, where it's always a good idea to check in at the National Monument office to verify dry weather. About 10 minutes past is the Hole-in-the-Rock gravel road, which was a well graded 40+MPH drive for 16 miles. From there we drove the rougher Egypt road for another 9 miles, arriving at the head of the Egypt slot canyons 10:15AM. The map on page 4 of the linked pdf below shows our hiking route, except we passed on the final section that requires ropes: ... /Egypt.pdf

Getting into Egypt 3 proved to be an adventure of its own. Certainly not here at the top of the canyon.

Here I'm down in what turned out to be another dead end while Liz explores other options on the rim.

Liz found the correct side canyon half an hour after we started.

The side canyon funneled into a slot.

We soon encountered our first water feature.

We removed hiking boots, put cameras, etc. in a dry bag, then I would go in to see how deep. A couple of later ones were waist deep so I would ferry both packs across over my head.

Then we saw these and we realized we should have descended the slickrock rather than going into the side slot.

Getting out of the slot and back up on the rock took awhile. I got out at lower left just before the first pool, but Liz did not like the smooth rock there. She backtracked a bit and found a section with better footholds.

We're almost into the bottom of Egypt 3 here:

The diagonal ledge coming in from the left is the only way to walk down.

We're finally in Egypt 3 around 12:30, over 2 hours after we started hiking.

A few more water potholes:

There were more, but with cameras in a dry bag we missed pictures of the larger ones. In Egypt 3 nearly all had mud bottoms and were best done in bare feet. The mud made traction getting out difficult, and in one case I had to boost Liz out first, then she braced against the rocks to help pull me up. Thankfully a few potholes were easier to get around.

Here I'm going through a drier rock section.

Here someone set up a rope to enter/exit Egypt 3 about halfway down.

The lower half of Egypt 3 usually had dirt rather than a rock bottom, so not so much water.

Small potholes on the side walls.

Some more interesting walls, sometimes different on each side.

The final section we reached about 4:30 was the Narrows.

We often needed to walk sideways with pack overhead or carried with a leading or trailing hand.

Here's where we got out of Egypt 3 shortly after 5PM.

In the above picture you can see the slot continues, but the guide websites warn there's a rappel not too much farther down.

We hiked back on the rock east of Egypt 3. Some more interesting scenery.

This rock formation reminded Liz of those in Cappadocia in Turkey, where some people live. Not here, we saw no one for the entire 9 hours we were out there.

Here's another slot which we skirted.

Liz' hiking boot soles were detaching, so we tried to keep the hike out as level as possible. Her water shoes and my Tevas were available if the soles had come off completely.

We finally got off the rock onto the plateau at the top of the canyons around 7PM.

Only here did we see consistent footprints to follow to the Egypt road about 1/2 mile east of the car.

We got back to Tropic about 8:45PM. They roll up the sidewalks early there; both restaurants had closed. Dinner consisted of trail mix, beef jerky and a bottle of Shiraz in the bed & breakfast's hot tub. The latter was welcome after an exhausting but memorable adventure.

Egypt 3 is 3 miles long and took us 4 1/2 hours once we were in. It's longer than the slots admin has done the last 2 springs but similar in difficulty.
Guide to our route:
We also found this guide to a combo of Egypt 2 and 3:
The combo has a 40 foot rappel in upper Egypt 2 and should be considered only by more experienced canyoneers.