Insomnia Canyon, AZ
Location: Arizona, Secret Mountain Wilderness
Rating: 4B-III R
Longest Rappel: ≈ 320'
Insomnia Canyon is a big day through the Secret Mountain Wilderness with the highlight of the trip being a 320' rappel with a lot of it free hanging. We arrived the previous night and set up a shuttle near the Call of the Canyon parking lot and made the drive up top to camp for the weekend. We walked out of camp early morning geared up with a 330' and 100' rope in tow along with (2) 200' lengths of pull cord. From camp it was a quick walk to the canyon entrance and once in, we soon found thick brush, logs, and boulders to navigate around before hitting the heart of the canyon. Reaching the technical section we suited up and encountered many nice rappels, down climbs, and swimmers throughout the journey. Eventually we dropped into a fairly large room with a fixed hand line leading to the staging area for the big drop (as with all canyon fixtures, they should never be expected to be there during your trip. Although this fixture in particular was not critical, one should always have the expertise to improvise as necessary when expected features may be missing). Staging the big drop was straight forward in this case since there is room for only 1 or 2 below the large room, a pair of bolts, and a protective mat to keep the rope edge safe and avoid rope groves during the pull. With everyone down, we found this a good place to enjoy a snack while managing the giant pile of rope we had just accumulated. From here on a few more nice rappels and down climbs were encountered, some into potentially keeper potholes during dry conditions. A bit further down canyon you come to a decision point regarding how you have set up the day regarding your exit. If you have parked at call of the canyon the traditional exit calls for a scenic walk approximately 4.3 miles down the west fork of oak creek. This is a great exit and will let you experience a portion of the west fork that people from all over come to hike. If you have parked up top, you will be exiting via the sneak route one drainage over. This second route has you walking nearly to the confluence of Insomnia and Illusions canyons where you then simply cut over and work your way to the exit. Once you find yourself in the Illusions drainage, simply walk up canyon about 0.4 miles until you encounter a drainage on canyon right with some downed logs that indicate the exit point. If you reach the pothole rappel of Illusions you have gone too far, turn around and the exit is approximately 120' (40 yards) down canyon. Working your way up this can present several options along the way, choosing the path of least resistance to work your way to the top is recommended. Reaching the top of the drainage, walk the upper section and negotiate a hill to the west to reach the vehicle parked earlier.