Tales of an Incompetent Adventurer
by Amy Ramras

It was one fine morning in Utah around Thanksgiving. I was wandering around the campsite watching people doing their morning activities in preparation for the day’s canyon. We were doing an unexplored canyon. Suddenly my curiosity was aroused by a murmured conversation between Tom Jones and my dad (Ram). Not minding my own business, I wandered toward them and interrupted the conversation.

“Dad what are you talking about?” I asked.

In reply my dad said, “You.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because Tom does not think you should attend this canyon because we can’t really help you in a tough spot if the canyon gets very hard, for we will be too busy taking care of ourselves. Plus you are just a kid and you do tend to get your self in some sticky situations because of bad judgment sometimes.”

The mutterings continued and I waited with baited breath for the final decision. Finally the final decision was made and much to my dismay my dad sided with Tom! So my dad and I went on the North Fork of Robbers Roost. I vowed that day that I would do the canyon that is now called Chambers and finally I got my chance.

—  March 17, 2007  —

We descended to Chambers. The group members were Dave, Ram, Mark, Jason, and Tom. Aaron and Penny were ahead trying to go UP the canyon. Once we arrived at the canyon, I was given a pep talk from my dad about the canyon because he had already done the canyon months before. Then the fun began!!

It slotted up right away. Dave and I, the skinniest, eased our way right through, while the others struggled a little bit more trying not to get stuck. The lights of the canyon were spectacular. Dim light reflected off the rock giving an eerie glow to it.

Chambers had no mercy. More and more narrow and then narrower, until we came to a nice subway–shaped opening, right in the middle of the canyon. Just when we arrived we ran into Penny and Aaron. They had been struggling up the canyon with great difficulty. We took a pit stop and had some lunch. It was a delicious energy booster for me. Before he left, Aaron mentioned the fact that a hair barret still lay on the canyon floor where Denise had dropped it by accident on the November trip. It appeared that no one who had gone through since could get low enough to the ground of the canyon for it was very narrow.

Down we went. It became intense. Finally we approached the big stemming part that my dad had mentioned so many times. I was going to go up, but Dave protested and said that I could go low. He taught me a helpful and painful heel–and–toe method: toe on the front wall and heel on the opposite wall. So Dave and I went through the narrow section heel–and–toe all the way over and above the headband. At the end I decided to go low and to the canyon floor. Dave suggested I try to squeeze into the bottom and get the band. It was hard, and I couldn’t at first but figured out a wider spot and got it, to Dave’s, my own and everyone’s amazement. I began to drag the headband on the ground back to Dave. I did it! It was an amazing feeling. When I looked back, I thought never again will I fit. I showed the headband with pride to everyone, stuffed it in my backpack, and continued.

This time it was much harder. I couldn’t get started. So Dave, the amazing Dave, came over and let me use his feet as stair steps. I couldn’t get up, as my gas tank was on E and I was slipping losing my composure. Luckily for me, I had Dave and my dad to drag me to the high part to stem the rest of the way. I slipped down to Dave, exited the canyon, and collapsed in the sand. After everyone was out we did a group photo at the end of the canyon. The hike out was hot and dull all the way to the car. Then we were on our way home.

My goodness, what a day. All I can say is thank you Tom for not taking me on the exploration. I would have died. I learned that Tom is pretty smart when it comes to canyoneering. I wouldn’t have made it out without Dave. He was Mr. Amazing. I used him as a human staircase. Oh and thank you, to my dad for taking me, and also to everyone else in the group.

It was an experience of a lifetime. I hope to do it again!


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