National Geographic : 2000 Dec
6 r PHOTOGRAPHER GORDON WILTSIE WEIGHS HIS CHANCES After rappelling a ;''' dead end. Once a,,ain thousand feet to the base of the ute from Ship arch, Newcomb A t( nti lr :h thr(,ul navigates the maze ':unexplored country had brourht of slot canyons. In Shipton s honor, the LIS to 41 IPrerl1plee. \Vr tVCre doss ii to team risked rockfall our last few rappeIlin;; bolts, vital and flash flood to anchors for deSeeildln ;Sheer' cliffs. become the first to _ ... r,. traverse the range. them \Ve Could be trapped 1ry.CT .. r forever 111 the Kill i 1atll, ara11feOf 111o11nta111s and Slot callvornS where one false step or all aItel'11OOn rainStor111--cmild seal our doom. I was with Some of the world's ldv , best climbers, vet even they were spooled by this devilish terrain. A rig 1111111ber ofscenarioS flashed throur;ll yy '"'Wi'M?. . 1 " Sys r;a Y ' 'a (::, my head all of them terrifvino: Starvuir to death, stranded ona 5< 1cdgc. S'c1Pt Iyi bV a sudden surl;e Of ram. Trapped In a canyon that squeeze d too narrow for us to pass. if any of these II 1htmares eanlc true, 110 one would ever find us. t y4 'r Yf We had already rappelled a thou Sand vertical I' C1 and lulled down Our ropes, SO there was nO way to climb back 111) and out. And then We of lurk}'. At the bottom of one last cliff (left) the canyon finally opened to the south. We hiked out, giddy with success and relief.