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Grand Canyon Water
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Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Grand Canyon Water on 11/07/2008 11:23:40 MST Print View

I've got a trip coming up and wonder how folks deal with the sediment laden river water. I'll be on the Beamer and Escalante to Hance Rapid, then up to Page Spring, and out on Grandview.

My idea was to dig a shallow pit in the sand to hold a 2 gallon ziplock, let things settle overnight and then pump into a Platy.

The problem I see is that I might not be able to wait overnight for a new batch of water and don't really want to carry a 2 liters in anticipation of evening camp.

Other ideas greatly appreciated.

Michael Schurr
(mrschurr) - F

Locale: SW US
Grand Canyon Water on 11/07/2008 11:38:41 MST Print View

It is not that muddy. You will have no problems taking it from the river.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Grand Canyon Water on 11/07/2008 12:05:36 MST Print View

it should not be too cloudy, from what I understand with my limited water knowledge of the inner basin, I can at least tell you that there isnt much rainfall or snowmelt runoff to muddy up the river. you also have numerous (potential) drainages along the route and 1 on each side of Horseshoe mesa (miners and cottonwood spgs.) Page is called miner's from what I know. but either name works. we know whatcha mean :)
check out cave of domes if you have a chance

not to direct interest off site, but is an invaluable resource for this question, and others. Peace, mike

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 11/07/2008 12:15:39 MST.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Grand Canyon Water on 11/07/2008 14:57:25 MST Print View

AquaMira or UV treatment works best in the Canyon.

Maurice Ostrov
(garraty) - MLife
Re: Grand Canyon Water on 11/08/2008 00:02:20 MST Print View

The water in the Colorado is usually clear but sometimes very dirty. When it is dirty you can let the dirt settle for a couple of hours and then pour off and treat the clean portion. Or, a better way is to add a small amount of alum to the water which will cause the dirt to settle much more quickly. You can find alum in the spice section of the supermarket.
In either case it is best to avoid depending on a filter. Use either chemicals or UV.
If you reach the Little Colorado it will similarly be either clear or very dirty. Even if it is clear you will find that the minerals in the Little Colorado water give it a very unpleasant taste.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
fibre on 11/08/2008 00:32:29 MST Print View

Dirt is not going to hurt you. Use Kool Aid if you must.

Maurice Ostrov
(garraty) - MLife
Re: Grand Canyon Water on 11/08/2008 12:03:51 MST Print View

The sediment in the water should be removed because that is necessary if you want the chemicals or UV to kill the pathogens. It is a necessary step toward making the water safe to drink.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Grand Canyon Water on 11/08/2008 13:02:38 MST Print View

So, aside from "the river will be clear" and "drinking sediment won't hurt you" ....

Does anyone have any clever tricks for quickly and easily removing sediment prior to filtering/purifying?



Maurice Ostrov
(garraty) - MLife
Re: Grand Canyon Water on 11/08/2008 15:42:32 MST Print View

You asked for "any clever tricks for quickly and easily removing sediment prior to filtering/purifying?"

I responded with "a better way is to add a small amount of alum to the water which will cause the dirt to settle much more quickly. You can find alum in the spice section of the supermarket."

This is the method used by those who spend a lot of time on the Colorado.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Grand Canyon Water on 11/08/2008 15:56:32 MST Print View

Thanks -- I missed that :-(

m u s t...g o...s l o w e r ....

Edited by greg23 on 11/08/2008 15:57:06 MST.

Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
Filtering at the Grand Canyon on 11/08/2008 18:38:29 MST Print View

I have only been there once, and that was in May, and only for a few nights by the river. The river was brown and muddy and cold. But I don't remember any major trouble filtering it. I use the pur hiker which has always worked great and has never plugged. I did use collapsable naglene bottles to scoop the water and then let them sit. I probably did let them sit overnight when I had the chance, but even letting them sit for much shorter, 15 minutes to an hour, made a big difference.

The thing I remember though about filtering the water was that I also experimented with spinning the bottles around over my head to help settle them using centrifugal force. That may have helped, except the handle broke and my nalgene bladder went sailing out into the middle of the river.

