Mindbender Fork, Robbers Roost, UT
March 2004. Beautiful weather. Another weekend in the Roost. The North Fork of Robbers Roost Canyon has many, many forks. Rather confusing really. I thought I had found the famous "Mindbender" Fork, about which Steve Allen tells an interesting story, perhaps over-dramatized; but it was not to be - what I found was a really good fork I now call Not-Mindbender.
Finally, the time had come. The release of Kelsey's Technical Slot Guide had let a lot of cats out of the bag, including one people had identified as Mindbender.
But first, a little breakfast to get the day started. (Mindbender)
Drive off to some non-descript spot in the desert, park and start hiking. Nice Plan. Shane, Giles, Julie, Alicia, Sharon, Tom, Barb, Jeff. (Mindbender)
Hey, over here! We found a canyon. (Mindbender)
Really difficult entry. (Mindbender)
Social club, lagging a bit behind. (Mindbender)
Finally it narrows down. (Mindbender)
The charming Julie, rapping first rap. (Mindbender)
Curious anchor we found here, for a short little rappel. An expertly placed webbing knot used as a chock. Only problem - the webbing was 9/16" "Aid Tape" - that weak, thin stuff. Yikes. Seems a bit sketchy to use such tiny webbing. We replaced it with a tied off rock under some ledge things, which was just lying there right at the top of the drop. An EZ anchor to get.
Not so narrow anymore. (Mindbender)
Okay, then it gets narrow again. (Mindbender)
Another day, another canyon lunch. (Mindbender)
Sharon Talboys demonstrates excellent stemming technique. (Mindbender)
An interesting assisted downclimb. (Mindbender)
A beautiful, soaring wall section. (Mindbender)
Tom takes the high road, Shane takes the low road... (Mindbender)
Okay Dokey. Show Time. The famous Mind Bending final drop, where our friend Steve M. had trouble not too long ago, a famous epic location.
There IS an anchor in place. Hmmm, if you want to call it that. A small cairn quite a way back from the drop, tied off with that jingus 9/16" aid tape, backed up to a rock keyed-in to a hueco. While I am perhaps known for rapping off some suspect anchors, this was a little too suspect for me.
Pretty good rock-in-a-hueco, as rocks-in-huecos go.
But first, gotta get the team together. We sequenced down that last rap, with Alicia last. Then she gets the aggressive team spot for the downclimb.
Time to build an anchor. First, we find a stout rock, and toss a clove hitch around it. It is, of course, very important to get the sling to be very secure around the rock, sometimes difficult given that most rocks are rather roundish. The geometry of that last pothole is almost perfect for this kind of anchor.
Stack another big rock on top of that.
Put a couple more on top of it. Looks good to me (though others had their doubts).
Kind of a big one, down to the edge of the trees.
Pool was low so no problem there.
Then a bit of a hike out, but the North Fork is so fabulous, and the day had not been long.
The big domes down near the intersection with Middle Fork. (Mindbender)
Climbing out the hueco wall. (Mindbender)
The traverse of the clods, across the top of a big alcove. (Mindbender)
Wonderful view down the Middle Fork. (Mindbender)
And riding back to the car – Jeff in the back of the pickup, of some people who just wandered by… Who would know you could hitchhike out in the middle of nowhere?