Angels Landing – Zion National Park, Febr. 1993

This post also could be named: Doing stupid things while you are young! During my 6 1/2 months trip with a friend all around North America, we had  visited all the famous and iconic places in the Southwest during winter time. We started Sept. 1992 in New York and got back  there in March 1993, after 40 000 km of driving with our trusty Ford van.

Angels Landing is a well-known area in Zion NP, but at the time we arrived there, we had no idea what was awaiting us. The track that is leading there is called the “Switchbacks” and I thought: is that all? But after making the turn, we got the view towards “the real” Angels Landing and we where paralyzed. No way of climbing up there, that´s why the rangers of the visitors center told us not to go there. We gasped. We had no proper clothing, no safety ropes, no nothing. I even was wearing used winter shoes which where a present from someone we had met a couple of days before, because my former boots were gone already.  My friend said: I´m not going up there – no way! I looked at him and said: Since I´m here, I´ll.

As I was on my way up, my heart was pumping like wild and sometimes I stopped, waiting a couple of minutes, only to go further and further. There have been “hand-rail-chains” to hold on, but not on the whole track, just parts of it. But that´s not enough – I also was taking some shots; setting up the camera with self-timer, crawling back and posing for the shot – how stupid must anyone be to do so?! The National Park Service – Hiking Zone says: ” Angels Landing.Strenuous.Long dropoffs and narrow trails.Not for anyone fearful of heights.Ends at summit high above Zion Canyon Floor. Last 0.5 mile follows a steep narrow ridge.Chains have been added for safety.” Chains yes, but only partly – hell; on a track which was covered with snow, very narrow, with sheer cliffs up/down to ~1400 feet (~400 m).

Going up is one thing, but coming down (in a whole) is another. At some spots I was crawling backwards, my hands tight on the chain. Sometimes I´ve  heard rocks falling down in a roar, I paused, closed my eyes and thought if this is for real. I had no idea how I managed to make it back to where my friend was waiting; after 2 hours of pure adrenalin. He welcomed me with the words: “Only a true mountaineer could have done that!” Hell, I was only stupid enough to do it, I replied! While typing this story, I get shivers all over my spine – not wanting to know: ” What if…”

“Don´t do this at home” is all I can say in the end! After the rangers had found out I had been up there, they haven´t been to amused either. The next day we have heard other hikers asking the rangers for going up to Angels Landing, but they told them: it´s too dangerous! Hearing that, I told them about yesterday…..

The images were all taken with a Pentax ME Super camera and film; images are scanned from paper and with minor adjustments in Lightroom. So the quality is not that good, but for documentary they are worth its weight! Enjoy!

The last 0.5 mile…notice the chain in the lower right corner!

Posing without chains…

Not even the half way made…

Don´t slip and slide…

View down to the valley floor…

Finally, on top…(imagine slipping under the chain while standing up); there is no chain between the pole I´m holding on and the one behind me to the left!

The original brochure, 1993

Map from the brochure…

“Hiking Zion”…

“I shut my eyes in order to see.”

(Paul Gauguin, French Artist, 1848-1903)

2 thoughts on “Angels Landing – Zion National Park, Febr. 1993

  1. pinterest photo of this

    I have read some just right stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you place to make any such wonderful informative site.

    1. Werner Priller Post author

      Thank you! Check back anytime you like…
      Depending – a post can take from 10 min. to a couple of hours…

      Cheers from Bavaria! Werner


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