Hiking the Grand Canyon

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martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 22, 2013 - 07:03pm PT
Hey folks, my wife and I are hiking the Narrows in Zion top down on May 31. We are flying into Las Vegas and I was thinking of going to the Grand Canyon before hand. Question, possible for a very fit couple to hike to the river and back up in one day? I don't want to take camping gear on this trip but would love to hike the canyon. Thanks for any input!

Marty
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 22, 2013 - 07:07pm PT
No problema.....enjoy!
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Mar 22, 2013 - 07:07pm PT
Not unreasonable at all. 14ish miles round trip with 4500 feet of gain/loss? something like that?
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 22, 2013 - 07:27pm PT
Yes, but take LOTS of water!

The average GC fatality is a 20 something, really fit, with a liter or less of water.

The temp difference from the rim to the river is really dramatic, and it's uphill all the way to the beer.
Osprey

climber
Mar 22, 2013 - 07:34pm PT
Just be ready for the heat. The temps at Phantom Ranch will be comparable to Phoenix. Which, more than likely, will be around 100*F at the beginning of June.
GuapoVino

Trad climber
Mar 22, 2013 - 07:39pm PT
There is a foot race there every year, or there used to be, that went from rim to rim during daylight hours. It's a hump. In early June its going to be hot.

If you can't make it back to the rim in one day you need to get a backcountry permit. For late May/early June they are probably all booked up. Permits are issued for different zones within the canyon, some zones having more permits available than others. You can apply for permits starting exactly three months before the month that you want a permit in. Another option is to be at the backcountry reservations office by 8:00 AM the morning you hope to start hiking. Sometimes they have cancellations and usually have a permit if you're flexible on which trail you want to hike or where you're willing to camp.

It's kind of a pain in the ass. If you're sneaky you can keep hiking until dark and then just find a quick place to sleep and then up and moving by sunrise. If you get busted they'll write you a ticket. You have to have your permit tag on the outside of your pack and they do like to check them.
John M

climber
Mar 22, 2013 - 07:55pm PT
Do people stash water on the way down for the return? Or is it too risky to lose your water?
BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 07:56pm PT
If you can get a ride over to the Kaibab Trail it makes a good loop. Down Kaibab, 3 or 4 (?) miles along the river then up Bright Angel. I did it in late May, start at 12 - 1pm and you are hiking up and out in late afternoon shade. Should be no problem for a "very fit couple".

BH
wivanoff

Trad climber
CT
Mar 22, 2013 - 08:12pm PT
We did South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch (7 miles) and then Bright Angel (10 miles) back to the rim. NO water available on South Kaibab. This was in April and we carried 4 liters each down. On Bright Angel we got water at Indian Gardens and then at the two houses after that.

In the morning when we left it was 22F on the rim. When we got to Phantom Ranch it was 92F. In April.

There are signs warning about trying to get to the bottom and back in the same day. You have to be very fit and have plenty of water. But lots of people do it. I've heard that some even go rim to rim but they cache water.

On the way out, at the switchbacks, make sure to check out the petroglyphs. You'll have to ask someone where they are. There's more in the vicinity of the tunnel at the top.
South Kaibab
South Kaibab
Credit: wivanoff
Glyphs
Glyphs
Credit: wivanoff
Bright Angel
Bright Angel
Credit: wivanoff

GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Mar 22, 2013 - 08:17pm PT
There is a foot race there every year, or there used to be, that went from rim to rim during daylight hours. It's a hump.

Huh, I didn't know there was a shuttle, I had to run all the way back to my car...
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 22, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
The Kibab is a lot more scenic and less crowded, but steep enough that it is a real knee killer. (think stepping down a one foot rail road tie step every three to six feet) And, there's no water at all.

The water supply for both the north and south rim is about half way up the North Kibab with a siphon that makes it all the way up to the Indian Springs pump station. There are water faucets at Indian Springs and about half way up to the S rim from there.

That being said it's an old aluminum 6" pipe that fails frequently.

Still if I had 20 year younger Knees, for a one day I'd do S. Kibab and back up Bright Angel, checking on the status of the water line before leaving.

There are shuttle buses that you could use to get you to or from Bright angel trail head to N, Kibab, but the timing might be problematic.

and yes, the petroglyphs are all of 30 ft from the trail,but unseen by all but a few.

(Screen saver at work right now.)

we did a four day trip rim to rim in Late March/early April a few years back with a 60+ nights and 90 days at Phantom Ranch (slept on top of the bag.) Frozen waterfalls on the N Kibab and 6'+ snow drifts on the N.rim.
Scott McNamara

climber
Tucson, Arizona
Mar 22, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
If you wish to hike the corridor trails then you may be able to get reservations in the dorms at Phantom Ranch.

http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/phantom-ranch-704.html

Then you would not need camping gear nor food---other than snacks.

This would make your hike a lot less like the Bataan Death March.

Have Fun!

BeeHay

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 09:42pm PT
We did a one day rim to rim to rim, no water cache because it was NOVEMBER. People who go in summer must love to suffer!

BH
10b4me

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Mar 22, 2013 - 09:55pm PT
As others have said take lots of water because it will be hot. I recommend the Kaibab-Bright Angel loop
Reeotch

Trad climber
4 Corners Area
Mar 23, 2013 - 08:32am PT
Yeah, go for it! But take it seriously, those aren't easy miles.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Mar 23, 2013 - 10:07am PT
consider that the rangers have already started closing down (temperature dependent) a section of the bright angel in the indian gardens area during the heat of the day until shade overtakes it.

my nps maintenence buddy at phantom, hiking out with tools and most of a swamp cooler, bootlegged a bypass around the closed section so he could be home for dinner, but i didn't follow the details of his route description.

no such intervention for those coming up the south kaibab
giegs

climber
Tardistan
Mar 23, 2013 - 10:25am PT
Down BA and up SK is the easier way if you're going to be sticking to the corridor trails and not taking any of the routes. SK has seen a lot of work in recent years and isn't nearly as bad as it used to be.

There are other non-corridor trails that are shorter, steeper, and have few if any people on them if you're into that sort of thing.
salad

climber
Mar 23, 2013 - 11:08am PT
Im fat and out of shape and I did Rim to Rim to Rim last April in under 17 hours. Just pay attention to the temps.

For a little different scenery, go down South Kaibab and then back up Bright Angel.
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
Topic Author's Reply - May 21, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
We are going to leave a car and hike Down Kaibab then up Bright Angel. Does anyone know if there is a shuttle to get us back from the top of Angel to the Kaibab trail head parking?
Mark Force

Trad climber
Cave Creek, AZ
May 21, 2013 - 09:06pm PT
If you're in decent shape, it'll go OK. Make sure to water up really well at the top before you go down and before you head up. Take some salt (he Celtic salt is the Best!). Gand Canyon miles are from the Twilight Zone; figure a fourteen mile hike will feel more like a twenty mile hike. Also, it's important to consider that temperatures at the bottom are pretty much the same as Phoenix! The canyon is an incredible place and you can't really appreciate it until you stand at the bottom by the river. Have fun! For a turn around day trip, my favorite is the Hermit.
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