Canyoneering Close to Home- Yellow Cat exit I-70- MMI Canyon or a couple others

  • September 30, 2012 · 8:00 AM
  • Starvin Arvin's

Canyoneering Close to Home

MMI Canyon

(canyon rating  3AII)

Crescent Junction exit off I-70 (~ 18 miles east of Green River & 60 miles west of Fruita)

(Any off pavement trip or canyon-country outing is alway subject to chance to to weather; adverse or  unexpected environmental conditions. In this case we will monitor Green River, UT weather.)


8:00 AM meet at Starvin Arvins just off I-70 Fruita exit (Conoco truck stop west of the highway).


 MMI Canyon is the sister canyon to Lost and Found Canyon that we did back in Janauary. Other canyon options in the area might include Winter Camp Slot  if we want a short canyon with just 1 rappel but still very nice scenery.

These canyons are described as fun routes that explore a rarely visited section of Arches National Park. This offers seclusion inside the remote northern edge of Arches National Park. The routes are beginner friendly with competent leadership. A visit to the stunning Covert Arch hopefully we can make part of the MMI experience. If all goes well we may be able to do a simultaneous rappel off Covert Arch after completing MMI Canyon and climbing out.


  • Basic clothing in layers. This will not be an abrasive canyon(s) on your clothing so you can wear light weight nylon, etc.
  • Sturdy light hiking boots, running shoes. No need for sticky rubber canyon shoes.
  • Gloves (leather, fake leather or cotton back-rubber face 'Atlas' gloves)
  • Wind shell (probably no need but have it in the car at least)
  • Water, snacks & lunch; thermos of hot beverage in the car (optional)


(minimal list for a technical canyon you do with WSA, please.)

  • HELMET (required. no helmet-no canyons with this group. Bike helmet is OK)
  • Rope if you own one - we can decide later which to take and which to leave in the car
  • harness
  • rappel/belay device (ATC, Figure 8, Pirana, Totem, etc.)
  • locking carabiners (prefer 4-6/person but can get by with 2 or 3 for your first few trips; they start at ~$9 each at REI or Summit Canyon)
  • slings at least 1 12'-long, 1" webbing sling for general purposes &/or to make a daisy chain/ safety sling. Strongly suggest 2 of those 12' - 15'ers per person. By your 2nd or third trip please bring an additional 30' sling of 1" webbing that can be used for anchors, short handlines or other group uses. When buying webbing, please get natural canyon colors - canyon orange, tan, brown, black so slings left behind will blend in where they might otherwise be seen by hikers, etc.
  • rapid links/ rappel rings bring at least 3 for the group.
  • 30'-60' of 1" webbing that can be left as anchor material where needed (if you are not supplying a rope, please assume bringing this webbing is your responsibility)
  • gloves leather/ fake leather for rappeling and preventing sandpapered hands on the rock.
  • headlamp - ALWAYS have this in your pack (w spare batteries)
  • pack - some kind of pack to carry this gear and your portion of the group gear. When we do skinnier canyons you will need to carry all your gear through the canyon INSIDE your pack. In skinny slots and on rappels NOTHING CAN HANG OUT, so please  make it  a habit on any canyon trip that once you start down canyon, nothing is on the outside of your pack.
  • spare shoes and clothing in the car for drive home (canyon should be dry but there may be latant pools and mud patches)


Great idea. We can leave cars at the meeting place in Fruita. Based on our previous expereince here we do not need high clearance or 4 WD to access these canyons. If you are not meeting here for a carpool/ caravan please note other plans in your RSVP.


Please share gas $$ generously. 


(some, not all, and not in any order of preference)


  • Summit Canyon Mountaineering, in GJ for webbing and 'biners, rappel device, approach or other sticky rubber shoes
  • REI in GJ. Much the same gear as SC but more limited selctions
  • Home Depot/ Lowes in GJ for inexpensive headlamps, leather or rubber gloves, steel rappel links
  • Gear Heads in Moab, everything GJ shops have and a whole lot more
  • Canyoneering USA (on-line) is the real thing as far as all canyoneering gear is concerned - packs, harnesses, biners, wet suits; you name it.


