Eaton Canyon 2012

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The first major rappel in Eaton Canyon. Photo courtesy of ucanyon

The Caltech Alpine Club, American Alpine Club, and the Access Fund are running a major clean-up project in Eaton Canyon on Saturday, June 23. There will be two groups involved in the clean-up: one which will work at the popular area near the lowest waterfall, and another which will descend the canyon from the usual drop-in point and scrape the entire canyon, from top to bottom, utterly and totally clean. The first group--team A--will have a short, nontechnical hike to the lowest waterfall. The second group--team B--will have a longer hike and a technical canyoneering descent to negotiate while cleaning. We will wrap up with a BBQ at Victory Park, just down the street from the Eaton Canyon entrance, at 7 PM.

Trip Report

On Saturday, June 23, nearly fifty people who couldn't find a better way to spend a beautiful Saturday than laboriously scrubbing at graffiti and humping out human waste, dumbbells, and used condoms came to the Eaton Canyon clean-up. Thank you so, so much to all of you! If you have any photos, please link them on the wiki page.

One group of about thirty-five trudged into the Brown Gym parking lot at 7 am. I ranted at the group for fifteen minutes about random nonsense, then we ate some donuts and rolled off to the canyon. The Kedrone, robotic climbing partner extraordinaire, helped get eight ropes into the canyon, which were used to fix all of the rappels. The lines were fixed by 12:30, at which point most people from the group of thirty-five were somewhere in the canyon walking down with garbage bags, wire brushes, gloves, and safety goggles waiting for any signs of Taginator to begin attacking the graffiti.

Around 1 pm, Kedron went down to the visitor center to meet Ana and a group of approximately fifteen to show them above the first waterfall, where most of the graffiti and trash were. This group, as well as a group led by Rich Rieber, lugged up a bunch of Taginator and more supplies and rendezvoused with the folks coming down the canyon. The most atrocious graffiti, which were two ten foot tall tags in the middle of the canyon well above the second waterfall, were nearly removed. Another group worked on the tags around the second waterfall, and though it was impossible to make a dent because of the sheer magnitude of the graffiti, they did an awesome job.

My biggest fears when organizing this were 1) that someone in our group would get hurt, 2) that our friends--Nate, Marc, and Karl--in local SAR units would have to come rescue our sorry asses, and 3) that I would get sued. You can imagine how I felt when I heard that someone broke his leg! Fortunately--well, not really--the broken leg belonged to an unaffiliated kid who jumped the second waterfall. Lucky for him, Karl and some more folks with medical training were already at the scene and were able to help splint his wound and get him out.

People trickled into the BBQ at Victory Park after 7 pm, where the remainder of the donuts, nearly a hundred cookies, and some fifty patties were devoured. American Alpine Club and Access Fund swag were thrown out in a rigged quiz wherein a gimpish Pratyush barred me from participation (I got a chalk bag despite his best efforts, though). We have heard whispers about a local organization which might sponsor us with more sophisticated graffiti removal tools in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for another event of this kind.


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Last Minute Details

We're really tight on space on the canyoneering team. If you haven't canyoneered before and aren't confident you can do it quickly, please please please consider joining our "Team A," which meets at 1 PM at the Eaton Canyon Visitor Center. See below for directions. The lower falls are in need of the most attention, and we're really understaffed there. Please remember that this is a clean-up effort first, canyoneering trip distant second.

Please bear in mind that this is not a guided trip. We are only climbers and students, we have no certifications or formal training, and we have no insurance. We will make sure the anchors and ropes are safe, but you're responsible for yourself on the hike and in the canyon. We will provide printed directions, but you're responsible for yourself on the hike and in the canyon.

Event Details

We will supply trash bags, gloves, and graffiti clean-up supplies and instruction. If you've never rappelled or canyoneered but are otherwise sturdy on your feet, please join us for the top-to-bottom effort; we will teach you how to rappel and will install fixed ropes on all the rappels. Refer to Prof. Chris Brennen's page on Eaton Canyon for details about the descent, but don't be intimidated: we will take care of technical details, and all you need to bring are harness, locking carabiner, and ATC--borrow them if you don't have your own!

Team A:

  • Where: meet at Eaton Canyon Nature Center (here is a map)
  • When: 1 PM, Saturday, June 23
  • Why: Because all we do with our money is throw parties and buy books
  • What to bring: normal hiking stuff, including plenty of drinking water

Team B:

  • Where: meet at the bouldering cave at Brown Gym (here is a map)
  • When: 7 AM, Saturday, June 23
  • Why: because you're super psyched to descend Eaton Canyon and make it better
  • What to bring: normal hiking stuff, climbing harness, locking biner, ATC, large backpack for holding trash, and a double-sealed plastic bag or dry bag containing warm clothes, headlamp, and other electronics. There isn't an inordinate amount of Poison Oak in the canyon, but if you have severe reactions, bring long pants and long sleeves.

Mandatory Rappel Practice

Folks coming on the canyoneering team:

If you don't know how to rappel or are rusty, there is a mandatory practice session for ya in Pasadena. Email me if neither of the dates below works for you and we can figure something out.


  • Tuesday, June 12, 8 pm
  • Thursday, June 14, 8 pm

Location: 171 N Chester Ave, Pasadena, CA

Stuff to bring: harness, ATC, and locker if you have them. If not, there will be stuff to borrow.



You don't have to RSVP, but if you do it'll help us figure out how many trash bags and how many burgers and beers to bring. If you don't have an account, email Hamik to get added.

Team A (no canyoneering, meet 1PM)

  • Ana? (veggie burgers, beer)
  • Brian (2 burgers, beer)
  • Viviane (2 burgers, cookies)
  • Josh (2 burgers, beer)

Team B (canyoneering, meet 7AM)

  • Hamik (one burger, cookies)
  • Patrick (veggie burger, beer)
  • Nick (2 burgers, IPA)
  • Eyrun (burg, beer)
  • Joel (one burger, lots of cookies)
  • Lauren
  • Masha
  • Erik (beer? probably can't stay for food)
  • Rebecca (veggie burger, beer)
  • Casey (one pound of pasta, optionally cooked).
  • Shriharsh (veggie burgers)
  • Pablo Guerrero (one burger, cookies)
  • Jordan T. (veggie burger)
  • Greg S. + Marilee V.(burgers and beers, plenty ;-)
  • Ted P (burgers and beer baby)
  • Chris B (veggie burgers, beer)
  • Beth (veggie burger, beer)
  • Ted D (burgers and beer!)
  • Mike
  • Dan T-E (burgers, beer)
  • Kobayashi, Masatoshi