Since I had already been to Ding and Dang Canyons with my Scout Troop last fall, I was invited to guide our Venturing Crew through these slot canyons last weekend. They had finished another year of High School, with several having graduated, and wanted to celebrate with an adventure in Goblin Valley. Taking every chance I can to be outdoors, there was no way I was going to pass up this opportunity.
We arrived on Thursday evening, set up camp, ate dinner and sat around the campfire. Since none of them had even been through any slots canyons, we had a crash course on Friday with an introduction to canyoneering through Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons. I think every newb should see these two canyons, especially LWH, even if they only visit them once. On Saturday, they graduated up to Ding and Dang Canyons. Personally, if the program was running as strong as I’d like to see it, these boys would have experienced LWH and Bell as Boy Scouts, Ding and Dang as Varsity Scouts and something like Bluejohn, Subway or The Narrows in Zion NP now as Venturers. Hopefully we’ll get there someday but for now, we crammed as much as we could in one long weekend.
Ding Canyon is pretty easy without any major obstacles to really worry about…maybe some water in short sections depending on the time of year you go. We experienced quite a bit of water last October, but almost nothing on this trip here in June. Other than the massive rock piles in this canyon, there are some potholes half-way up and the Honeycomb Wall near the end that makes for a unique group photo.
The real adventure is in Dang Canyon with its half dozen or so obstacles to navigate. I’m sure this is kiddie stuff for “real” canyoneers but for the experience level of a novice Venture Crew, this was pretty exciting for them. You will experience down slides, rock drops, a decent off “the Shelf” and a bit of stemming, bridging and chimneying over several water hazards…each with its own test of courage. However, nothing is more than 12-15’ down and if it requires a rope to lower from, the rope (or webbing) is already there* and tied in. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring one just in case what’s there is too worn or broken.
Here’s some mileage info:
– From the car to the Ding/Dang fork is about 1 mile.
– Ding Canyon is about 1.5 miles
– Backside connector is .5
– Dang Canyon is a little over 1 mile
– The return slog from the exit of Dang back to the car is 1.5
– For a total of about 5.5 miles
How about another Google Earth file of the routes and waypoints to help you navigate Ding and Dang Canyons!
* we found out a year later that the rope (or webbing) is not always there, so follow the Scout Motto!