Hiking Angels Landing: This is not Disneyland!
When going on a holiday, the preparations are often just as fun as the holiday itself. At least, that was the case when we were preparing our holiday to the west coast of the USA. We read the necessary information and searched on YouTube for related movies. One movie really got our attention: in this movie a man climbed to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park. What a climb! We didn't know if we would dare to make it to the top of Angels Landing. In the Lonely Planet, this hike was described as: 'This strenuous hike is not just a physical challenge, but a mental one...' Because of this text, we choose a different hike at first. But it appeared that this hiking trail was closed due to maintenance work. There was no other option (no, really...) then hiking Angels Landing!
Because we had read it can get pretty busy at the top of Angels Landing, we left early. A little too early... In order to get the first bus at 6 in the morning, we got out of bed at 5. That's what you call a holiday! We were amazed to see so many other 'crazy' people planning to do the same hike. Almost everybody on the bus got off at 'The Grotto', the bus stop opposite Angels Landing. Looking up to Angels Landing, we saw an enormous mountain which appears to be unclimbable without climbing equipment.
After crossing the river, we followed the trail along the river. The first few meters were kind of chilly as we were walking in the shadow of Angels Landing. But as soon as the trail started to climb, sweat started to pour down. A pretty steep climb followed through 'Refrigerator Canyon'. But that was just the mild bit, when we took a sharp right turn we looked up and saw 21 hairpin turns: Walter's Wigles.
When we got to the top, we knew the hardest part had yet to come. Only one kilometer was left, but this one kilometer required some serious scrambling. Before starting on this last stretch, we had serious doubts. But there was no reason for these doubts. Yes, there are definitely some dangerous stretches with steep and very deep drops, but we continued and fun it was.
We often had to use the cables to hold on to, but that's why they are there for, right? As long as you are prepared for this last and steep section where scrambling is required, you will likely be able to get to the top of Angels Landing. But how surprised were we when we even saw people walking on flip-flops? Seriously? Ok, when reaching the top, we understood why so many people try to get to the top: the view is amazing. You have a panoramic view into Zion National Park: beautiful.
Because we left early, it was relatively quiet at the top. When we descended from the top, it was way more crowded already. And the crowd that was now climbing the last scrambling section was even ridiculous. Especially where you had to hold on to the cables, passing each other appeared to be very difficult.
We managed to get down safely. Now we have experienced the descend ourselves, we can honestly say that it was much worse on the video! We don't say that there is no danger involved. As long as you are aware of the risks, it should be alright. But always keep in mind that 6 people have actually died attempting to climb Angels Landing in the past few years. Lonely Planet is therefore correct in saying 'This is not Disneyland'.