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28 November 2014

Going For A Terrifying Walk: Angels Landing {Zion National Park}

Imagine hiking a half mile up a steep, narrow ridge with sheer cliffs on either side to get to the top of a rock formation 5,790 feet up in the air called Angels Landing in Zion Nation Park. Anything you read about this hike warns you not to attempt it if you're afraid of heights. After all, you might have the honor of becoming the sixth person to plummet to their death. If you're like me, the thought of making the climb to Angels Landing is absolutely terrifying. If you're like Scott, the thought of making the climb to Angels Landing sounds incredibly exciting. I think you can guess which one of us made the climb and which one of us chickened out. 

Here, just have a look at the picture below. See how skinny that ridge is that you have to climb up? See the sheer drop-offs? There is a reason why they call it Angels Landing. Angels have wings. It is so much easier to get to the landing if you can fly. Plus, death really isn't a problem if you're an angel. 

Angels Landing, Zion National Park

Sure, there are chains anchored along parts of the climb to help you pull yourself up. But still, if you lose your grip or your balance, you would fall a long way down.


Chain On Trail Up Angels Landing, Zion National Park


Still not convinced? Have a look at this picture. If you slip, it sure is a long way down.


View Down Angels Landing Trail, Zion National Park

I think you can understand why I waited down below at Scout's Lookout while Scott hiked up to Angels Landing. It was fascinating waiting there and watching people. I felt so much better about myself as I watched more than a fair number of people take a look at the start of the climb to Angels Landing and chicken out themselves. There were a few people who started up, but then quickly came right back down. And there were other people like me, whose partners were making the climb while they waited down below. We all cheered each other on for having made it to Scout's Lookout, which isn't a small feat in and of itself. After all, to make it to that point, you have to climb two miles with an overall elevation change of 1,050 feet. 

Here, let me show you. You start off at the Grotto, cross the bridge over the North Fork of the Virgin River and then head up the West Rim trail. You climb up through a wooded area through a number of switchbacks. The path is well formed and wide so you never feel like you might accidentally stumble and fall off the edge. Here is what it looks like from further up on the trail.


Trail up to Scouts Lookout, Zion National Park

After you've been at it for about a mile, you get one of those wonderful reprieves - a flat section of trail called the Refrigerator Canyon. You walk along the trail between Angels Landing and Cathedral Mountain and rejoice in the shade as you get a chance to catch your breath and cool down. 

Refrigerator Canyon, Zion National Park

But like all good climbs up a mountain, it doesn't last too long. Next up are Walter's Wiggles. These will make your legs burn. 21 short, sharp and steep zig-zags up to Scout's Lookout. 

Walters Wiggles, Zion National Park

And then, finally you make it to Scout's Lookout and it is time for snacks! You've made it! I wonder how many of these people made the final climb to Angel's Landing and how many chickened out?

Scouts Lookout, Zion National Park

This guy's mother would be horrified to see him sitting so close to the edge.


Angels Landing, Zion National Park

This is where Scott and I parted company. He got to see views like this.


View from Angels Landing, Zion National Park

I got to see polar bears.



If you're like me and too chicken to go to to Angel's Landing, you can continue on the West Rim trail instead and still get some amazing views. Which is what Scott and I did after he came down from Angel's Landing. He absolutely amazed me. After doing Angel's Landing, he climbed back up the mountain on the other side for around a mile and a half. That's when I got a good view of how insane Angel's Landing really is.

If you've chickened out about climbing up Angel's Landing, please let me know. It will make me feel so much better about myself. If you've climbed Angel's Landing, email Scott directly and you can give each other virtual high-fives.

Scott climbed Angel's Landing and I chickened out on Thursday, 6 November 2014.
 
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14 comments:

  1. Ellen, call me a chicken! I had every intention of making it to Angel's Landing (despite my fear of heights) but could only get as far as Scout's Lookout. -- by that point I was so full of adrenaline that I was shaking like a leaf so I had to turn around. David isn't a hiker (or much or a walker . . . more of a slug, really) so he didn't come with me. We did the Narrows though and loved it!

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    1. YES!!!! Someone else who chickened out! That makes me feel so much better about myself :-) We didn't do the Narrows ourselves - maybe next time we're there. It looks like a very interesting walk. Did you wear waders and/or any other special equipment. We saw some people doing it who had all sorts of gear.

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  2. What a fun photo trip up the rocks! I'm not at all a fan of heights, but the views definitely look worth it!

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    1. If only I would have been able to conquer my fear of heights and made it all the way up to Angels Landing - the views would have been truly amazing from there. But, I still had some pretty great views down at Scouts Lookout :-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Wow that looks spectacular and frightening all at the same time. I've never been there and can't say what I would do but I don't think anyone would blame you for not going up it. Great pictures!

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    1. Thanks SOOO much for saying that! Nice to have folks support me chickening out :-)

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    1. Thanks - it was gorgeous (for me) up to the point of Scouts Landing and my hubby swears it was even more amazing at Angels Landing. Guess I'll never know :-)

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  5. Oh wow, that looks amazing! I'm one of those crazies who has no fear of heights whatsoever so I'd probably do it--but it definitely sounds strenuous!

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    1. I wish I was like you and heights didn't bother me! Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Zion is so fantastic looking, I hope to make it there some day! My fear of heights has, well, heightened with each passing year so I definitely wouldn't be sitting there dangling my legs off the rock... nooooo way. But I do love the photos that have come of it!

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    1. Zion is an amazing park - you should definitely get there one day! I was so nervous watching that guy just sitting on the edge :-)

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  7. Oh wow - that is absolutely breathtaking! But it looks soooo terrifying! I think I would have also called it a quit at some point! That photo that looks down is just scary, if you step wrong, you're dead! Wow!

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    1. I can't believe my hubby climbed all the way to the top - a man without any fear :-)

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