The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bike, Boat, Rope

The scenery is going to get a lot better
 Last Friday I got head-start on the weekend by getting out of work at noon and meeting ArcFlash for an adventure. I wasn't planning on leaving early or even going with AF but I had all the gear with me at work ready to go, it turns out he had all the gear too. When I knew it would be a short day,I got a hold of AF and informed him of my plan for the afternoon. By 12:30pm we were eating fish tacos at Sea Salt near Minnehaha Falls poised to start our adventure.
On our way

Had to use the full suspension bike since my back is all jacked up for some reason

This creek appears to be in the wild, cars can be heard from any spot along the waterway, but it's still one of my favorite annual paddles.  
  My plan for the day was to ride from work in Mahogany Town, 7-8 miles to Minnehaha Falls for lunch. From there we would follow the bike path up river along Minnehaha Creek to the south end of Lake Harriet. Inflating the packrafts and lashing down the bikes for a 90 minute paddle back towards the falls would be the first challenge of the day. There is a little park with a put-in just south of the lake I have used many times. It's a good place to start for an exciting ride down river to the falls, with  lots of twists and turns, small rapids, and low bridges.
The creek was low so the little rapids weren't as much fun as they could be

AF informed me a clove hitch is a monitored knot just before I got on it ,   Huh ? The one that looks tight is the one I'm hanging off of, the other is just a short whip attached to a small diameter cord. The webbing and the quick-link are the cost of the rap, meaning they are left behind . About  6 $

AF is about to lower his bike. It's approximately 50' to the bottom based on the slack left in my 60 ' pull cord
  Part two of the adventure had us packing up the boats near the falls and riding about five miles to a pit/drainage and a rappel. Keep in mind none of this is necessary but lots of fun just the same and requires a little imagination on why we are doing it. A road or trail can get you just about anywhere in the city with ease.  I don't really like doing things that are easy or safe. I like doing difficult and dangerous things safely.So we just have to pretend there are no roads where we are going and make our own routes.
We're trying to keep his nice new Krampus .... New!

AF  taking a shower so I can get a good pic, Thanks Man 
 The rappel was super fun. There was water flowing into the pit which made it a little more exciting. I was also trying out some new gear and techniques. First, I had a mini, four-bar rack for the rappel on a single line. These are familiar to vertical cavers but not to climbers so I had some difficulty figuring out how to use it properly. The people at REI and Midwest Mountaineering had no idea what it even was. I bought it used so it had no instruction manual and no one on the internet posted any good pics of how to lace the rope through it, attach it to the harness, and use it properly. I practiced in my basement the night before and was confident it would work the next day. Second, I wanted to use a single line with a pull cord, this saves on weight and allows one to rap the full length of the rope. Again this is something no one at REI or Midwest knows how to set up. I was quite disgusted at their bullshit answers and lack of knowledge. This is a common technique for canyoneers but there are no good pics of how to do it just right. I practiced that in the basement the night before as well. It boils down to a clove hitch fastened to the spine of a carabiner and  positioned so it cannot be pulled through a quick-link attached to webbing anchors at the top of the drop. It sounds simple, and it is, but when you are going to trust your life on the end of it, it has to work.      The rack and the single rope/pull cord worked awesome !
All Wet 


Recognize this bridge ?
 After wrapping up the ropes and getting them back on the bike it was time for another short ride and one more quick trip in the raft. We put-in on the Mississippi, crossed a channel on the upstream side of Pike Island to the Minnesota River and took out near the Sibley House. AF and I bid farewell as I headed toward Eagan to join my family for a "last day of school" party and he toward St Paul for another round of packrafting with a mutual friend.
The sun makes it's first appearance in weeks and we are in the shade near the Sibley House
P.S. This is the second installment of "Minnesota Canyoneering". I have named this one "Lor's Pit" for the close proximity to the mythical creature's lair that I invented last fall. This is a popular area for ice climbers and they have their own name for it but mine is a summer, non-ice route so I'm giving it my own name. And just in case you might recognize this spot in a recent post from another local blogger, I have known about it for years and am no way a copycat. In fact I rapped it last fall but didn't find a need to post anything about it.  


  1. I mostly just lurk on your blog, reading it w/o commenting but every time I see you guys rafting your bikes and rappeling right in the heart of Minneapolis it just bring a little smile to my face. Big mountain stuff right in your backyard. Awesome!

  2. Thanks for the kind words, My crew and I will continue with our antics as long as someone keeps watching :). Glad you like it.

  3. i paddled the creek yesterday. Good times. It would be fun to have an urban adventure based on that creek (like scavenger hut/ race) but its hard to predict when there is enough water to be able to run it.


  4. I love reading your adventures Josh. Keep it up. All of it.

  5. Thank you for the ideas of where to packraft in the cities. I have had my Denali Llama for a year, but have not made time to take it out.

    Also, good idea about canyoneering in "Homer's Odyssey." However, rapping down Minnehaha Falls would be more fun, if one could avoid the park police. :-)

    1. that's funny you should mention Homers Odyssey, I was thinking about naming the tittle of this post the odyssey but I want to save it for another much longer/bigger outing I have in the works for next summer.

    2. The name of that ice climb is Homer's Odyssey.

  6. BTW: Your biner block should always be backed up until the last person of the party raps down.

    Otherwise, one of the party could rap down the wrong strand with fatal consequences.

    This has happened to the best of canyoneers, when they are tired and not thinking straight.

    1. thanks for the advice on the rope, I did know that but sort-of forgot/let it slide, next time I won't. You should hook up with our group and go adventuring some time, always looking for more packrafters in the area

    2. I have been paranoid about backing that biner block up with a quickdraw since a NPS ranger got killed on the last rap of Pine Creek in Zion NP in 2008.

      Whenever I am the last person down, I take a really hard pull on my rap line to make sure I am on the correct strand.

      Thank you for the kind invite. Perhaps in August?? Right now, I am focused on leading a double summit on Rainier (Kautz Glacier and Kautz Headwall) next month.

  7. I just went through your blog for the past year. Good stuff.

    We have probably come across each other at the Arrowhead and Tuscobia races over the years.

    I also think that we have at least one mutual friend (Gregg P.), if not more.

    I like your Lee's Ferry canyoneering/packraft trip.