A Short Film About Rock Climbing & Bikerafting Southern Utah, by Steve “Doom” Fassbinder
A Fool’s Errand: Catharsis, Mud and Tears in the Utah Desert
When was the last time you went on a road trip without some app telling you exactly where to go, turn by turn? In a world that is hyper-connected, we risk living in an illusion of control and becoming disconnected from the natural one. There is one man fighting the good fight. He charges into the wilderness with close friends and thrill-seekers, eschews cellphones, embraces topographic maps and seeks out the plentiful unknown of southeastern Utah. That man is Steve Fassbinder, but you can call him Doom.
“It’s not as though you’re choosing to intentionally suffer,” Fassbinder said. The Mancos, Colorado-based photographer and adventurer wears a tight-lipped smile. His gaze is piercing and his lust for exploring the unknown is alluring. He recalled his last trip into the Utah Desert that has become affectionately known as the Fool’s Tour IV. The trip was eight days of climbing desert tower first ascents, packrafting, bikepacking and some much needed “Bob Ross’ing,” or downtime.
The route was a circuitous 200 miles with a Toyota Tundra as the center point and a gear cache located near Hite Crossing. The Trip details and exact locations were intentionally fuzzy, but it all began at Dirty Devil Creek, wound past Fiddle Sticks, cycled through the Underworld, descended 3,000 feet from Ticaboo Mesa to Lake Powell and finally ended back at Hite Crossing.
“We weren’t out there in the desert ordering up difficulty, rain and sleet, but it always makes for a good story,” Fassbinder said.