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Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 6, 2014 - 06:24pm PT
Just got back from a Bass to Boucher hike a couple weeks ago but was too lazy to post anything until now. I've been getting in a trip or so a year since '83 and the irony is that of all the hikes I've done in that time (with the same handful of friends) this last one is probably the only one I wouldn't do again. Too much Tonto platform and not enough river. The lure for us is always a beach, capping off all the rest of what's been said in this thread. Stay off the Bright Angel and Kaibab and also skip Hermit Creek (as a river campsite) and you're almost guaranteed a beach all to yourself--very, very few people ever hike to and camp on the river via every other "non-maintained" route from either rim. You work for it a little, but the pay off is unbelievable solitude and beauty, great trout fishing, river-chilled beers, and--honestly unless you're incredibly unlucky-- the only people you'll see are the occasional rafters floating by.

View from the top of the South Bass trail.  The metal boat on the rock...
View from the top of the South Bass trail. The metal boat on the rocks upthread is, I think, the Ross Wheeler, abandoned on the rocks above Bass beach back in the day.
Credit: Festus

Yeah, that's the river but we ain't gonna be able to get down to it fo...
Yeah, that's the river but we ain't gonna be able to get down to it for another 30 miles. What dumbass picked this route to get to Boucher beach?!
Credit: Festus

Credit: Festus

Day 2.  Yeah, we're still on the Tonto.  That's Scorpion Ridge on the ...
Day 2. Yeah, we're still on the Tonto. That's Scorpion Ridge on the north side, with the river in the gorge between us. Can't get to it directly from here, somewhere near Sapphire Canyon.
Credit: Festus

Last Tonto campsite, at Slate Creek.  You can actually follow this can...
Last Tonto campsite, at Slate Creek. You can actually follow this canyon down to the river but it's a serious bushwhack and we're only about 7 easy trail miles from Boucher Beach now.
Credit: Festus

Looking up Slate Canyon to the rim &#40;Harvey Butchart found a route ...
Looking up Slate Canyon to the rim (Harvey Butchart found a route up and out from here...no thanks!). Bushwhack down Slate and you come to one of the big boat-flippers: Crystal.
Credit: Festus

Yeah, my friends are dorks...and vice versa.
Yeah, my friends are dorks...and vice versa.
Credit: Festus

Credit: Festus

Boucher ain't much &#40;and neither are those pants&#41; but their nex...
Boucher ain't much (and neither are those pants) but their next rapid is Crystal.
Credit: Festus

Okay, it isn't a fly but the hooks are barbless.  Happy?
Okay, it isn't a fly but the hooks are barbless. Happy?
Credit: Festus

thebravecowboy

climber
in the face of the fury of the funk
May 6, 2014 - 06:55pm PT
Cool hike Festus, but did you really carry BEER all that way?!

So what's your favorite? Great Thumb is s'posedly a peach to traverse ;)
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 6, 2014 - 07:11pm PT
Bravecowboy,

You have to carry beers down to the river, it's below 50 degrees so swimming isn't a huge consumer of time. Dump some food if you have to, ' cuz a cold beer on a secluded beach in GC that you earned, well, it's one of life's greatest pleasures. I've actually carried over half a case in my younger days, but always at least a couple now. The killer was I punctured a can of Old Chub Scotch Ale (which was inside my pack and soaked the bottom of it) two days before we got to the refrigerator. That hurt!
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
May 6, 2014 - 07:23pm PT
You have to carry beers down to the river

I heard that!

I took 2 cases of Heineken down there and I'm not much of a drinker. . . but. . . I drank at least 2 of them everyday. Ice cold from the drag bag under the boat, after paddling all day, kickin' back in camp after all the work was done.

Silence punctuated by the glee of canyon wrens.

PURE BEAUTY!

