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Medieval Chamber -- A Climbing and Canyoneering Adventure Near Moab

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Medieval Chamber: Fun Canyoneering Adventure Near Moab
Medieval Chamber -- A Climbing and Canyoneering Adventure Near Moab

Brian Shelton and Cliff Powers with Front Range Climbing Company rappel off Morning Glory Natural Bridge near Moab in eastern Utah.

Photograph © Stewart M. Green
Rating: 3A

Length: I-II (3 to 4 hours)

Distance: 3.7 miles total. 1.4 miles from parking to bridge rappel.

Rappels: Two 100-foot rappels.

Water: One pool; waist-deep if full. Wet suit not required.

Season: Year-round.

Flash Flood Danger: Moderate in July and August. Do not enter the canyon if there is any chance of a thunderstorm in the La Sal Mountains to the southeast. Morning is the best time to avoid possible flooding.

Type of Trip: Out-and-Back or One-Way (Shuttle Required).

Permit: None required.

Fee: $5 entrance fee to access trailhead on Sand Flats Road.

Equipment: Technical climbing gear—harness, rappel device, locking carabiners, slings, helmet, a 200-foot (60-meter) rope or two 165-foot (50-meter) ropes if you simul-rappel. Also bring extra webbing and rappel rings in case you have to back up the rappel anchors.

Map: USGS Moab and Mill Creek quads.

Waypoints:
  • Sand Flats Road Trailhead: 38° 35.028’ N / 109° 29.562’ W
  • First Rappel: 38° 35.551’ N / 109° 30.497’ W
  • Morning Glory Rappel: 38° 35.620 N / 109° 30.520 W
  • Negro Bill Canyon Parking Area: 38° 36.592’ N / 109° 32.012’ W

Medieval Chamber is a Great Adventure

The Medieval Chamber, also called Morning Glory, is a short, relatively easy, and spectacular canyoneering adventure in a side canyon off Negro Bill Canyon east of Moab, Utah. The 3.5-mile-long route follows a shallow sandstone canyon with a few narrow sections before making two 100-foot rappels off cliffs, including one next to arching Morning Glory Natural Bridge, between Sand Flats Road and River Road.

Simul-Rappel is a Highlight

The highlight for skilled climbers is a simul-rappel, rappelling off each side in tandem, from the flat top of the natural bridge. The bridge is accessed from below by an excellent trail along a perennial stream in Negro Bill Canyon and is a popular hiking destination for Moab visitors. Expect an audience as you make the final rappel down Morning Glory Natural Bridge and get asked lots of questions about climbing.

One-Way or Loop Hike?

The Medieval Chamber canyoneering trip is best done as a one-way hike from top to bottom, with a shuttle vehicle left at the Negro Bill Trailhead on the River Road (UT 128) about three miles upriver from US 191 northwest of Moab. It is possible, however, to do the trip as a loop hike if you’re a climber. You can exit the canyon below Morning Glory Natural Bridge after rappelling by climbing a rock rib (5.4 R) out of the canyon and then hiking south back to the upper parking area. If you don’t have an extra vehicle to park at the lower trailhead, there are shuttle services in Moab that can pick you up after your trip and take you back to your vehicle on Sand Flats Road.

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