Scenic Slots of Southern Utah Canyon Country

Famed for a movie named after hours spent in suffering. A location you’d stumble upon only if lost. A canyoneer’s home for a solid weekend. Robbers Roost. 

Why the ominous title? Some history according to le wiki: The hideout was considered ideal because of the rough terrain. It was easily defended, difficult to navigate into without detection, and excellent when the gang needed a month or longer to rest and lie low following a robbery. It was while hiding out at Robbers Roost that Elzy Lay and Butch Cassidy first formed the Wild Bunch gang. The Wild Bunch gang, early on led by Cassidy and his closest friend Elzy Lay, developed contacts inside Utah that gave them easy access to supplies of fresh horses and beef, most notably the ranch owned by outlaw sisters. The gang constructed cabins inside Robbers Roost to help shield them from the harsh winters. There, they stored weapons, horses, chickens, and cattle.

Okokok so fast forward from the 1890s to the 2019s and you’ll find an equally vibrant and eclectic band of hooligans up to no good.. 

Day 1: reports of dry canyons had the photographers itching to check out one of the more gorgeous canyons in the area. You want tight corridors, swirly sandstone, AND beautiful reflected light? Done

What about stemming? Oh ya.. 

Arches in canyons? It happens. Do you know the difference between an arch and a bridge? According to the Natural Bridge and Arch Society (yes yes you read that correctly..) “a natural bridge is distinguished from other types of natural arches by having one or more of the following attributes: a current of water, such as a stream, clearly was a major agent in the formation of the opening.” So, an arch formed via water is a bridge. Ok. Enough science. 

I was able to practice my 3 main concepts of canyoneering photography: leading lines, layers, and light. Photographing while leaning to the side, crouching down to capture the ground as a foreground, and taking advantage of reflected light, or the soft glow that’s sources from farther up or down-canyon.

And then.. POOF! Canyoneers appear from the sky!

A hike out and halloween fest were in order

Next day was more technically challenging. No bolts for anchors? Ghost it! Use rocks! Sticks! Go! 

It can get a little hectic: the organization, the yard sale of gear that occurs at most rappels where anchors need rebuilding, the sequencing of human bodies in tight spaces, the coordination of gear that these humans possess. It makes me so happy. Sometimes it’s a well-oiled machine and everyone knows their place/strength and other times it’s a mad dash and intense combination of opinions and techniques. Either way, it’s a joy, because it’s all within the watchful walls of ancient dunes and seabeds that we now explore. 

Using Format