Finding a route to the top of Bowknot Mesa.
Spring 2014: Inspired by Udink’s successful hunt for the hard to reach geocache on top of Bowknot Bend Mesa on the Green River, I launched my own expedition last Tuesday.
My wife had forbidden me to drive the family van down Spring Canyon with its exposed, narrow and somewhat rugged jeep road. Therefore I was forced to deploy travel method number one in my multisport adventure: a mountain bike. The ride down to the river is steep but very scenic.
Once at water’s edge I inflated a packraft and paddled vigorously 6 miles downstream in a little more than an hour. A few weeks earlier I was here with my family and scrambled up to Bowknot Bend’s prominent saddle from the south (a trip report is somewhere on Backcountry Post), so I knew this part of the route.
From the saddle I contoured around to the north side of the isolated island mesa and followed a path of least resistance up steep slickrock and along ledges to the top. The route is likely the only non technical way up, and very similar to Udink’s. There were a spot or two of exposed friction climbing on thinly featured slabs of sandstone; passages where non climbers either would obliviously scamper up or freeze to a standstill gripped by fear.
The summit plateau is rather vast and gently contoured without any distinct highpoint, but the edge all around is a massive terraced wonderland of ledges and steep canyons and abrupt edges falling to the river. Quite enticing. After spending a few hours rambling about up here I returned to the river on the opposite side of Bowknot Saddle and floated back to the bike and rode the steep switchbacks up to the van.
10 hrs roundtrip, 25 miles total combining bike, packraft and hiking.
At the take out before the south side hike up to BowKnot Saddle.
Looking back at the bowl containing the scramble up from the saddle.
A view from the rim
The packraft which has opened up so many new trip opportunities.
Packed up and ready to begin the ride back out of Spring Canyon.