Rambles in Robbers Roost Canyons, UT
Went out to the Roost to do some Rambling with Alane from Colorado. The weather was a bit rainy, so we kept things rather mild, and tried to keep not too wet. First day, after driving in, we rambled down the Middle Fork of Robbers Roost Canyon, and did it's one rappel (as two rappels), hiked down the Middle to the North, then up to the usual Mindbender climb-up exit. Made the top as the sun was setting. A nice hike with a tidbit of canyoneering. Next day, it rained in the early morning. We were a bit worried about driving anywhere, and let the roads dry for a bit. Then did the closest canyon to our campsite - well, not the closest - down the road a mile and across and up, then wandered around a bit. Found a canyon and followed it down - without a map, we weren't sure exactly which one it would be, but as long as we missed Mindbender itself, we would be OK. Turns out we hit the one I wanted, Maybe Mindbender.
In places a bit wet. But mostly not. We wore wetsuits and were comfy. A couple rappels, mostly off bolts, then into Not Mindbender just before its final rappel. The anchor here was in the best shape I have ever seen... so we just rapped down. Perhaps my first time EVER not rebuilding that anchor. Then a bit of a walk and up the exit again. Sunset and beer from the nearby gents at the top.
Third day was reserved for a semi-exploration - the Sphinx, an interesting canyon some guys had found between the South Fork and the Middle Fork. We walked an old Jeep road for a bit, pulled out the GPS and found the top of the canyon. We rambled on down the wide top bowl and eventually found a drop, built and anchor and slid down the mighty 10 foot rappel!!! (A little high to downslide, deep in the backcountry).
We weren't real sure what to expect, other than not a lot of action. Which we got. There were some nice narrows. A lot of hot walking in the sand. A bit of fighting off the Cedar Gnats!!!
And then... the BIG FINISH! Down a short drop, downclimb and slide. A scramble around and down. Then it gets tight. Uh, hope we don't have to go up there. I go down to the bottom and peek around the corner. Too tight! I don't think we can get through at the bottom. I retreat, and suggest Alane NOT come down to floor level. The upclimb looks particularly unappealing. I go back down and peek around the corner... well, maybe I can fit. We brought a 200 foot rope and wetsuits, so the packs were largish. Alane fit through easily, but I had to struggle to worm my way through, dragging the pack behind. Cool! Out through a tunnel and a fair bit of air appears - the final rappel (stated as 180 feet).
An elevator down to a small ledge. Not much to work with for an anchor. Alane went down off meat to put rocks into a pack and send em up. But, with all the rain, most of the rocks were fragile. Up top - I found a flake with a nice tapered slot in it, then I found a rock that fit in there, after being broken down to size. A piece of 1" tubular went around it well, and the knot just happened (good to be lucky) to slide nicely into a slot below that, forming a perfect knot chock, held in place by the rock-chock above. I rigged up the anchor and carefully slid to the ground. Ah, good to be good, but good to be lucky too.
We wandered downcanyon and once again, climbed up exit, then the stairmaster to the rim. Celebratory beverage. A fine extended weekend Rambling the Roost.