Northwest Fork of Three Canyon

Nickname: That’s It?
Fun: 3/5
Difficulty: 1-4/5
Beauty: 2/5
Time: 1.5 hrs down and back up
Hiking: 90%
Rappels: 0-3
Advanced DCs: 0-3
Water: bone dry

There’s really not much to this canyon. An advanced canyoneer who enjoys climbing and a full day adventure would likely prefer to descend the Main (East) Fork of Three and exit via the three upclimbs in the Northwest Fork. If they’re too difficult or the exposure proves unmanageable there’s always the prescribed exit route near the bottom of the fork, which,  incidentally, is itself very exposed.

Another alternative route would be to do the North Fork (which this author has not explored) and the Northwest Fork in the same day,  with perhaps a jaunt along the green in either direction, or up and back down East Three.

Allan and I parked nearby and were in the canyon in less than 10 minutes. The first rappel is obviously downclimable and we mistook it for such. R2 is intimidating due to its height,  a sold 65 vertical feet,  and so I did it with a top belay. The canyon’s lower pouroffs are easily identified by a righthand (western) bypass trail, again very exposed. We turned around above these, realizing we’d completed the canyons interesting parts, though I suspect that the section below the pouroffs is lush and beautiful,  seeing as Three’s lower main fork is said to have perennial flowing water and this is where the Northwest Fork joins it.

I free soloed both rappels and assisted Allan with a top belay on each using a 9mm static line,  a grigri and two locking biners; both raps already had wrql anchors around chokestones. The risk of a big fall is minimal because neither rappel is vertical. You could, however,  slide deeply into the back of either crack, making restarting your climb difficult as both cracks are too narrow there.

The drive to Green River was less than 30 minutes, and Ray’s Tavern turned out two mediocre burgers like usual.

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