Damn. . . I'm ready to go back. . . just give me a week to get all my sh#t in one sock.
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 6, 2014 - 09:06pm PT
Yuma Point, off the Boucher trail on the way out. To this spot makes f...
Yuma Point, off the Boucher trail on the way out. To this spot makes for a longish but truly spectacular out and back day hike from the south rim if you've only got a day.
Credit: Festus
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 6, 2014 - 09:25pm PT
Bravecowboy,

My favorite, if I had to pick one, is the Butte Fault (a.k.a. Horsethief) route, down the Nankoweap, then west (or southwest) along the fault, then across the river, and out. There is no trail along the fault, but it's mind-bending geology there, even by Grand Canyon standards. We hauled an inflatable raft the whole way, for the crossing (at Lava Creek, not to be confused with Lava Falls) to the south side, about five miles upriver from Tanner, then we hiked out the Tanner.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
May 7, 2014 - 06:45pm PT
Dan,that looks like a lot of Hair in the ditch,great pics.Festus as well.
mcd

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 7, 2014 - 07:07pm PT
yes wilbeer, always an eye opener. festus thanks so much for all the great beta and terrific pics. have any more?
Credit: mcd
Credit: mcd
boat repair
boat repair
Credit: mcd
the boobie boat!
the boobie boat!
Credit: mcd
Credit: mcd
Credit: mcd
using the wind on the flats
using the wind on the flats
Credit: mcd
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 7, 2014 - 08:57pm PT
Dan, you really shouldn't encourage me, but...

The first two pics are of Scylla Butte, which you hike around as you travel upriver on the Tonto. First shot is from the west side, second one from the east side (just east of Slate Canyon). Has anyone ever climbed this? It's sheer on all sides but looks a little, er, crumbly. It would be an awesome inner canyon plateau to be sitting atop though.

EDIT: Dan, your photos are great as well...especially for someone who has never done the river trip through the canyon (on my list and then some, when my kids are old enough). Funny thing is that hiking to the river and back from the rim and running the river through the entire canyon are two totally different experiences. One gives you a cross section (north to south or vice versa) view/experience of the canyon, and the other takes you all the way down/through the spine or central nervous system of the place, on the creator itself (the river). I can't imagine doing one without the other, so I've clearly got a river trip to do, though the pay-off they have in common is those incredible days and nights on a hard-earned, indescribably unique and often hauntingly beautiful beach.

Credit: Festus

Credit: Festus

Still on the Tonto, looking west.  From here, going east, you drop off...
Still on the Tonto, looking west. From here, going east, you drop off the Tonto to Boucher Creek pretty quickly, and then have only a level creekside mile walk to the beach.
Credit: Festus

Credit: Festus

Not the sharpest picture, but if you stare hard enough &#40;or click o...
Not the sharpest picture, but if you stare hard enough (or click on it to blow it up) you'll see a few rafts.
Credit: Festus

The pic below is actually from a trip two and half years ago to Boucher Beach, where we camped upstream from the creek. It looks the same now, but downstream from the creek (where we camped this time) another 50 or so yards of prime beach has been added to what was there last time. But as you river runners know better than I, beaches can change a lot down there. First time I was on Boucher Beach there really wasn't one, just some little, level sand platforms in the rocks about ten feet above river level. They were great campsites but it looked nothing like it does now. Another benefit, seems to me, of hiking and river trips, it's never exactly the same beaches, rapids or inner-canyon shoreline from one trip to the next.

Credit: Festus

Center of photo is White's Butte &#40;which sits atop the Redwall&#41;...
Center of photo is White's Butte (which sits atop the Redwall) as seen from the top of the Supai near Yuma Point on the way out.
Credit: Festus



Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 7, 2014 - 09:37pm PT
Okay, okay, I'm done! Honest! (for this trip anyway)


The big beach downriver from Boucher Creek
The big beach downriver from Boucher Creek
Credit: Festus

Morning &#40;after a little ran in the night&#41;, drying out gear at ...
Morning (after a little ran in the night), drying out gear at campsite on Yuma Point.
Credit: Festus

Another view from Yuma Point.  From here it's a couple of truly memora...
Another view from Yuma Point. From here it's a couple of truly memorable miles traversing around Hermit Canyon and then one last climb to Hermit's Rest and you're heading for a restaurant and cold beer.
Credit: Festus

Looking east from the Boucher trail as you begin the traverse around H...
Looking east from the Boucher trail as you begin the traverse around Hermit Canyon from Yuma Point.
Credit: Festus

Steve
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
May 7, 2014 - 11:38pm PT
Festus, that Boucher Creek place looks really cool. We need the masses to visit. I'm thinking Gondola, restaurant, micro-brewery, maybe even a Putt-Putt.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2005084/Grand-Canyon-AZ-Gondola

Naw, I'm just kidding. Looks like a grand adventure in a cool place. Thanks for sharing everyone.

Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 8, 2014 - 12:06am PT
That's funny!! Hey, it looks like the gondola to the confluence is dead? I'm on the "Save the Confluence" email list thanks to you. I knew nothing about that possibility until the thread here on ST. Sounds to me like nobody came up with any real money hence no bribes, er, consultation fees, for tribe brass.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
May 8, 2014 - 12:21am PT
Haven't seen much in the news lately, Steve, hopefully that idea is done.

Albert
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 8, 2014 - 01:32am PT
Albert, I'm hoping too. I don't know why they don't just give the tribes an acre or two next to Tusayan and let 'em build a goddam casino there. Tusayan is already a complete sh#thole but it's miles back from the rim and, honestly, there isn't anything you could do to make it less of a sh#thole save the nuclear option. So what the hell, bring me a free cocktail and I'll drop a twenty on some rigged, quasi-version of blackjack on my way home. Heck, it cost me twenty just to cross 37 yards of Hualapai land on my way to the South Bass trailhead, with no cocktail.
mcd

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 8, 2014 - 10:08pm PT
festus, you really know your way around the canyon, thanks for all the excellent beta. how many hiking trips have you done down there? when i first went down with friends i met at the rim i think we were on the tonto for a bit and went to a place called cave of the domes, ever been there?. crazy fun spelunking. heres a shot of the traditional mudbath at the confluence of the little colorado
Credit: mcd
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 9, 2014 - 06:44am PT
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 9, 2014 - 01:26pm PT
Tradman, is that the overlook at Toroweap? What a shot!

Dan,

I've done over 40 rim to river backpack trips but that's over a period of 31 years (where the hell did the time go?!). Haven't been in Cave of Domes (caves kind of freak me out), but I once ("once" being the key word) walked about 100 yards into the mining tunnel near there (the one you hit as you drop off the neck of Horseshoe Mesa on the east side). We got to a T intersection and it was so dark I couldn't see my hand an inch from my nose with the flashlight off. Turned the light back on in a hurry and got the heck out of there. Except for North Bass, and the Bright Angel/Kaibab central corridor stuff (too crowded if solitude is part of what you're after) I've done all the rim-to-river trails the backcountry office lists as non-maintained, along with Royal Arch route, Escalante, Beamer to the confluence, and the aforementioned Horsethief route, but that still leaves a lifetime of possibilities--especially at our current one trip a year pace. Plus there's hundreds and hundreds of miles of stuff that's way beyond my pay grade down there. Much as I love reading George Steck's Canyon Loop Hikes books (highly recommended) most of those routes, at least in their entirety, are far harder than anything I've done.
Since I'm a backpacker but not much (if any) of a climber, I love quoting Allen Steck's forward (George is his brother) from those Loop Hikes books to my climbing brother. Can't remember the exact quote, but the gist of it is that doing a canyon loop hike with his brother is the hardest thing he's ever done.
Beatrix Kiddo

Mountain climber
ColoRADo
May 9, 2014 - 03:26pm PT
I didn't run rim to rim to rim but I did pass some ultra runners on the uphill. Our total hiking time was about 22 hours. We stopped and took long naps, which are not factored into the time. I really don't have any advice. We went light and fast and expected to be uncomfortable. Make sure you have enough food for the way out. Keep a positive attitude and have really strong legs. :-)
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 9, 2014 - 06:24pm PT
Yup. Made it all the way back there in a rental car:)
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
May 9, 2014 - 06:38pm PT
That is a great shot,tradman.+++
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