CUSA Canyon skills tech tips

Canyoneering USA Latest Rave (newest hot spots in canyoneering)

Canyoneering Wiki a popouri of info we all should learn and be able to apply *****

Climb-Utah Canyoneering Primer about the best booklet around on general canyoneering info that can be printed out as one large file and carried in the car or read in bed *****

Bogley Canyoneering Forum is a list serve-type discussion board for canyons, canyoneers and canyoneering issues. Take some of what is said with a grain of sand.

Crapping in a canyon sounds like a joke but you did not like swimming in that canyon pool with the dead rat or the dead scorpion. I do not want to swim with . . .

Canyoneering emergency contacts list(s)

And more ... .


Doug Van Etten[masked]


From Crescent Junction: Follow I-70 east for 11 miles to Exit 193 (N38° 56' 32", W109° 36' 53"), signed Yellow Cat. Exit I-70 and turn south. Follow the graded Yellow Cat Road southeast for 6.2 miles to a fork (N38° 52' 04", W109° 33' 00"). Take the east (left) fork. Continue following the road for 2.1 miles to the Yellow Cat Mine Ruins (N38° 50' 53", W109° 31' 42"). The ruins are located on the east side of the road.

From The Yellow Cat Mine Ruins follow the road east for 1.0 mile to a fork (N38° 51' 01", W109° 30' 38"). Take the south (right) fork and follow the road 2.6 miles to a fork (N38° 49' 27", W109° 29' 48"). Take the east (left) fork and follow the road 3.1 miles to a junction (N38° 48' 31", W109° 26' 53"). Take the south (right) fork and follow the road 1.2 miles to a junction (N38° 47' 51", W109° 26' 06"), with a less traveled road heading west (right). Carefully driven passenger vehicles and high clearance vehicles can normally reach this junction without problems, beyond this point the roads might contain sections of sand.

Follow the less traveled road west for 2.9 miles to where a fence crosses the road. This is the MMI & Undercover Canyon Trailhead. Park next to the fence in what is starting to develop into a small parking area.

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  • Tami P.

    What a blast!

    October 2, 2012

  • Ralph

    Enjoyed Lost & Found Canyon

    October 2, 2012

  • Laney H.


    October 1, 2012

  • Doug Van E.

    Split into 2 groups of 7 to do both Lost n Found and MMI canyons. Good anchors, a little gutsy downclimbing to lead no trace of the first MMI anchor, a long extension of the anchor to protect the very soft sandstone being further cut into on the final rappel. Thanks for being the lead guy on your canyon today, Ryan. Thanks to the 3 UT'ans who came so far for a bit of canyon fun.

    September 30, 2012

  • Doug Van E.

    Hey Bob on one hand I know the canyoneering community frowns on hardware store quick links; on the other hand, I have been out with experienced canyoneers who use them. I will buy from Canyoneering USA when I am ordering something else but not put in a specific order to them just for links (I know, what is the value of safety?). On the other hand, to be overly concerned about the breaking strength of steel yet reuse a webbing anchor that may have been wet and dried how many times . .

    September 27, 2012

    • Doug Van E.

      Read the info on this page above in the section on where to buy what gear.

      September 27, 2012

    • Steve M.

      I don't think the canyoneering community frowns on hardware store rapids as long as they are stamped with a safe working load (SWL) of > 1400. This means the breaking strength is at least 7000 foot lb.

      September 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Doug - this looks awesome. When and where should I meet you guys?

    Anyone else traveling from SLC?

    September 27, 2012

    • Doug Van E.

      We meet at the Yellow Cat exit from I-70. Drive 33 miles east of Green River (do not -- DO NOT -- do NOT make the turn south to Moab) to the exit and wait there on the south side of the I-70 Freeway. While these canyons - MMI and List n Found --- are technically just barely inside Arches Natl Park, you do not go into the park by the usual roads. Once off the highway we are on all good dirt roads. I have been there 2x before - once for each of the mentioned canyons.

      September 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'd love to go...... HELP....I NEED A RIDE....Anyone?

    September 27, 2012

  • Doug Van E.

    Dogs are an absolute NO on this one. While not one of the harder canyons in UT, this one has a number of rappels and down-climbs that will test your skills as a human let alone a canine.

    September 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    If you'd like a passenger to share gas, please call me at[masked] I have no working vehicle at this time. I live four minuted from downtown in Orchard Mesa.

    September 27, 2012

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