Trip Report
Twenty-one Days in the Grand Canyon – A Climbing et al. TR
Saturday September 2, 2017 9:25am
Plan A
Plan A
Credit: pseudalpine

The NPS email indicated that I’d won a Grand Canyon noncommercial river lottery launch date for March 2nd, 2017… a 0.84% probability or one in one-hundred nineteen…


We oared about eighty miles in the first week…
Notable acmes were: Lower Sheer Wall and North Canyon hikes, Fence Fault to Silver Grotto canyoneering and packraft to South, a brief hike at Nautiloid Canyon; Kwagunt Butte climb via Malgosa; the lower Vishnu Canyon narrows; and some fun climbing at Grapevine.

Tooth Rock, Vermilion Cliffs.

Give or take about twelve Penske trucks high.

Upstream of Sheer Wall Rapid.

North Canyon.

Approaching Shinumo Wash from Fence Fault. Photo: L.Tomasi.

Photo: M.Frye.

Packrafting into South Canyon. Photo: M.Hylland.

Vasey's Paradise.

Nautiloid Canyon.

Downstream of Saddle Canyon after our fourteen hour sandstorm with ten minute rain burst bivy.


Kwagunt Butte.

Keith and Marty on the morning approach.

Photo: K.Peterson.

Photo: K.Peterson.

Malgosa Crest, upstream Marble Canyon.

Saddle Mountain and Nankoweap.

Chuar Butte and Awatubi Crest.

Lower Malgosa Canyon.

Photo: L.Lindahl.

Sixtymile Canyon Redwall route, Chuar Butte approach. I soloed this route four months before the river trip.

Zuni Point from Upper Rattlesnake.

Comanche Point from below Rattlesnake, morning of eighth day.

Vishnu Canyon. Photo: M.Hylland.


We interchanged on the ninth day and camped downstream at Lower Trinity, setting us up for Granite and a climb of MCP.

J.Idaho above the crux in his approach shoes.

Photo: K.Peterson.

It was cool to see Jeff & Mikey show up...

Sending free!

Granite Rapids and Tower of Set.

L.Lindahl Photography

Highlights of this second leg also included: Ninety Four Mile to Tower of Set, brief climbing at Below One Hundredten, Explorers Monument, Lower Blacktail, the Deer to Tapeats Creek loop hike and bouldering at Pancho's Kitchen.

Day eleven, Tonto Plateau above Ninety Four Mile. Hermit Canyon and Yuma Point, S.Rim.

Photo: K.Peterson.

After this first significant Supai cliff, the three of us traversed west, then separated for a few hours, eventually finding different and similar routes through the red maze of cliffs.

I'd led the second band on a previous trip to Horus Temple. This second time free seemed easier. We'd have to find another way down.

Photo: T.Martin. April, 2005.

North of Set's summit, Horus stretches to Osiris and Shiva Temples, Dragonhead at the col right of Claude Birdseye Point and Confucious Temple far left. Photo: M.Frye.

West from summit over Ninety Four Mile and the first Redwall isthmus of the Tonto Crystal traverse.

Dana Butte, The Battleship, Bright Angel and Yavapai Point. Obvious Tonto trail of Salt Canyon at lower right.

Turnaround time for Crystal Rapid goal. Descending off the east side of Set.

I think this is about where I ran out of food and water (5pm). Photo: M.Frye.

It was a classic GC underestimation that even experienced hikers can still make. Six and a half hours later, we were eating dinner leftovers at Crystal. I inadvertently woke Johnny when unloading my gear from his boat. He swore he'd been checking for us every eight minutes since seeing our headlamps above Boucher Rapids. Sure you were buddy?!

It was about a twelve mile hike. We had missed Hermit and Boucher Rapids, but the river party had a new water pump battery. Thx Ceiba!

We floated ~twelve river miles on day twelve, arriving at One Hundredten before noon.

We chilled in the shade below One Hundredten and climbed some easy routes on this face and bouldered the narrow ledge above the river.

Some of the filthy monkeys overseeing the Canadian conquistador replusion?!

Photo: L.Lindhal.

I think one of the Canucks apologized a few days later for trying to commander One Hundredten.

Day thirteen, from below One Hundredten, W.Ball early shuttled us through Hakatai & Walthenberg Rapids to the Monument fault...

...@ ~RM (116.2) where Marty and I cached the duckies. We'd meet them at Big Dune later.

The SSE Monument Fault.

There was about a hundred feet of roped climbing in the Muav and Temple Butte limestones. An exposed ledge hop beyond an existing bolt was the unprotected crux.

Explorers Monument summit, my 125th! Photo: M.Frye.

Elves Chasm.

Mount Huethawali, South Bass; Darwin & Drummond Plateaus.

The Apache Plume.

Truffula tree. Photo: M.Frye.

Redwall bypass downclimb. Photo: M.Frye.

Since we'd only brought a hundred foot rope, we rapped the first bolt to an overhanging ledge, placed another sketchy bolt and rapped again.

Floating downstream, the start of Stephen Aisle near Elves Chasm.

