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Problematic Winter Exits

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ram, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. Ram

    Ram

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    With the sport having stretched into a year around activity, we are perhaps a month or so late discussing this important issue. There has been much discussion, some challenging exits and a few accidents reports, reported on the Collective in "Winter's past."


    Here is a starter list of areas of concern.....

    *-The Moki exit of the North Forks of Robber's Roost forks is totally north facing and even in minimal snow, it holds snow when there is barely any snow in the area. Just a little snow makes this exit a non-starter. I seem to recall that a group went very far down and found an exit? Someone with a hurt foot, another time? A few rescues for sure. One could go out the White Roost exit but that is very FAAAAAAAR way and far from your vehicle. The Crack exit of the NF of Robbers Root faces south, but is steep and could hold blowing snow. Still, spotting a car there is a possibility for the other forks and mitigating this concern

    *-The Lost Spring canyons of Arches, the area accessed by the interstate, has a northern and very exposed exit. This is the site of a bad accident. If you are out there, it is not too far to scout the exit before committing to the canyons. I heard rumor that there may be other exits further down, but I am not sure.

    *-Chambers climb back up is mostly south facing, but does have a descent, on exit, that is north facing and often holds snow. It can be linked tree to tree with long ropes....something not taken into Chambers under normal conditions

    *-Pandora's up canyon exit is north exposed and at altitude. It is class 4 normally and is broken, which is helpful, but it is exposed and dangerous too. Plan to go down canyon, in winter, unless the area is snow free, which is not common


    These just off the top of my head. Can others add to the list?
    Mountaineer likes this.
  2. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    *-The Moki exit of the North Forks of Robber's Roost forks is totally north facing and even in minimal snow, it holds snow when there is barely any snow in the area. Just a little snow makes this exit a non-starter

    The thing about the Moki exit is that you can check it out before hand and leave a fixed rope if needs be. I've always done this in winter (which is actually the only time I've done the route). In winter, I wouldn't plan on using the route as an exit unless I checked it out before hand.

    I seem to recall that a group went very far down and found an exit?

    There is an exit at Roost Arch. If you are doing the canyons the use the Moki exit, this would be a much better alternative exit than the White Roost exit.

    I heard rumor that there may be other exits further down, but I am not sure.

    I have been told that there are exits both up and down canyon, but the NPS doesn't like you to do them because of crypto.

    Can others add to the list?

    I
    t's not really a canyon, but Elephant Butte. The exit rappel can be risky when I gigantic icicle is hanging off it.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
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  3. Ram

    Ram

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    Mteer mentions that there are area above the the Moki exit that can be problematic and Tom mentions a spot just past the petroglyphs, in particular.
    If I recall it is about 600 feet of altitude down to the cruxes? If so, I understand why some don't scout and commend you Scott, for doing so. But perhaps folks mostly don't anticipate the issue. Spread the word. Where is Roost Arch? And while crypto is worth protecting, getting out may take precedence if one gets in over their head. I assume its BLM, not NPS out there?
  4. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Where is Roost Arch?

    Just down the main Robbers Roost Canyon from Little White Roost. A cattle trail goes right through the arch and up to the rim. Here are the coordinates:

    http://www.utaharches.com/MISC/robbersroostarch.html

    It is also known as Robbers Roost Arch and Angel Arch. Years ago, this is the route we used to make a loop of the South Fork before Kent Beverly showed us the Moki Route.

    If doing the Mindbender area canyons, it would still be a much longer route than coming up the Moki Route, but still better than trying to come out White Roost and being on the wrong side of the canyon system.

    PS, I just noticed that it isn't that far down canyon from what some are calling Sphinx Canyon. Apparently, the people who did Sphinx didn't know about the cattle trail because they jugged back up the ropes. The approach (or exit) to/from the arch uses the same old road that heads out to what are being called Sphinx and Etta Place Canyons. I would think using the arch trail after Sphinx would be a lot easier than jugging back up the ropes or trying to combine it with the Moki route.

    The arch and cattle trail are marked in purple (this is the map of Sphinx Canyon):

    [​IMG]

    And while crypto is worth protecting, getting out may take precedence if one gets in over their head. I assume its BLM, not NPS out there?

    I believe the NPS acquired that land several years ago, even though it hasn't been updated on all the topo maps. The NPS boundary now follows the rim of the Lost Spring Canyons, which all the canyons below the rim being in the National Park.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
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  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    As I remember, the previous group that got stuck there (a couple years ago) went ALMOST all the way down, but not far enough to view the moki-hueco wall. Being at the bottom, the moki-hueco wall gets the least sun, and holds snow even when the slickrock above is snowfree.

    I would more point to that the Roost is not that good a place to go in snowy conditions. I can think of three better places: North Wash, North Wash and North Wash.

    Tom
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  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    We did Sphinx this spring, and went out the Moki exit, which worked out well logistically. The hiking place to start from Sphinx is pretty close to the start of Not Mindbender, so the carspot is not very far.

    Tom
  7. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    The hiking place to start from Sphinx is pretty close to the start of Not Mindbender, so the carspot is not very far.

    If you don't have a car spot, I would still think that the arch trail would make a better exit for that canyon. Even though it may look long on the map, the walking is very fast along that route.
  8. Ram

    Ram

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    nice alternative. North exposed too. Worth a look.

    Oh and my apologies. on the NPS vs. BLM. I failed to comprehend the switch in the conversation from the Roost to the Lost Spring area
  9. qedcook

    qedcook

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    Edited because of bad data...
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    That looks like the exit in Pasture Canyon - is that what you meant? Seems like the exit in White Roost would likely be passable and a whole lot closer.

    Tom
  11. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    nice alternative. North exposed too.

    It is north exposed, but except for the very top, it's a sand dune. There would only be some slickrock at the very top. Once you go through the arch, it wouldn't be north facing anymore. Still the route is a cattle trail. A cattle trail with snow and ice isn't as serious as an exposed route.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  12. qedcook

    qedcook

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    Right you are. I misread the first post. My bad...
  13. Ram

    Ram

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    Another set of canyons come to mind. While Arscenic can be difficult to exit the wash, in snowy conditions, it is easier than Constrycnine and Slideanide, which can be quite difficult making the transitions from traveling north,after the tech sections, to the bench land heading back south to the canyon heads, when snowy
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    ... which may require walking all the way around to the Arscenic exit - again emphasizing the need for carrying a map when going out in winter.

    Tom
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  15. Ram

    Ram

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    The Kelsey Exit out of the West Butler's faces east, but when snow is on the slab traverse, up high, noted climber Steve Levin reported it being treacherous to cross, with death exposure. One can walk out the bottom then. If not sure, spot a car at the bottom to leave options open. The way out the bottom to the road is a bit longer but pleasant too.
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  16. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Or anytime for that matter. I left mine behind on one of my recent trips, as the group stated "we know how to get there, done it tons of times". Well...it cost us a few extra hours only without the map. We got lucky vs. making the news. Don't make the mistake. Always carry a good one.
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  17. qedcook

    qedcook

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    Any updates on the Mindbender exit? Has it cleared yet?
  18. John Diener

    John Diener

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    FYI - easy to scout from the top (I've done so for FF before) - if you can reach the fault going down, the route up and out goes.
    -john
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  19. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Let's bump this one too...

    Tom
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  20. Ram

    Ram

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    BUMP again.....tis the season
    Plan well and remember
    ~snow and slickrock do not mix well
    ~Wingate gets especially slick when sun angles reduce
    ~It only takes a few feet of snow to shut the door on some exits
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