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GCNP Tarp Setup Question
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Herb Tassin
(mfxdmx) - MLife

Locale: Southeast
GCNP Tarp Setup Question on 10/16/2009 02:27:25 MDT Print View

Hi Guys,

First, thanks for all the great info on the site. Been away from backpacking for awhile, and have learned quite a bit by searching the forums (for example, returned the Gregory Baltoro I bought to REI (tags still on), and bought a ULA Catalyst -- it rocks!)

I'll be camping at Bright Angel campground in GCNP for three nights in early Nov. Trying to stay as light as possible, I just bought one of the Hilleberg XP10 tarps for sale in the forum, and plan to use my trekking poles for setup.

My question is about the use of stakes. Is the soil soft enough to use tent stakes? If not, is moving large rocks to tie off to acceptable? GCNP says to stick to LNT, and on the LNT website, they state:

"Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them."

Is it considered unacceptable to move large rocks for a tarp setup, if stakes can't be used? Thanks!

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
GCNP Tarp Setup Question on 10/16/2009 07:44:18 MDT Print View

The ground in GC can be hard on stakes. I normally use Easton stakes and/or Ti skewer stakes. Sadly, these don't hold up real well when used in the dense, rocky soil of the Grand Canyon designated camp sites such as Indian Gardens. In such places, the stakes need to be hammered in; I use a handy rock. I have had too many of the lightweight stakes break or bend.

I would recommend that you take along a set of aluminum rain gutter spikes. These are inexpensive and available at places such as Lowes and Home Depot. They are not the lightest alternative but they can be hammered in, hold well, and will bend rather than break.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
GCNP Tarp Setup Question on 10/16/2009 08:07:08 MDT Print View

I'm pretty used to rocky ground, and use gutter spikes when I know I'll be in it. Only I use steel, not aluminum. I don't think it's a big deal to use rocks, just put them back where you got them. It will be our little secret, and hopefully no LNT fanatics will notice (fanatics is not the word I used, but it's kind of amazing what the profanity detector calls profanity. It would be impossible to discuss World War II on here).

Edited by skinewmexico on 10/16/2009 08:08:07 MDT.

Herb Tassin
(mfxdmx) - MLife

Locale: Southeast
GCNP Tarp Setup Question on 10/16/2009 14:55:06 MDT Print View

Thanks for the feedback, Charles and Joe. Great suggestion - the gutter spike thing would never have occurred to me (being originally from New Orleans).

I called GCNP Backcountry info today, and was told that it shouldn't be a problem to move appropriate sized rocks to tie down, as long as they're returned to their original spot. Seems like a funny question to ask, but I want to respect however far they feel they need to take LNT in order to protect such a heavily used area.