De Vaca upstream of Dinosaur.
It's tough to see in this photo, but some of the fishers were trolling at Dinosaur when we arrived.

Big Dune. Larry Lindahl Photography.

N.Rehfeld at Lower Blacktail, morning of the fourteenth day.

I duckied after lunch, paddling clean runs of Specter (6), Bedrock (7) and Deubendorff (7) Rapids.
It reminded me of how fun it is... so I duckied most of the rest of the trip, but safely skipping Upset Rapid and Lava Falls.

Stone Creek.

We boated to Tapeats Creek on the fifteenth morning, dropping off thirteen hikers and three boats.
Johnny and Wayne oared a boat each and I duckied downstream to Deer Creek. The Helicopter Eddy ducky was somewhat stressful. Some serious circulation in that monster.

We'd cross paths with the others at Thunder River.

Deer Creek area.

Looking back west at Cogswell Butte and Surprise Valley.

Thunder River.

Tapeats Creek overwhelmed by Great Thumb.

Downstream again for group pickup at Deer Creek.

Deer Creek Falls.

Pancho's Kitchen.

Day sixteen through twenty-one continued below as comment #23

  Trip Report Views: 2,618
About the Author
Pernell Tomasi is an author, botanist, father, husband and photog who occasionally finds time to hike and climb.

Grand Canyon Mountaineering @

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Mountain climber
  Sep 2, 2017 - 11:44am PT
Jon Beck

Trad climber
  Sep 2, 2017 - 12:38pm PT
Great pictures, can not wait for the heat to break, itching to get below the rim.

  Sep 2, 2017 - 03:06pm PT
Incredible! TFPU.

Just bearly here
  Sep 2, 2017 - 06:18pm PT
Beautiful photos!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 3, 2017 - 02:42am PT
Nice job, and congrats,
More pictures please?
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Sep 5, 2017 - 10:23am PT
Paddling and climbing in the grand canyon is definitely a bucket-list achievement. Dude, I am SO jealous. GREAT trip and wonderful TR, but please continue with more prose and photos.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Sep 5, 2017 - 10:30am PT

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 5, 2017 - 03:02pm PT
Great additional pictures and videos,
My friends ran the whole length of the canyon in early May this year,
I'm jealous, but grateful for the share 👍👊

The Granite State.
  Sep 5, 2017 - 03:33pm PT

Author's Reply  Sep 6, 2017 - 05:06pm PT
Throughout prep, many people asked… Is that a trip of a lifetime?
IDK… on so many levels, not quite sure WTF that truly means…

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Sep 6, 2017 - 06:48pm PT
Yes! I just came up on a FREE 14.6'x6.6' bucket boat. So stoked to get it outfitted. Can't wait for part II.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Sep 6, 2017 - 06:55pm PT
whoa! mtnyoung missed all the action!


Social climber
  Sep 6, 2017 - 07:42pm PT
Way to bust out a big one on the bucket list. Wonderfully enjoyable mix of video and pix. Thanks for taking the time to produce a TR on your adventure.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Sep 11, 2017 - 06:15pm PT
Excellent trip, report, pics n vids!

Social climber
Wise Acres
  Sep 11, 2017 - 06:55pm PT
Grand Trip!
Jon Beck

Trad climber
  Sep 12, 2017 - 12:10am PT
I L Lindahl the photographer who has done work in Arizona Highways?

Author's Reply  Sep 12, 2017 - 05:12am PT
Yes Jon, we've done two river trips together, a hike/climb of Claude Birdseye Point and some climbing in Sedona.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
  Sep 12, 2017 - 09:07am PT
I recognized his name from the Claude Birdseye article, I have my eye on doing that trip. thanks for the TR and the guidebook.

guidebook bump

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Sep 13, 2017 - 04:05pm PT
Such a unique and cool looking trip. Thank you for taking the time to share!

Any fishing?

Author's Reply  Sep 13, 2017 - 08:20pm PT
Of course, frequent trolling. Some of the filthy monkeys in South Canyon eddie near Stantons Cave.

Photo: L.Tomasi.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Sep 13, 2017 - 08:54pm PT
I want some TOO!!

Author's Reply  Sep 24, 2017 - 08:17pm PT
The last week's activities included an Olo scout, Matkatamiba hike, toproping at Upper Ledges, a lower Havasu Canyon hike, some climbing at Tuckup, a brief hike at National Canyon, Lava Falls and exploration of One Hundred and Ninetythree and Spring Canyons.

Lower Olo.

Photo: M.Frye.

Lower Matkatamiba.

Who's that party? They had good improvised music abilities?!

(151.3) Upper Ledges. The albatross TR setup allowed safe laps on 'Slashfinger' (nd, do not ref. virality).

Lower Tuckup climbing.

Tuckup Dihedral.

The albatross TDihedraling...

Red Slide.

(179.7) Tequila Beach.

Downstream of Whitmore.

One Hundred and Ninetythree...

Spring Canyon narrows...

Photo: M.Frye.

Our twentieth night was at the Two Hundredfifteen superTaco shop.

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