Mooney Falls

Mooney Falls marks the downstream end of the campground. The water plunges about 200 feet in a single narrow stream to pool below which offers excellent swimming. However, getting to that pool will be a terrifying experience for all but the most fearless. If you have qualms about heights, confined spaces, steep stairs carved in cliff walls, chain rails, or crude ladders, you will be challenged here. On the other hand, if you have the strength in arms and legs, a strong grip, and can muster the courage it's a breathtaking, unforgettable experience. Don't forget, however, that you have to go back up the same way you came down.
SAM 0801  Mooney Falls. As you can see from the tent at the top, there is a small camping area right at the top. Not recommended for sleepwalkers! SAM 0805  The sign helps focus the mind! StoneStaircase  Starting down... SAM 0826  View of Mooney right before the first tunnel. At this point you've already descended probably 100 feet, but the worst is yet to come.
JR Ed  JR & Ed ready to start down. SAM 0803  Mooney in full length. SAM 0806  There are two tunnels on the way down. LightAtTheEnd  .. end is in sight.
SAM 0808  JR & Jon have just emerged from the second tunnel, about 70-80 feet above the canyon floor. As a pilot, JR's used to high places, but note that he's holding on with one hand and the other's in a pocket. Perhaps to conceal the shaking? TreacherousDescent  Sometimes it hard to know if you should go down looking forward like on stairs or backwards as with a ladder. At bit further along it will be more clear! SAM 0809  One should avoid looking down... JonExitsSecondTunnel  Jon ponders what lies ahead.
StoneStepsWithChainRails  Well, I might as well go on down. ApproachingFirstLadder  And down... SAM 0811  Jon gets some shots of where he's been. EdMadeIt  Ed's finally on solid ground... sure feels good!
BottomOfMooney  On the beach at last! SAM 0810  Traffic jam! The up-going hikers have the right-of-way, so downcomers are well advised to wait and let them all pass at one of the few wide spots. SAM 0813  If you study this photo you can see how far apart some of the footholds are. Probably the worst is where the woman in a white tee shirt, center photo, is making the transition from the middle ladder to the top ladder. You have to get your right  foot into a notch in the rock at about waist level, then push off with that foot while gripping the chains above and pulling mightily with both arms. It's difficult at best, but often there's  lot of spray making the ladder rungs, footholds, and chains wet and muddy!  BTW, the ladders have been recently replaced. The flimsy aluminum ladder at the lower right was in use for the last segment when Ed was here in 2012. AFewMoreSteps  Ed starts back up  Mooney after return from Beaver. His stragegy was to just start climbing, looking only for the next rung and handhold.
EdGoesUpMooney 2  Jon Ed  as he does the most difficult step, up off the middle ladder. ChainRails  These chains an anchors look very solid but there were roumers of loose ones. MooneyLateAfternoon  Mooney in the shadows of late afternoon, after our Beaver excursion. TravertineGrotto