Not Mind Bender Canyon

Dan and I just got back from a two week road trip roaming around the desert. We lived out of our car and ate our weight in Doritos and Mega Stuf Oreos and hiked and canyoneered and climbed and it was awesome.

Double Mega Stuf with a side of Gin and Tonic. It’s great to be an adult.

The first thing on our list was the “Not Mind Bender” canyon in the Robbers Roost area of Utah. We chose it mainly because we had plans to backpack afterward in the Maze district of the Canyonlands and this canyon was nearby. It was very fun and very beautiful.

We did encounter a lot (a relative term) of water, but otherwise this canyon is usually pretty dry according to Road Trip Ryan.

The canyon took us approximately 6 hours roundtrip. There are two rappels – the second being an incredible 90 foot overhanging rappel off of a dryfall. The exit out of the canyon requires 30 feet of unprotected 5.5 climbing. I will leave the details of the route to RTR as he covers pretty much everything and gives GPS coordinates which are extremely helpful, as always.

We slept off of the road that accesses the canyon. Breakfast and coffee:

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Car weighted down slightly in the back.

The approach to the canyon took about 45 minutes or so. We hiked for 15 minutes across a wide, shallow wash and then went up and over a slickrock pass. We crossed another shallow canyon.

Hiking and scouting.

Use a GPS or a map, it proved to be helpful. We hiked to the right around a large caprock. From the top of this we hiked down (trending right) for about 5-10 minutes to the rim of a wide side canyon. After entering this canyon and hiking for another 5 minutes we reached the start of Not Mindbender.

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Dan next to an awesomely delicate sandstone sculpture

We read that it would “slot up and drop quickly.” Oh boy did it ever. We have only done a few slot canyons, but this has been one of the tighter ones. What I’m trying to convey is that I am a beginner at canyoneering, so take what I say with a grain of rice.

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Wow, this gets tight quickly!

The fact that it rained recently meant that we had to wade up to shoulder deep in 5-6 sections. It is more fun to be the second person that goes so that you know how deep it will be! Also, Dan carried the rope. Dammit I need to be a better person.

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First of several water sections.

We didn’t take any pictures of the shoulder deep sections because it was too tight to get a camera out and kind of very cold. Who are we kidding? Thoughts of picture taking were superseded with thoughts of not dying in the bottom of a murky swamp monster pool.

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I think this was the last water section. Only knee deep!

After 20-30 minutes we reached a ~20 foot downclimb section. Meaning Dan downclimbed and I awkwardly slid down with my feet in his hands.

Approximately 10 minutes from this section is the first rappel, about 50 ft.

After the rappel the canyon opens and allows for easier walking. With lots of beautiful things to look at.

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Not sure why the sky looks like that, silly phone. It would be nice to learn photography?

We walked for another 45 minutes to the second and final rappel, ~90 feet. Surprise surprise, there were shiny new bolts for the anchors! Maybe these will be chopped in the near future, in which case there is a mess of webbing to use for the anchor.

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Second rappel

We walked down the canyon for 15 minutes and Mindbender canyon comes in on the left. Then another 30 minutes of walking the sandy riverbed.

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Hike hike hike on sand.

We hiked to the prominent vertical wall on the left that is the exit. There was a social trail that goes to the base of the slab. The climb out is a 30 ft 5.5 section with some enhanced holds. Dan climbed out and belayed me out because I didn’t want to tumble off the side and lay in a canyon for 10 hours waiting for help.

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Hike up to the exit climb.
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Start of the exit climb – with some enhanced holds!

Once out of the climbing section we hiked up and left over the ledge above the alcove.  Then it was up and up along low angle slick rock. Beautiful views for forever.

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Hiking out of the canyon
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Hiking up the boulder strewn gully

Last, we made our way up a boulder strewn gully and after popping up over the ledge we said HOLY CRAP THIS IS A CAMPSITE?? and walked a mile to get our car and move it so that we could live the dream:

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Dream = Food + Beer + Campfire + Views

Another awesome canyon in the Robber’s Roost area.

The end.




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