So I hiked Angels Landing again after 8 months.

My first experience with the Angels Landing was so memorable that I jumped at the opportunity when I heard that a few friends are planning a Utah / Arizona trip.  The difference for this trip was that we were hiking in February and there were still be ice and snow at the top of the mountain. Yay?

Clara hiking the Angels Landing at Zion National Park

Clara hiking the Angels Landing at Zion National Park

Having done this trail recently I felt relatively confident, so I took on an additional assignment.  I am taking part of a project by an outdoor adventure group called WildKidz, the project involves passing a GoPro Hero4 Silver between members for a compilation video and I was set to kick the series off.  So I mounted the GoPro on my well-used selfie stick and off we go!

Meet my awesome travel buddies - Clara, Julie, Vienna!

Meet my awesome travel buddies – Clara, Julie, Vienna, posing at the beginning of the 1.5 miles of chain!

Blog_AngelsLanding2_6The first stretch of the hike was pretty uneventful. We were in good spirit, snapping photos and experimenting with different angles for the GoPro. The temperature was surprisingly warm (~60F) and we doubted any snow would have survived on the trail.

Clara and I are from Maryland and we woud often hike off-trail at Great Falls.  Julie is from San Francisco where she used to hike often although not recently. Vienna is from Los Angeles where she did not hike much but is in good physical shape (although totally wearing the wrong bag for the occassion). We have a good and fun team going up!  We also have two pairs of Microspikes in case we do encounter snow. We did not bring trekking poles because this hike was about 5.5 miles round trip and the poles would just get in the way once we get to the chain section.

Vienna getting ready to call an Uber

Vienna getting ready to call an Uber

Since the actual trail was covered in detail in my previous blog post, I will touch on what was new this hike.

Hiking Angels Landing with a GoPro in one hand is completely doable. I wanted to show how steep the canyon was so I tried to film from a top-down angle whenever possible. There were a few sections where I pointed the camera forward like a chase-cam, but it simply was not as impressive while going up the mountain. Although going down, top-down chase cam looks very impressive! Unfortunately I was out of battery 1/3 the way down so I had to stop filming.

Climbing the chain section! With the GoPro in one hand, it was slightly sketchy at times. The challenge was not so much the lose of one hand, but rather the distraction of making sure I was framing the camera properly.

Climbing the chain section! With the GoPro in one hand, it was slightly sketchy at times. The challenge was not so much the lose of one hand, but rather the distraction of making sure I was framing the camera properly.

Hiking Angels Landing with GoPro in hand was also extremely distracting. I was constantly checking where the camera was pointed to make sure it was framed properly, and because my selfie-stick did not have a lanyard, I had to be extra mindful not to drop the rig. If I were to do it again, I would at the very least made sure there was a secure lanyard attached to the selfie stick.

Instead of my usual Quik Pod GoPro pole that is sturdy and waterproof, I opted for a cheapo selfie stick I use with my phone. The reason is I want the rig to be as light and compact as possible…  this turned out to be an excellent decision.

We were also glad to have brought our Microspikes for this trip. We did end up hitting patches of ice near the top of the mountain and there were a few hairy moments. While the hike would still be do-able without the Microspikes, with them strapped to our shoes just made our footings that much more secure.

There was snow & ice near the summit. The GoPro video shows this in more detail.

There was snow & ice near the summit. The GoPro video shows this in more detail.

The crazy thing is, we met hikers wearing casual sneakers coming down the trail and nonchalantly hopping into the ice patches. They were Utah locals and had done this trail many times… of course.

The summit of Angels Landing was as beautiful as I remembered and we even explored the lower portion of the summit that I skipped last time because it was really steep.

Breathtaking view at the summit of Angels Landing

Breathtaking view at the summit of Angels Landing

Angel landed?

Angel landed?

I have a feeling this will not be the last time I hike the Angels Landing. There are still side trails that we did not explore and this hike remains one of my favorite hikes in the whole US.  Please enjoy the GoPro video I put together for this hike!

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