January 20, 2011
My first hike below the rim in 2011 was an attempted (and failed) climb of a formation that’s most often referred to as The Wedding Cake.
It’s a multi-tiered Supai summit that sits above the north side of upper 75-Mile Canyon, and west of Escalante Butte. It’s sometimes also called The Birthday Cake, but the location is officially unnamed.
It sits on an isthmus that extends a significant distance out to the west and ends in a scenic, dramatic point, numbered with an elevation of 5,388 feet on most topo maps.
I remember once in my first couple of years at the Canyon how I was engaged in conversation with Lon Ayers at the backcountry office about random, interesting, and lesser known places in the Canyon. This was one that he specifically mentioned as a great place to go chill for a day hike and “have a few beers,” lol. On this day it served as a great consolation for failing to get a proper summit.
The wedding cake went well until I got to its uppermost tier. I first started going up the tier’s east end, which I still believe is the best way to go, but got uncomfortable and turned around. At that point I circumnavigated all the way around the butte at this level, looking for a suitable weakness, but found none that I liked solo this afternoon. Ah well.
The western point ended up being a great diversion, with even a little excitement of its own. A rather narrow but safe walkway had to be crossed to reach its far end, with dramatic drops that fell down the height of the Redwall on both sides.
The way to get out here was straightforward for an experienced off-trail hiker. From the Stegosaurus Rocks formation on the Tanner I first scrambled down the Supai toward the head of 75-Mile Canyon until I reached a place where it was logical to begin the contour along its north side. The early, sloped stages below Escalante Butte are the most tiresome before the the walking gets easy further west.
There’s known to be a Redwall route into 75-Mile Canyon on its opposite, south side, but I’ve never explored it. Unfortunately I didn’t have the knowledge and/or interest to scout it on this day. A friend who’s a skilled climber told me that he had use a hand line on the route.
These images were shot with the ol’ pocket camera, so unfortunately they’re not up to my usual standard.
There was a fair amount of ice on the upper Tanner Trail.
The initial route above 75-Mile and below Escalante Butte
Looking into the Redwall
down at the Tapeats
A look into the upper basin – might that be our Redwall route, or is this Papago Canyon? I can’t be sure.
looking back east