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UT: Cedar Mesa Gravel, a Cedar Mesa classic

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Mountaineer, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

    Having done Gravel's neighbor, Cheesebox last year, my wife and I opted to visit Gravel this last weekend.

    Weather was perfect. The road is in fairly good condition, although I would recommend high clearance as parts are a little rough. It seemed the drive over White Canyon was the worst, the very beginning, however there were other sections that begged for forgiveness as well. Rental car approved?

    We set off expecting an easy, short day. The return back to the road seemed to go on the longest. With lunch, and an hour siesta by the ruins it was about 7 hours. Add the drive there and back on the long road, the time went by fast and it became an enjoyable full day.

    We followed a side canyon into the main Gravel drainage. The side canyon actually packed most of the fun for the day. It is one closest to the road running from the NE to SW.

    DSC08745 v2. One of many side canyon obstacles coming into Gravel.

    Once in the main canyon, there are a couple of raps and a lot of boulders you have to negotiate. Sometimes you pick the wrong side of the boulder field; when you look back you realize there was an easier path. After doing a few scrapes and hard landings, you tend to take the time explore both sides before committing to the down climb.

    DSC08782 v2.
    Lots of water in Gravel.

    Unfortunately, someone decided a bolt was needed in Gravel. I could see multiple natural anchor possibilities. But, the shiny bolt was there and very obvious. And add to it: bright yellow webbing that was about 15' long or so, but still way short.

    After we explored a fun alcove just before this rap (to the right, you have to climb a deadfall to get up to it); I replaced the glow in the dark webbing with an appropriate dark color and extended it another 20' to the lip. There are rope groves starting to form, so hopefully others will use this longer webbing to at least protect the rock. I realize it is a harder start, but you can courtesy rig it for all but the last person down.

    Community discussion on pulling a bolt? I didn't have the tools to do so...but it seems this spot and area do not require any bolts...

    Bolt looks very new.

    DSC08766 v2.
    Elizabeth glad she has a wetsuit.

    Very enjoyable canyon, and thanks to all for working to keep it pristine.

    DSC08808 v2.
    Gravel is the canyon you see below. To get to the ruins, you need to escape Gravel and then traverse back over.

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  2. Bill

    Bill ...

    I'd love to do this one sometime.
    Mountaineer likes this.
  3. Kevin


    Nice pictures, gravel is a good one, nice that it's not frequently traveled.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
    Mountaineer likes this.
  4. Kuenn


    Very nice report, Mark. Something tantalizing about the location of the ruins, in that last pic - very cool. Makes you wonder about the former inhabitants, how much the canyon was their playground. And from the placement, they were definitely flash-flood aware!
    Mountaineer likes this.
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