Trail Report: Steelbender [Utah]

October 14, 2013

We started out pretty early, arriving at the trailhead about 8:00AM.

Quick group photo. Yours truly is taking the picture.

The team posed for a quick photo at the trailhead and we met up with a couple that asked if they could run the trail with us in their Cherokee.

We drove in about 2 miles of pretty easy gravel road with a minor creek crossing, and took a break for a quick driver’s meeting.  This was also a great opportunity to meet our new friends.

Minor creek crossing.
Quick driver’s meeting.

The area we stopped at was a “Driver’s Choice” section with many different lines of attack.  I chose what I thought was a challenging ledge and was able to get up reasonably easy, even though the rock surface had some damp sand.

My challenging line.

The trail continued to have a series of ledges and stairs peppered throughout its length.

Me trying to get Frank up a slick ledge.

Eventually, the trail opened up with a long ledge essentially splitting the trail into an upper and lower section.  Mark led the pack up through a narrow “V” which seemed to be the best line, with the least potential for tippyness.

Mark leading the charge.

After this section, the trail turns to the left and climbs up for some elevation gain.  There is a great spot for pictures on the ledge above.

From this section on, we navigated some different ledges and couple of tight sections.

Jesse navigating a tight spot. That’s what SHE said!

The trail also opened up and followed a very narrow ridgeline of slickrock.  Any missteps here would be a rollover.

The narrow ridgeline.

We broke for a quick lunch spot when the trail settled down and opened up, to allow for others to pass us as needed.

After lunch, we made our way toward the fabled “Fall.”  The Fall is a 6-7 foot near vertical drop.  At the base of this drop, the driver must turn an immediate left, as there is a ravine to the right.  Maintaining full control of the vehicle is critical, especially since once gravity takes over, it will slide down the face of the Fall with little control.

Richard taking on the Fall, with Frank the Tank on his 6.

After the Fall was behind us, we were able to appreciate the scenery of the area.  The desert floor opened up to some amazing vistas and rock formations.

Jesse posing.
Desert scenery.

At this point, the trail began to descend back to the creek drainage we crossed earlier in the day.

The ground became more sand than rock and presented more tree growth which added to the scenery.

The creek drainage scenery.

Once over the creek, we decided to check out some ancient petroglyphs/hieroglyphs on a wall.  The natural and human history of this area amazes me.

Native art scene.

Once on the road, we stopped at a local pub on our way home for a cold, malted beverage.

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WHAT CAME IN HANDY:

WHAT WOULD HAVE MADE IT BETTER:

2 thoughts on “Trail Report: Steelbender [Utah]”

  1. Thanks Andrew! We did see some amazing petroglyphs during our time there, but have heard there are thousands of sites. I’d like to get further out some day and see more without any defacing. That gets me so ticked!

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