Since it doesn't sound like your trip is that long either, having a good filter and letting the water settle should work fine IMO.

cyrille soulas
(frenchbob) - F

Locale: Paris / France
Alum on 11/09/2008 09:05:45 MST Print View

hello guys

i did the Escalente route in september 2007, it was hell hot!

i did clog my brand new katadyn Hiker cartridge with the muddy water down tanner.

So i had to run, i spend a night only before to get off at the New Hence terminus, i was a bit dehydrated.

Filter broke because of the very high level of sediment into the water, so i had enventuelly to drink "brown water", it was 98°F, i was sick for 10 day, no giardia but very bad fore sure.

I will do that route again in mid december ending up at Grand view this time, i will bring Alum , that's what rafters use to get rid of the sediment fast.

I wonder how cold can it be down the river in mid december?


Edited by frenchbob on 11/09/2008 09:06:29 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Alum for Grand Canyon water on 11/09/2008 09:47:49 MST Print View


Temperatures I have found on the web for Phantom Ranch in December are a maximum of 57°F and a minimum of 37°F.

You can follow the day-to-day temperatures and forecast at Phantom Ranch

And thanks for the 2nd mention of alum. It seems like a simple thing to take "just in case".

Edited by greg23 on 11/09/2008 09:49:35 MST.

cyrille soulas
(frenchbob) - F

Locale: Paris / France
temps on 11/09/2008 11:25:37 MST Print View

thanks for the tip :)

Maurice Ostrov
(garraty) - MLife
Re: Grand Canyon in December on 11/09/2008 12:28:37 MST Print View

In December the temperature on the south rim typically goes from 18 to 41 but I have seen it go to minus 7 and it can go into the 60's. Toward the bottom the average is 36 to 56 but it can go from the 20's to the 70's. There will probably be snow and ice on the top part of the trails into the canyon and you should bring the cheap instep crampons that you can buy at the general store on the south rim. You will probably leave the snow behind around a third of the way down but I have seen it accumulate all the way down to the Colorado.
The snow makes the canyon even more beautiful. It also keeps the crowds away and make permits easy to get. Hope you enjoy it.

Greg Lewis
(gpl916) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Alum for Grand Canyon water on 04/02/2010 18:18:11 MDT Print View


I am having these same questions for my Thunder River/ Tapeats/ Deer creek hike coming up. How did the Alum work for you? I just dug through my wife's spices and found a jar. Did you let it settle to the bottom of a platy, and then pour off?

Did you filter or just treat?



Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Alum for Grand Canyon water on 04/02/2010 18:36:02 MDT Print View

I took it but never used it. The river was always clear.

For half of that '08 trip I pumped directly from the river, and for the other half, from whatever little spring flow I could find. With the springs and thin creeks there was not enough water to dip, only enough depth to pump.

As I recall, you are planning on coming in from the top?
If so, I don't think you'll have anything to worry about. Certainly once you get down to Thunder and Deer.

When I have used alum - on a silt-laden Escalante trip - I used a 2 gallon "slider-style" ziplock and let it sit overnight, then pumped out with minimal disturbance. It could have easily been poured off into another container.


James Dubendorf

Locale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Re: Alum for Grand Canyon water on 04/02/2010 18:42:04 MDT Print View

Coffee filters (metal or cloth), and even humble bandannas, make good sediment filters, at least for the bigger stuff. One way is to simply fasten the filter around the top of a wide mouth platypus, scoop water, pour through filter. If you like, bring two appropriate containers and filter a few times in between them.


John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Muddy Water on 04/02/2010 19:33:43 MDT Print View


Several times I have camped at the river going down the Hance Trail and I remember a time filling up some water bottles before getting into bed for the night and using a plastic tube in the morning to siphon into another container for some amazingly clear water. I have never done this on the run so I don't know how long it would take to settle out. As mentioned above, a silt strainer would obviously speed up the process.

Edited by johnk on 04/02/2010 19:35:35 MDT.

Greg Lewis
(gpl916) - F

Locale: PNW
re; tips on 04/02/2010 22:14:43 MDT Print View

Thanks for the tips. Never been hiking in the desert and there isn't much need to filter in the PNW. It sounds like water will be plentiful after the 10 mile hike to Tapeats.

I think I will just bring a 5 or 6 paper cone coffee filters since it doesn't sound like too big of a deal. I read the thread on how to scoop water to fill the platy's so I should be good.